Tuesday, February 12, 2013
10 ways to lower your insurance costs
It pays to be prepared.
Insurance is an important part of your financial life. But it comes with a price, and many policy owners have seen their premiums increase.
Dave Keil, an insurance producer at Dupaco's Dyersville branch, offers 10 ways to cut your costs without cutting corners on your coverage:
- Work with your credit union. Take advantage of your credit union's member-owned insurance agency, Dupaco Insurance Services. By becoming part of a larger buying group of Dupaco members, you can take advantage of additional associational discounts.
- Build your credit score. Schedule a free Credit History Lesson to find out what makes up your credit score, how it can impact your insurance rates and how you can drive up your score to pay less. As an independent agent, Dupaco Insurance Services works with many companies. They can tell you which ones do and don't rely on credit scores.
- Increase your deductible. Some insurance companies are raising homeowners' premiums $100 to $200 a year, Keil said. "The only thing you can do in a situation like that is increase your deductibles," he explained. If you go from a $500 to $1,000 deductible, you could look at close to $100 in savings a year by just changing the deductible.
- Combine your auto and homeowner's insurance. By purchasing multiple policies through the same company, you can typically see a 15 percent savings on your auto insurance premiums and a 10 percent savings on your homeowner's insurance premiums.
- Slow down. If you get pulled over for speeding, you might pay for it beyond just a speeding ticket. If you're more than 10 mph over the speed limit in a 35- to 55-mph-zone, it will raise your auto insurance premiums for three years.
- Do your homework. If you have a student-driver, consider this an extra incentive for her to do well in school: A good-student discount can typically shave off 15 percent on your auto insurance premiums for the vehicle the student drives. The student usually needs to carry at least a B average, or GPA of 3.0 or higher.
- Have your jewelry reappraised. With the cost of gold and silver rising, take the time to have your jewelry reappraised. You might be underinsured.
- Purchase life insurance now, rather than later. It costs less to purchase a life insurance policy when you're age 40 or younger. But if you are in your 50s or 60s and are looking for life insurance, larger companies will typically provide more cost-effective coverage.
- Review your coverage. Family circumstances and needs change, so reevaluate your insurance coverage at least every couple years to make sure you're getting the coverage that's right for you.
- Get out your video recorder. Whether you have a renter's policy or a homeowner's policy, take video footage of your entire home, even those unsightly closets, every couple years. Store the video somewhere safely away from your home. If your home is ever destroyed in a fire or storm, that video will be your memory, helping you quickly determine a replacement cost for your insurance claim. "It’s a lot faster and a lot easier than painstakingly writing it all down on a legal sheet," Keil said.
By Emily Kittle