Do you wish you could squeeze extra savings from your budget-without making any big sacrifices? Here’s an idea you may not have thought of: Slash the premiums you pay to insure your home. Rates have risen so sharply in recent years that it may seem impossible to cut these back. But there are many ways.
Your Auto Insurance
Consider canceling collision insurance
(for damage) and comprehensive insurance (for theft) if your car is older. Your insurer will never pay more than the vehicle’s current resale value, which may be low for a car that’s been around. Ask your agent what you’re paying for collision and “comp” and compare it with what your car is worth right now. You can find out by checking the Kelley Blue Book site (kbb.com). Cancel the coverage if it’s costing you more than the insurer would pay to repair or replace your car.
Raise the deductible
That’s the amount you pay out-of-pocket before your collision or comprehensive riders kick in. The cost of those riders drops as much as 25 percent if you agree to pick up the first $1,000 in claims rather than just the first $500. Accept a $2,500 deductible and your savings could reach 40 percent. You shouldn’t be filing $500 claims, anyway–insurers don’t like clients who turn to them for every little thing. They’ll raise your rates and may even cancel your coverage. Unfair? Absolutely, but that’s the fact.
Get several rate quotes
before you buy or renew a policy. To find a lower-cost policy, start with the Web to find car insurance quotes online like Churchill car insurance and dependable home insurance quotes as well. Average premiums are actually expected to drop 0.5 percent this year. Some insurers are cutting prices more–as much as 6 to 12 percent. To find a lower-cost policy, start with the Web (for helpful sites, see the list at left). Once you have prices, call an independent agent–one who represents several companies–to see if he or she can beat the quotes.
Take advantage of every discount insurers offer.
They’re usually available to people who drive less often than average (fewer than about 12,000 miles a year), older drivers (typically 55+), graduates of driver-training or defensive-driving courses, students with good grades (B-average or better), and owners of cars with safety features such as anti lock brakes. Geico often lowers rates up to 15 percent for active and retired military members. You may also get a discount if the same company insures your car and house (though you’ll save only if the company is low cost to begin with).
and keep a good credit rating. Speeding tickets, fender benders, and failing to pay your credit card bills will raise your rates. (Poor-credit risks are poor-driving risks, insurers say.)
Tell your insurance agent
if your teen moves out or goes away to school. You’ll pay less if he is no longer driving your car regularly.
Switch to a safer car
Insurers charge less for autos that perform better in crash tests than comparable, riskier models. For crash-test ratings, see http://www.iihs.org and safercar.gov.
Don’t scrimp on liability coverage
This is the coverage that kicks in if you injure someone in an automobile accident. The state requires that you buy a certain minimum amount, but that’s never enough for people with assets to protect. The policy should be large enough to cover the value of your home, your investments, and some of your future earning power, so a big court judgment wouldn’t end up crippling you for life.