By Beth Holland
Much like the price of groceries and gasoline, insurance premiums are increasing. Especially if you haven’t had a claim, you may wonder why your policy’s cost has gone up.
Insurance premiums are tied closely to costs of labor, building materials and medical care. As these prices rise, the costs to treat injuries after an auto accident or to repair or replace your home, car and belongings also increase.
Another cause of rising premiums may be the number of claims on your policy. When losses are high, risk may be higher than estimated, and premium adjustments may be needed to offset the increased risk accepted by your insurance company.
You do have some control, however, if you’re looking for ways to reduce your insurance expenses:
SEEK GUIDANCE FROM AN INDEPENDENT AGENT
Prices and coverage vary from company to company, so consider your options. But don’t shop by price alone as coverages and service are the most important factors. Seek out the professional expertise of an independent agent who represents a variety of insurance carriers and can help you find options that best fit your needs. Read more about how an independent agent stands out.
CONSIDER HIGHER DEDUCTIBLES
Deductibles are what you pay before your insurance policy kicks in for a covered loss. By being willing to take on a higher deductible, you can lower your premium costs, sometimes substantially. When you choose a higher deductible, be sure you have enough money set aside to pay your deductible in the event of a claim.
KNOW THE INSURANCE COST PRIOR TO A NEW PURCHASE
Buying a new home or auto? It’s important to factor in how much the insurance is going to cost. Not all homes and auto insurance will be priced the same. Some autos are safer, have lower repair costs, or have a lower rate of theft – factors that can affect the insurance premium. Two homes for sale at $250,000 might not cost the same for insurance, either, if one was built with materials that are now outdated and could increase the replacement cost for the insurer.
BUY YOUR INSURANCE THROUGH ONE COMPANY
Most carriers offer discounts for placing all your business with them. This can be more cost effective than having your home and auto written through separate carriers. It can also be helpful to have one agent handling all your policies to make sure there are no gaps in your coverages.
PROTECT YOUR HOME FROM POTENTIAL CLAIMS
Do you have a home security system, backup generator, automatic water shut-off system or other feature that makes your home less likely to have a big claim? Make sure to discuss your home’s protective features with your agent, as there may be a credit for being a better risk.
REVIEW YOUR POLICY AT LEAST ONCE A YEAR
Life moves quickly, and things can change from year to year. Are your policy limits still adequate for your lifestyle? Have you purchased big-ticket items throughout the year? it’s important to review to make sure your policies are up to date and not missing that new car you swapped out a few months ago, the basement you finished out or the new jewelry you received as a gift.
INVESTIGATE POSSIBLE DRIVER CREDITS
Talk to your agent about how your household has changed in the last year. Did someone take a driver improvement course? Has your daughter gone to school without her auto? Maybe your son has earned good grades. Check with your agent to see if your insurer offers credits for these items.
Cheaper isn’t always better, but you don’t need to pay for more than you need or miss out on discounts you’re entitled to.
Coverages described here are in the most general terms and are subject to actual policy conditions and exclusions. For actual coverage wording, conditions and exclusions, refer to the policy or contact Landmark Risk Management & Insurance.