One of the biggest savings opportunities can be found in reviewing your home and auto insurance policies annually. You can save money if you shop around.
There are many choices when it comes to insurance, such as direct writers (AAA, Allstate, Farmers, State Farm), online discount agencies (Esurance, Geico), and independent agents (InterWest Insurance).
When comparing quotes, the number one mistake people make is not comparing apples to apples. For instance, if you call an online discount agency they will often quote you the cheapest policy available which may not match your current coverage or may not be adequate coverage for your situation. You really need to know exactly what you currently have and get a written estimate from the carrier so you can make an accurate comparison.
Using an independent agency like InterWest Insurance can make comparison shopping much easier. They have access to numerous insurance providers and can shop around for you. They are also available to sit down with you and answer any questions you have.
Bringing a copy of your current insurance coverage to an independent agent can be a good first step. When you speak with an independent agent, they typically ask you questions to understand your situation and help determine the appropriate amount of coverage. From there they can shop multiple carriers to find you the best rates. They can explain the different amounts of coverage that are offered and explain different scenarios for you (i.e.: what would my annual homeowners insurance cost be if I raise the deductible from $500 to $1,000?). Understanding the amounts of your coverage is very important. Many people are underinsured and do not realize it until an unfortunate event occurs.
Other ways to get more for your buck:
• Bundling multiple policies with one insurance company. Homeowners & auto insurance, for example, can often result in a multi-policy discount that could save you as much as 25%.
• There may be group or occupational discounts available from certain carriers. Allied Insurance, for example, offers an additional 7% discount for Farm Bureau members.
• Increasing your deductible on auto & homeowner policies. Keep in mind that leaving a low deductible for comprehensive on auto can usually be good idea. This will cover a broken windshield or if a tree limb falls on your car.
• If you have an older car that is paid off and does not have a high resale value, consider dropping collision.
• Understanding the current replacement cost for homeowners. Keep in mind that replacement cost on a devastated site can be more expensive than building on a bare lot.
• Keep your driving record clean.
• Make sure you are getting all the discounts you qualify for. Always ask your agent if there are any other discounts available for you.
• Drive a low profile car. A sports car will have a higher premium than say a Toyota Camry.
• Know the safety feature on your vehicle.
The bottom line is that you can save a lot of money each year by taking the time to review your insurance policies. I’ve found that my savings will usually cover any increases in premiums for the year and it is worth a half hour of my time to meet with my insurance agent, Delynn Thomas, at InterWest Insurance.
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Savvy Saver Girl