Back in February, I shared two long lists of bummers: things that can make your car insurance rates go up, and home insurance rates go up.
Now that we’ve moved into spring and we’re all full of life and vigor, let’s tackle something more positive: things that can make your insurance rates go down.
A funny (and unfortunate) thing that I find a lot when talking to clients: Many of us have become used to just picking an insurance policy and leaving it alone, no matter how many changes happen in our lives, jobs, etc.
The risk there is two-fold: You can leave yourself with inadequate insurance coverage, and/or get stuck paying a bunch of money you don’t really need to pay. It’s why I really encourage shopping for insurance somewhat regularly, even if you’re not going through me.
What I do, as an independent insurance broker in Nashville, is look at your life and insurance picture holistically, and currently — I help you figure out what makes the most sense in terms of different kinds of coverage, and I dig into what in your individual picture could add up to the best rates.
The aim, ultimately, is for you to have the right insurance at the lowest rate possible. To get there, I ask a lot of questions, I do a lot of research, and I compare a lot of policies. It’s detailed and involved, but fun, if you’re insurance nerd. Luckily, I am one. If you’re not super into insurance minutiae, good news: I’m happy to do all that legwork, without costing you anything. (Here’s more about how independent insurance agents differ from company-employed agents.)
I’d be glad to chat more about your specific insurance picture; just call or email me. But in the meantime, more broadly, here are a few potentially insurance rate-reducing things to think about:
8 things that can lower your insurance rates
Your commute shrinks, or you start working from home
I know a lot of telecommuters these days, from part-time to full-time. I also know a lot of people who’ve changed jobs or changed offices multiple times, and never reached out to see how it’d affect their car insurance. If your driving habits change — you stop going into an office altogether, you work from home part-time, you move to a closer location, you start carpooling — it changes your risk in the eyes of an insurance company. So even if you’re not planning to call me to look into a new policy, call your insurance company. You might save some cash.
You’re willing to raise your deductible
Most of us have a knee-jerk inclination to seek out the lowest deductible, i.e. the amount of money we have to pay out of pocket before our insurance coverage kicks in. But that’s not necessarily the best approach for everyone. If you feel comfortable covering a larger deductible should something happen, it can considerably decrease your rate. I’ve seen rates go down as much as 25 percent on a policy, just by upping the deductible from $500 to $1000. It’s something to think about, and weigh out. Unsure? I’d be more than happy to advise you about it.
You’re investing in protective upgrades
To insurance companies, your rates are all about calculating risk. So almost everything you do to minimize risk has the potential to minimize your rate. For your home, that can mean anything from adding a security/smoke alarm system to upgrading and modernizing your HVAC or electrical systems. In some areas, things like storm shutters and upgraded roofing materials do the trick too. For cars, alarm systems and anti-theft features can bring discounts. So can extra safety features like airbags and anti-lock brakes. Make sure your insurer knows about all of this stuff.
You work for a company/belong to an organization that has group plans
This certainly isn’t as common as group health insurance, but you might be eligible for discounts with certain car and home insurance providers based on the company you work for, or groups you belong to (anything from school alumni groups to professional organizations). The discounts don’t always add up to your best policy option, but it’s certainly worth looking into. Ask your HR rep, or talk to me — I might know about specific providers who have agreements with certain Nashville companies/organizations, and if not, I can certainly look more into it.
You’re ready to bundle
You probably know this one, but it’s worth keeping in the front of your mind, because it can be the source of really good discounts. Multiple cars, multiple kinds of insurance (home, auto, more) — insurance companies are often inclined to encourage multi-policy relationships by offering a good deal. Again, though, this isn’t cut and dry. I might be able to find you a better total picture by splitting between different insurers. I check all the options, including bundling plans.
Your valuables have gotten less valuable
I always encourage my clients to reassess their insurance picture somewhat regularly. That’s sometimes to make sure you’re not missing out on savings, sometimes to ensure you have enough coverage, sometimes to make sure you’re not paying for too much coverage. Maybe you have personal articles insurance policies to cover your state-of-the-art computer system, but five years down the line, it’s already almost a relic. You’re probably paying more than you need to. Staying up to date is worthwhile, so you’re not throwing money away.
Your cast of drivers has changed
Every covered driver on your plan affects the big car-insurance picture in a significant way, so keeping this up to date is key, on many levels. You want to be sure anyone who’s driving your cars regularly is adequately covered. But you also want to make sure you’re not paying a major monthly premium when your college-aged kid is studying on the other side of the country, and never drives your car. Young drivers can significantly increase rates, so if your day-to-day changes, look at changing your policy. If your undergrads come back for the summer, you can usually add them temporarily, and save all those other months.
You’re not parking on the street anymore
Kind of obvious, right? If your car isn’t parked on the street — where it’s more likely to be hit, stolen, burgled — insurance companies see a lower risk. So if you’ve built a garage (or even a driveway) and haven’t made your insurance company aware, definitely do so, and see if it changes your picture some.
Those are just a few things that come to mind. If you’d like to talk more specifically about your individual picture, and ways to save on your insurance, I’d be more than happy to chat. Just give me a call.
An easy way to get the ball rolling if you’re shopping for insurance in Nashville: Start the online quote process with Tucker Coverage here.