9 Tips to Save on Insurance

posted by Andrea | 02/26/2013

insurance saving tips

Insurance is one of life’s necessary evils. We pay the premiums every year even if we don’t use any of the benefits — but at least we’re covered “just in case”.

I often think of how much money we could save by not having health insurance, life insurance, home insurance, auto insurance, etc… but then I quickly remind myself how lucky we are to actually have insurance that covers routine dentist and doctor visits — not to mention huge expenses like Nora’s birth.

And then there was our car accident last spring that made me thankful all over again for fabulous auto insurance that quickly processed the paperwork and got us a check within days of our accident.

There are very few things that can blow a budget like unexpected medical bills, a scary car accident, a home fire, or even an unexpected death — so I do realize that insurance is very necessary (don’t worry, we’re not THAT cheap!). However, I’ve learned that there are definitely still a few things you can (and should) do to make sure you’re not paying more than you have to for your insurance premiums.

While I understand that all insurance companies are different, here are a few things we’ve done to save on our insurance.

9 Tips to Save on Insurance

1. Stay Healthy.

This might sound obvious and overly simple, but one of the easiest ways to save on medial and health insurance is to stay healthy. Wash your hands, eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, disinfect your kitchens and bathrooms, teach your children healthy-living habits, etc. etc.

Also, Dave and I were able to get a great deal on life insurance because we both were healthy and young enough to qualify at the “preferred elite” status. We’re saving about 20% more on our yearly premium than an unhealthy person at our same age.

2. Stay Safe. 

Again, overly simple, but you’d be surprised how much you can save on home, auto, and life insurance by driving safely, wearing your seat belt, not having any tickets or accidents on your record, installing plenty of smoke detectors in your home, putting deadbolts on your home’s exterior doors, etc.

3. Bundle your insurances together all through the same company.

I realize this isn’t always possible, but we save a significant amount by combining our home and auto insurances through the same company. This also simplifies things as we only have to deal with one company for both insurances. All our medical insurance is through Dave’s work, and our life insurance is through the same company we have all our other investments and retirement accounts with.

4. Keep your information organized. 

I recently shared our method for organizing our important paperwork — and I can’t even begin to tell you how much time, money, and stress this has saved us over the years. Not only can we quickly find information regarding all our different insurance providers and policies, we can also catch possible errors in bills or statements.

5. Understand your insurance policies.

Insurance policies are confusing… to say the least! I’ve definitely have my share of frustrating moments trying to figure things out — but once I do, everything makes SO much more sense.

Also, by understanding what is (and is not) covered by our specific insurance, I can make sure to ask my doctors for specific brands of prescriptions, request a specific auto towing company, and take notice that our dental appointment are scheduled at certain times to achieve maximum insurance benefits.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

As I referenced above, I’m not afraid to call our insurance companies and ask questions — ever. That’s their job and they want my business! I’ve never, ever had anyone refuse to answer my questions or treat me like I’m stupid because I’m asking questions… and often, I end up saving money and learning more about how our insurance works.

Before Nora was born, I probably called our insurance company 10 different times with questions related to our coverage — and every time, they were happy to answer my question or direct me to a website with more information. It never hurts to ask, and by being more informed, you’re more likely to save money.

Also, there have been times when I’ve simply called our insurance companies and asked if there was any way they could save me additional money (without compromising my benefits). I know this might sound a little too “forward” — but I’ve been pleasantly surprised that, more often than not, I end up saving!

7. Pay Attention to your bills. 

Just like I ALWAYS check my grocery receipt before leaving the store, I also ALWAYS check and re-check all insurance bills — because there is almost always an error.

For example, we got the bill for our auto insurance 2 months ago, and I immediately called the company because I saw that it was several hundred dollars more than our last bill. It turns out the computer system had accidentally changed our policy to a more expensive plan — oops! With one quick call, I saved about $250.

8. Don’t be afraid to change companies.

For the first year of our marriage, we had a different company for our home/auto insurance. However, the rates started increasing, and it was at that time that we also learned about another opportunity to get much less expensive insurance due to the fact that Dave was a teacher.

We told our current insurance company about the lower rates from the other company, they said they couldn’t even come close to matching the rates, so we switched. No hard feelings — it was just a much cheaper price for the same quality of insurance. We’re now saving hundreds of dollars every year!

9. Know your deductible.  

When it comes to insurance, there are SOOOOOO many variables that could affect your premium costs — one of which is your out-of-pocket deductible (or what you pay before you can claim any insurance benefit). If you understand those variables and then work with your agent to figure out the best plan for your family, you will most likely see a large savings.

For example, when we purchased our farmhouse, I was somewhat surprised as to the quoted price for our home insurance. So I kept asking questions… and it turns out, that price was quoted with a $0.00 deductible. Dave and I didn’t feel like we needed a $0.00 deductible, and instead opted for a $1000 deductible, for a hefty savings of about $350 every year. So after 3 years, the savings of $350 per year on our premiums will cover the $1000 deductible if anything were to ever happen to our house.

We had a similar situation with our auto insurance and health insurance. We personally feel that since we are relatively healthy, young, safe drivers, etc. that we’d rather pay a much lower insurance premium and then have a bit higher deductible if something ever happened.

