- Meet with your agent to discuss your individual coverages. Typically the most expensive coverage(s) you pay for are your Collision and Comprehensive. Your vehicle(s) are another year older–it might be a wise decision to remove those coverages altogether.
- Make sure your liability limits are high enough. We are in an ever-increasing litigious environment, literally, you cannot have too much liability insurance.
- It is important to understand some of the reasons why your auto rates increase. One of them is “frequency of claims” and the biggest violator of that is “glass only/windshield chips” and towing claims. Filing those little claims will only inhibit your agent’s ability to keep your premiums low.
- Have your agent double check to make sure your “dwelling/coverage A”, which is the replacement cost of your house, is correct. In certain areas of the country that experience turbulent labor and material cost fluctuations, having this number correct can save you a lot of money and/or heartache in the event of a claim.
- Ask your agent for any new discounts that your carrier is offering. Policy discounts can change from year to year and your agent can tell you which ones you may qualify for. For instance, a lot of companies are now offering a substantial discount for retirees or 55+ year old home owners.
- Did you throw away that old trampoline? Did your dog pass away? These, among others, are liability issues that, once are no longer a factor, can lower your premium.
Health insurance…sigh…this is such a hard one to discuss because there are so many variables that could change next year, but…
- Have you had your annual screening, dental check-up, etc? Having these done routinely are not only obviously good for your health, but can keep medical costs lower for you in the future.
- Consider a higher deductible with an optional HSA, especially if you and/or your family are healthy and rarely go to the doctor. The combination of saving premium dollars with a high deductible and the tax savings of an HSA could save you a nice chunk of money each year.
- Consider a “medi-share” program. With the health insurance market continuing to be turbulent, medi-share programs are growing in popularity. Be cautious because they are NOT health insurance policies, but they still serve a purpose. At the end of the day, it’s better to have some kind of health plan than nothing.
- In better health? Lost weight? Off your blood pressure meds? These are all great reasons to either (A) re-test your medical exam with your current provider or (B) take a medical exam with a new company and see if they offer a more competitive rate.
- Learn from a “teacher in the industry”, not a salesman, about the difference between permanent and term life insurance. Once you understand the difference, you may decide that term is right for you, and that alone, could save you thousands a year.
- Consider dropping extra riders. Do you have a “children’s term rider” on your policy that you pay extra for? Are you paying for a “return of premium” feature, but didn’t quite understand what it does? Life insurance can be a very expensive product (sometimes the most expensive), so ensuring you bought it for the right reasons and bought the right product is essential.
Each of these 12 tips are best suited for a conversation with an Independent Insurance Broker, not a captive agent that can only sell products for one company. Start off right by putting yourself with an agent that has the heart of a teacher and not a salesman.
Best of luck in 2017!