As I mentioned earlier this week, Dave and I purchased a new-to-us minivan last weekend! We were so excited to finally get it in our garage on Tuesday — and I had way too much fun vacuuming it out, situating all the carseats, and loading it up with all the gear we like to keep in the car.
Of course, along with the new van came the need for more insurance… ugh!
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 the births of our children or our car accident a few years ago!
There are very few things that can blow a budget like unexpected medical bills, a scary car accident, a house fire, or even an unexpected death — so I do realize that insurance is very necessary. However, I’ve learned that there are still a few things we can do to make sure we’re not paying more than we have to for our insurance.
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 medical and health insurance is to stay healthy. Wash your hands, eat more nutritious foods, get more sleep, exercise regularly, disinfect your kitchens and bathrooms, wash your toys every few weeks, teach your children healthy-living habits, etc. etc.
Dave and I were even able to get a better 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 premiums than a “less healthy” person at our same age.
2. Stay Safe.
Again, this is probably an overly simple solution, 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, etc.
Also, it’s worth noting that some home insurance premiums will go up if you have a trampoline or if your pool has a diving board. They can also go down if you have a fenced in yard, deadbolts on all your doors, and smoke detectors in all your bedrooms.
We actually saved a decent amount on our car insurance when I became a work-from-home person. They said that since I wasn’t driving nearly as much, I was less likely to get in an accident so my premiums went down!
3. Bundle your insurances together 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.
Several years ago, I 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 had 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 throughout the year to achieve maximum insurance benefits.
I learned this lesson the hard way after over-paying for various maternity visits when I was pregnant with Nora, simply because they weren’t scheduled the right way for our insurance to cover them. Thankfully, the nurses and insurance support people helped me figured it all out before Simon and James came along!
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.
When I was dealing with all the random bills during Nora’s pregnancy, I probably called our insurance company 10 different times with questions related to our coverage. 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!
For example, whenever we have medical bills, if I pay in full over the phone, I instantly save 10% — no questions asked. Also, we save a small amount on our home insurance because we pay it all up-front, once a year.
7. Pay Attention to your bills.
Just like I ALWAYS check my grocery receipt before leaving the store, I also ALWAYS check all insurance bills.
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 around the same time, we 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 those rates, so we switched. No hard feelings — it was just a much cheaper price for the same quality of insurance.
We are 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, that savings of $350 per year on our premiums covered 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 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!
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