Archive for February, 2019

10 Ways to Save on Car Insurance

How to save on your car insurance

Is your teen driver driving you to the poor house? Did your insurance rates take a huge increase with no change in your driving record? It may be time to review your auto policy to make sure you’re not over-paying. Here are 10 tips to keep your auto premiums in tip-top shape.

  1. Check your driving record.

Your driving record can have a big influence on how much you pay for car insurance. When your insurance is quoted, they run two reports: 1) Clue Report, this includes claims data turned into insurance companies, and 2) Motor Vehicle Report, this comes from the DOT and includes information reported by police like violations and accidents. Clue Reports can be inaccurate so should know the correct driving records of every driver on your policy and record the date and type of incident, including:

  1. Traffic violations
  2. Accidents (both at-fault and not-at-fault accidents such as someone rear-ending you)
  3. Comprehensive claims (like deer strikes, hail, glass damage, vandalism, etc.)

Ask your agent (and anytime you quote new insurance) what incidents affected your rate. You can dispute inaccurate information, but you may need to show proof to get items removed.

  1. Maintain a good driving record

Obviously, if you obey traffic laws and drive safely, you’ll get into fewer accidents and violations. Make safe driving a habit. Consider taking a safe driving course, some companies offer discounts for doing so, but even if they don’t, it has its own rewards.

  1. Participate in telematics programs

Telematics are devices that monitor your driving habits, such as mileage, time of day, fast braking, speed, mobile distraction and others. Insurance companies offer discounts of 5% to as much 50% depending on your driving habits. Find out of the insurance company will raise your rates if your driving habits are unfavorable, some do not. Driving apps that you install on your mobile phone are gaining popularity among carriers as some offer both choices. Since you can monitor your own driving with these devices it is an opportunity to improve your driving habits.

  1. Check insurance before buying your vehicle

Not all vehicles are created equal when it comes to the cost to insure them. Obviously a more expensive car will cost more to insure, but other factors play into it as well. Luxury and less common makes are often more expensive to repair and get parts if they are in an accident. Sportier cars or vehicles that can be used off-road cost more too. Get the VIN of the cars you’re considering and have your agent quote them first.

  1. Maintain good credit

Credit score can have as big of a factor on your rates as your driving record. Pay your bills on time, keep credit card balances low and dispute any discrepancies on your credit report.

  1. Shop your insurance

This is perhaps the biggest key to lower rates and yet many people are reluctant to do it. Perhaps it intimidates people who think they may unwittingly end up with less or inferior overage. Always insist on getting an apples-to-apples quote with your current coverage so you can compare fairly. While many insurance agents sell only one carrier, you can get quotes from multiple carriers from independent agents and brokers. Search for independent agents on Google and ask what carriers they are appointed with. That way you can get competitive quotes from more companies.

  1. Don’t assume advertised insurance companies are any better/cheaper than non-advertised ones.

Advertising is very costly and adds to an insurance company’s overhead. While brand recognition may help instill your confidence, advertising in its self doesn’t make a product any better. Some of the best values in insurance can be with small insurance companies you never heard of before. Also don’t assume a particular brand always has a better rate. All insurance companies have their own rating factors to determine what type of customers get the best rates. The company that was good for your brother-in-law may be a poor choice for you.

  1. Maximize discounts

Some of the biggest discounts include multi-vehicle and multi-policy discounts. Therefore, bundling home and auto insurance with the same company is usually cheaper. Paying your policy in full gives you an additional discount vs. monthly pay. Ask what discounts you are getting now and what other discounts are available, but not currently getting.

  1. Consider increasing your deductibles or reducing coverage on older cars

The lower the deductible, the higher the premium so you will save money by raising your deductibles. If the car is financed be sure to check with your loan company to see if they require a maximum deductible limit. If you have an older car or is worth less than $5K and is paid off, consider dropping comprehensive and collision coverage. A rule of thumb is if your comp and collision coverage costs more than 10x the value of the car, consider reducing coverage.

  1. Go easy on optional coverage

You’ve seen the commercials that advertise “accident forgiveness” or “disappearing deductibles.” What they don’t mention is those options often cost you more and they aren’t necessarily right for you. Watch the cost of rental reimbursement, GAP coverage and roadside assistance to make sure you feel the benefit is worth the extra premium.

Getting your best rates requires some diligence on your part and combined with a little knowledge you’ll get the most for your money. Take control of your insurance today!

 

Posted in: Insurance Tips

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Smart connected homes help protect from big homeowner insurance claims

You’ve probably seen the commercials about home security systems that send video and audio to your smart phone if someone comes to your door. But what happens if your smoke alarm goes off at home and there’s no one there to hear it? If you had early notification you could call for help even if you’re out of town to prevent a much bigger catastrophe.

Discounts on homeowners insurance

Several companies are now making home protection devices that are connected to your home Wi-Fi to send a notification to your smartphone. As more data becomes available about the devices’ effectiveness in reducing or preventing claims, you will see more and more insurance companies offering discounts to homeowners with smart connected devices. One company, State Auto Insurance of Columbus, OH is already offering such discounts for their homeowners policies.

Smart batteries for smoke alarms

There are several types of devices that monitor everything from smoke alarms, water leaks and freezing temps in your home. Smart batteries can be placed in many smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. When a connected device goes off it sends you a notification to your smart phone. The data use is small so it will have only a minimal affect on your data use.

Wi-Fi enabled water leak and freeze detectors

Another smart connected device senses water leaks such as from a sump pump over-flow. Water and sewer backups can be a costly mess to clean up and repair. Insurance premiums for this coverage have been on the rise. Some companies now charge more than $260 for $10,000 worth of backup coverage while others are adding conditions for eligibility.

Additional units can be placed in other areas of the home where water leaks can appear such as:

    • Under your dishwasherWi-Fi water leak detector
    • Near the washing machine drain
    • Ice maker line on your refrigerator
    • Under sinks
    • Near the bathtub or toilet

Some water leak units also sense for out of range humidity and temperatures. If you’re out of town on a winter vacation and your furnace fails, it could freeze your water pipes. When water freezes it expands and the pressure can burst your pipes, releasing a constant blast of water into your home which could go on for days if no one is around. Other smart devices can even turn off your water when a leak is detected.

Encompass Insurance offering customers free connected home program

Smart home connected devices

Images from Roost Home Telematics

Encompass is partnering with Roost, the largest and fasting growing home telematics company in the US to offer smart home devices at no cost. The program includes a smart water leak and freeze detector and a smart 9-volt battery for smoke alarms. The insurance company is offering up to 7,000 packages for policyholders and will be tracking their effectiveness in reducing damage to homes and personal property.

If you have an Encompass homeowner policy in Iowa, contact your agent or Insurance Gurus in Cedar Rapids to register. Supplies are limited. For a free home and/or auto insurance quote from Encompass contact Ed Faber at Insurance Gurus, 319-200-4878.

Posted in: Industry News, Insurance Tips

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