9 Tips to Save on Insuranceposted by Andrea | 02/26/2013
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!