Obviously I’m not an insurance expert — and you need to do what’s best for YOUR family.

However, I have asked enough questions and dealt with enough different insurance companies to quickly realize how easy it can be to save a significant amount of money each year — and I like saving money! :)

So the next time you get a bill from your insurance company, think about some of the ideas in this post and see if you too can’t save a few bucks!

Do you know of other ways to save on insurance?

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12 comments

  1. Deb

    02/26/2013

    #1 way to save, don’t have teenage drivers! ;) TEE HEE HEE

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    Make them pay for their own insurance, that will teach them responsibility.

    [Reply]

    Amanda Reply:

    as a teenager, my parents covered 6mo of my premium during the school year, but the 6mo that was due during the summer while I was working, I was required to pay. When I took a car to college, I remained under their policy, but I had to pay my own part of the policy (which was less expensive because it was attached to my parents policy, but still a good chunk of money for a college student). It’s amazing how much more you care when you have to pay for it!

    [Reply]

    Meilssa Reply:

    Some insurance companies give teen drivers discounted rates for being on the Honor Roll.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Reply:

    I agree teenage drivers will skyrocket those premiums!!! Our monthly car insurance premium went from $63 monthly to $291 monthly for adding our 18 year old son. There is no way he could pay for that premium on his own right not. He works very part time while waiting to go into the Air Force. Our insurance will not allow us to exclude him from the policy as he lives in our home. Sometimes you have to bite bullet and be thankful you have the financial resources meet all your bills. In order to keep the cost of our premium down we don’t have Medical Payments because we have great medical insurance and we don’t have uninsured/underinsured coverage because it’s just way to expensive in Las Vegas. If someone hits us that isn’t insured or underinsured it would be covered under the collisioon portion of our policy. Of course we would have to meet the deductible first. Thanks for the post!!

    [Reply]

  2. Carlen

    02/26/2013

    I know my insurance gives me a discount if I set up an automatic draft payment. It isn’t a significant discount for me, but it might be for a married couple that bundles their auto and homeowners insurance.

    I have, however, heard of some companies (not the one I use) conveniently **forgetting** to cancel the automatic draft when you change companies, or drafting the monthly payment twice, etc. So you’d have to be diligent in paying attention.

    [Reply]

  3. chris

    02/26/2013

    We pay six months at a time. It saves the $5 monthly fee. ($60 a year). We really are pleased with our company. If you have young drivers, stress to them HOW IMPORTANT it is not to get tickets.

    [Reply]

  4. Courtney

    02/26/2013

    I just recently had to put a phone call in to my car insurance company. I’d been putting it off for months, but when I finally did it, I ended up saving about $200/year for less than 10 minutes of my time! I totally agree with you that you have to double check bills and take the time to ask questions.

    [Reply]

  5. Amanda

    02/26/2013

    We pay our car insurance premium 6mo at a time, and save a decent amount of money that way (~$50/6mo), plus my husband works for our car insurance company, so we receive an additional incentive. We have a multi-car policy and safe driving discounts.

    We don’t have our policies grouped because our car insurance company doesn’t do home insurance, yet no one can beat the deal that we get on car insurance (also since husband’s bonus is partially attached to customer retention, it’s an additional incentive for us to stay). We shopped around our homeowners 2 years ago. We saved almost $100 a year. We actually ended up w/ a company that a family member has – they had a major flooding event occur at their house, and the customer service they received along with the rate the company quoted us made it a no brainer to change.

    [Reply]

  6. Davina Sanchez

    02/26/2013

    As an insurance agent, I would rather answer 500 questions about a policy up front rather than have to explain to a client at the time of a lose why their claim is being denied. Insurance rates always fluctuate so it’s always a good idea to review your policy at least once a year. With all this being said, I have learned from experience that although you might save money, even several hundred dollars, by switching to a cut rate insurance company, it will end up costing you a lot more if you end up having a claim. Know what you are getting for your money, THAT’S THE KEY.

    [Reply]

  7. Megan C.

    02/27/2013

    My husband works as a supervisor for a large auto insurance company. He would tell you to be sure to pay for a rental car on your policy. It’s usually about $3.50 a month to have rental coverage. However, many people don’t pay for it and then when their car is in the shop for 3-4 weeks getting repaired after a big hit, they oftentimes require a rental to get around and are shelling out a few hundred dollars a week. Adding rental coverage wont’ cost you very much but it will save you tons if you ever are in an accident and need a rental car! Many people don’t realize they don’t have rental on their policy until it’s too late.

    Our insurance adjustor that we used to have (in a different state), would call us about once a year and ask us to come in and review our policies. Laws changed and our needs changed as we bought a house etc. and we were able to talk over what we needed at the time. I remember at one point, we changed something that actually gave us MORE coverage and cost us LESS. Definitely a win-win. We also were able to ask any questions and just understand our coverages a lot better by having that meeting with him.

    [Reply]

    Amanda Reply:

    Ditto getting rental coverage! Well worth every penny. I had a car that got totaled, but it took a couple of weeks before the adjusters and shop agreed that it was totaled and another week before they check, etc. We’ve always paid for it, because the reality was we couldn’t function as a one car family (especially at that time with our jobs).

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