Do You Spend Too Much on Insurance Each Month?
Most people overpay for their insurance coverage. It’s unfortunate, but insurance agents aren’t always motivated to save you money. They’re motivated to sell you more insurance. Because of this, you might end up with riders you don’t need, insurance coverage that doesn’t make sense, deductibles that are too low, and an insurer who has the split responsibility of pleasing you and outside shareholders. Here’s how to save money without sacrificing coverage:
Most agents have riders that they love to sell people. It’s sort of a “personal favorite” of the agent – but you may not need them. A rider is a modification to the basic policy. It modifies the policy to include some type of coverage not normally found in the basic contract.
While some riders could be beneficial, many aren’t. Take accidental death riders for example. These pay only when you die as a result of an accident. Seems reasonable, right? There’s just one problem: the odds of you dying from an accident, by definition, are low. It’s an accident.
Moreover, even if you do become injured in an accident, a coroner may rule that you’ve died from “complications” like internal bleeding instead of the accident itself. You may survive the accident, but die due to an infection you receive in the hospital (i.e. a C.Diff infection – which is common in hospitals).
If you have ordinary life insurance, you probably don’t need the accidental death coverage offered on some auto policies.
Another problem is that you may have riders that just don’t make sense given where you live. This is especially troublesome on homeowner’s policies. For example, earthquake insurance is probably necessary if you live in California. If you live in North Dakota, however, you probably don’t need it.
Many agents try to make things easier for you by selling you on a $200 deductible. It’s low – sometimes too low. You can dramatically lower your premium by raising your deductible as high as the insurer will allow and saving the difference. Once you have enough to meet your monthly deductible amount, you can allocate that savings any way you wish.
Only raise your deductible if you plan on building up a savings to cover your higher out of pocket costs.
The Mutual Advantage
Most agents don’t advertise it, but mutual insurers are usually able to offer you a better net premium than stock companies? Why? Because mutual insurers pay dividends to policyholders. For homeowner’s insurance, this means that the insurer will refund part or all of your premium through a dividend payment if and when dividends are paid by the company.
With life insurance, your policy can grow substantially over time with the addition of dividend-funded premiums and dividend-funded additional paid-up life insurance death benefit.
Mutual insurers cannot guarantee that they will pay a dividend every year. That’s why it’s important to look at the historical dividend payments made by the company. Historical performance won’t tell you about future performance, but it will tell you the track record of the company. It’ll allow you to make a decision based on the probability of a dividend being paid in the future.
Most mutual insurers have a solid track record of paying dividends every year.
You’re Paying For Insurance On The Land
One small, little, mistake can cost you thousands on your homeowner’s insurance. When you’re having your home assessed, it’s common to include the land value in the assessment. When you give this figure to the insurer, it prices your policy accordingly. However, while a flood, earthquake, or fire might damage your property, it’s not the end of the world. You really should just be concerned about the replacement value of any structures on your property (i.e. your home, garages, etc.).
Most insurers don’t even cover landscaping, so if the value of your home includes the land, you might be paying for coverage that you’ll never see any benefit from. Have your home reassessed so that you get just the home value. Turn this figure into your insurer and watch your premium drop like a stone.
Louis Winter is a personal finance expert. He frequently writes some of his best tips on money saving blogs. To learn more click AutoInsuranceQuotes.com.