09 Apr 2020 Ways to Save on Auto/Home/Renters Insurance During a Crisis

With the recent COVID-19 outbreak and stay-at-home orders, we are living in far from normal circumstances.

Some of you may still be going to work as essential employees, others may be working from home, or maybe you are furloughed or unemployed. Regardless of your situation, the future is unclear for all of us and we’re all trying to figure things out day-by-day.

At Berry Insurance, we’re a small, family-owned company. Each of our nine employees have a unique family situation and are all navigating this crisis in different ways, and for some, it means cutting costs. Some of you may even be considering reducing insurance coverages to save money. If so, we’ve got some recommendations on ways you can do so safely and effectively.

You might be wondering why an insurance agency is offering advice about reducing insurance. Of course we don’t WANT all of our clients to reduce their coverages — your insurance policies are what keep you safe and protected (and they also are what keeps our business in business).

However, we know these are hard times. We understand the need to cut costs, so we want to tell you the right places to cut so your reductions don’t result in an expensive liability or a complicated claims situation. Many of these ideas apply to several types of personal insurance, while some suggestions are more specific.

General insurance saving tips:

Bundle policies:

Many insurance companies offer incentives for the more business you provide them. By bundling multiple policies (such as homeowners/rental and auto) with the same insurance company, you may be able to save approximately 5-25 % on your policies.

For example, an insurance carrier might offer a 6 percent discount on your auto policy for bundling with renters/condominium insurance and 10 percent for bundling with home insurance. The supporting policy would also be eligible for a multi-policy discount, which can vary in percentage depending on the carrier.

If your insurance policies aren’t already bundled, you should do it right now. This is the simplest way to reduce insurance costs.

Increase your deductible: 

You may want to consider increasing your deductible on your auto/home/renters insurance at this time to save on your insurance premium. 

Of course, if you have a situation resulting in a claim, you will have to pay more out of pocket, but it may make sense to take that chance if it means saving money during this time.

Pay via EFT/ACH or pay ahead:

As is the case with many of life’s expenses, paying for your insurance through electronic funds transfer (EFT), automated clearing house (ACH), or paying the premium up front can eliminate billing fees.

If you’re comfortable with your payment automatically withdrawing from your bank account each month, or if you can afford to front the entire premium, these methods can save you both time and money.

Switch to paperless billing:

If you get your insurance bills in the mail, opting to have them delivered through email will also save you money on your premium.

Shop around for rates:

Insurance prices differ from company to company, so this might be a good time to obtain quotes from a few different carriers. 

An independent insurance agency like Berry Insurance can shop several companies for you so you don’t have to do any of the work!

Alternatively, you can also save money by maintaining your coverage with your insurance company, as some carriers offer price breaks for longtime customers.

Some insurance companies (Safeco, Liberty, etc.) are also currently offering refunds of some premiums, os it may be wise to stay put before you miss out.

Reach out to your agent or insurance company to see what options are available to you.

Ways to save on your auto insurance:

With several discounts and options available, your auto insurance is one of the easiest policies to save money on. Here are some ways:

Insure more than one car with the same policy or carrier (multi-car discount)

Similar to bundling policies, you can also earn discounts for insuring more than one vehicle in the same household. 

The vehicles don’t always have to even be under the same policy — many insurance companies will apply the discount to vehicles under separate policies, as long as they are with the same company. 

Aside from saving money, those who bundle will enjoy the benefit of only having to work with one insurance company and make one less individual payment each month.

Ask your agent about any discounts

You can get a discount for doing the following:

  • Being a member of an association (such as AAA, AARP, alumni associations, wholesale clubs, military organizations, honor societies and more)
  • Giving to a charity (MAPFRE Insurance offers a discount for giving just $25 to the Pan-Mass Challenge.)
  • Getting good grades (Insurance companies reward both high school and college drivers for earning good grades.)
  • Being a safe driver (drivers without accidents or violations for a certain period (usually five years) can save hundreds on their insurance through a safe driver or good driver discount.)

Ask your agent if you are eligible for any discounts that aren’t already applied to your policy.

Remove Optional Coverages

Many insurance plans include optional coverages intended to provide services in specific scenarios. If these coverages do not apply to you, or if you have another service that provides similar coverage, you should not be paying the extra amount for them.

Collision:

Collision insurance offers coverage to repair or replace your vehicle if it is damaged in an accident. If your vehicle is older and the value is low enough that you could afford to repair or replace it if it were damaged or destroyed, you may want to remove collision insurance. 

Keep in mind, if you are leasing your vehicle, or if it isn’t paid off, collision coverage is typically required.

Substitute Transportation: 

Substitute transportation insurance will pay for at least a portion of the cost of a rental vehicle if you need one due to a covered loss while it is being repaired or replaced (if you have collision insurance). 

If you have an alternative vehicle you can use, or if you are able to go without your car for a period of time, you could remove substitute transportation.

Roadside/towing:

Many insurance companies offer roadside assistance or towing insurance if your car breaks down on the side of the road and you are unable to get it to a mechanic. If you have both roadside/towing and AAA, you are essentially paying for the same coverage twice, so choose one or the other.

Enroll in telematics

It’s no secret that technology is advancing and infiltrating almost every industry, but did you know it can also help save you money on your car insurance? Through telematics, insurance companies are using tracking devices to monitor driver data including speed, mileage, driving time, hard brakes, and more to determine insurance premiums. 

Pay-as-you-drive insurance models using telematics, such as Drive with Safety or N&Drive through Norfolk & Dedham, monitor driving habits to offer discounts up to 30 percent to cautious or low-mileage drivers. 

Check with your agent to see if you are eligible for one of these services.

Lower your limits

You may also have the option of lowering your limits on some of your coverages, depending on your existing limits and if you have an umbrella policy. Talk to your agent to figure out what makes sense for you!

If you are unemployed or working from home and are only using one vehicle, it may make sense to remove optional coverages or lower limits on the vehicle you aren’t using.

Of course, don’t forget you made this change! Once you’re back on the road, you probably want to increase these coverages again to ensure you are adequately protected.

Ways to save on your homeowners insurance:

There are also a few steps you could consider if you want to save money on your homeowners insurance. 

Evaluate your possessions

If you’re stuck at home, now is a great time to review your insurance policies and evaluate the value of any possessions on it. 

Have an old item scheduled on your insurance policy that you feel isn’t worth as much as it used to be? Make sure you’re revising your coverages in case you find you’re insuring things that no longer need it. 

Ask your provider about less-common discounts

There are some discounts out there that are less well-known such as over 55 discounts, non-smoking home discounts, recent-purchaser discounts, and discounts for home alarm/security systems. 

Be sure to contact your insurance agent to see if there’s any additional discounts you could be benefitting from.

Ways to save on your renters insurance:

Not a homeowner? Not to worry. There are also ways to save on your renters insurance.

Ask about discounts:

There may be some lesser known discounts available for your renters policy. For example, some professions are eligible for discounts on insurance. Ask your agent which professions have discounts that are offered to see if yours applies.

Start saving today!

We realize everyone is different and some of these options might make more sense to you than others.

That’s what we’re here for! Feel free to reach out so we can evaluate your policies and help you decide where it makes most sense to make some changes! 

Are you a business owner? Feel free to check out this other resource about how to save money on business insurance, or share it with someone it could help. When one succeeds, we all succeed!
Or, you can check out this COVID-19 FAQ, where we addressed all the questions we have received about how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting your personal or business insurance.

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