Quoting and Comparing Home and Auto Insurance


Many of you may not know, but May was national insurance planning month and while insurance isn’t the most exciting of topics, it is usually a place that monthly or annual savings can be found with a little bit of effort.  Additionally, you don’t have to wait until your current policy is up for renewal to find that savings.  Many times you can make changes or tweaks to your insurance during a current term and receive a refund OR you can switch insurance companies altogether and receive a refund from the previous insurer for the pro-rated amount you didn’t use.  In this post, we will cover some important topics if you want to review your home and auto insurance levels for more competitive rates.


Auto Insurance



Been with your insurer for a while? Your vehicle has gotten older as the years have gone by, and it might be time to drop comprehensive and collision coverage. Is your vehicle 10 years old or older? Could you easily replace or upgrade your vehicle in the event of a total loss? If you answered “yes” to one or both of these questions, you may want to drop or reduce your comp and collision coverage … and save some premium dollars. It’s all about a diminishing return on the dollars you pay in premiums on a depreciating asset. If, however, you have a newer vehicle or would rather pay the insurance company, so they’d cut you a check for a replacement vehicle if yours was totaled, that’s fine, too. It’s all about managing your risk.


Uninsured and Underinsured

Are you paying for someone else’s insurance? You probably are, and you might not even know it. If you carry high levels of uninsured or underinsured motor vehicle or motorist coverage — and most of us do — you’re basically buying insurance coverage for someone else. Insurers like to include this often-pricey coverage in, and most people don’t think twice about it. I’m certainly guilty of it. And when you buy insurance for somebody else, you’re paying for it, too.

It is what it sounds like: Insurance you pay for that covers a driver without insurance or without enough insurance. It comes into play when that uninsured or underinsured person is responsible for an accident that you’re involved in. Insurers often include it in policies at the same levels as your own liability coverage. So why do insurers like to include just as much coverage into your policy for some random person out there as you have for yourself? It’s all about the dollar signs, and those dollars add up with each policy renewal.


Homeowners Insurance



Has your property value gone up recently? By a lot?  Many homes have nearly doubled in value in the last few years! So take a look at your home value today, and make sure your insurance covers 80% of it. That’s the amount that most insurers require to cover damage in full after the deductible. If you don’t have 80% coverage, your insurer won’t pay for 100% of your cost to rebuild or repair your home in the event of a loss (after you pay your deductible, of course).

An easy way to check: Go to Zillow, check out the Zestimate, and multiply it by 75%. Why 75% and not 80%? You wouldn’t need to pay to rebuild the land your house sits on; just your house. You can future-proof this by adding a few thousand dollars in dwelling coverage beyond what you need today, and know that you can always update it in the future if need be. For example, if 75% of your Zestimate is $500,000, consider increasing your dwelling coverage to $575,000. It’s likely an insignificant increase in your premium for plenty of peace of mind.


Medical Payments

Last but certainly not least, let me cover medical payments to others. Medical care in the U.S. is not inexpensive. And $1,000 most likely won’t cut it in this country if someone needs medical care … and blames you for an incident that happened on your property and led them to the ER. A slip on your sidewalk’s ice patch. Someone leaning on a railing that breaks and causes them to fall a few feet — or a story. A couple of stitches from bumping a nail sticking out of your mailbox post. I often see coverage levels of $1,000, which more than likely wouldn’t cover a trip to the emergency room. You’d probably feel pretty bad in the first place … and wouldn’t want to pay out of pocket for their care on top of it. So, boost your medical payments coverage to $5,000 or even $25,000. This coverage tends not to be too pricey, and it can mean the difference between an insurance claim and a potentially hefty hit to your emergency/opportunity fund.


Multiple Insurers?  Quote and Bundle!

If you currently have different insurance companies for your home and auto coverage, then start by asking them to quote both auto and home levels on your behalf.  This way you can see a competitive quote right off the bat and you can also usually realize some sizeable discounts by bundling your coverage with one carrier.

As you start to consider these items and potentially make a switch, be careful to consider any “loyalty” bonuses that you might be giving up by leaving your current insurer.  It never hurts to ask if the insurance you decide to bundle with could honor a loyalty bonus that you might be giving up at your current place of insurance.

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Van Gelder Financial