Insurance is mandatory, but it doesn’t have to be expensive and it does pay to find the best coverage you can for your money. It’s a lot more expensive to need it and not have it than it is to take the time to find a good policy!
We’ll make sure you have the best coverage we can get for you, but if it’s been a few years since you signed on to your policy or if you’re just looking to cut some corners in the budget, here are a few ways to save money on your policy.
Raise your Deductible: A deductible is the amount of money you pay up front to cover damages and expenses in a policy before the insurance company pays. For example, if you have an accident that costs $4,500 to repair and your deductible is $500, it means you pay $500 and the insurance company then pays $4,000.
If you raise your deductible, it means that the insurance company doesn’t have to pay as much in the case of a claim, and as a result your premium will decrease.
This is true for any policy, not just auto or home. If you have some savings or are otherwise willing to live with paying more in case of a claim, raising your deductible is a great first step when it comes to saving money.
Depending on who your provider is, you can expect roughly a 25% decrease in home insurance if you raise your deductible from $500 to $1,000. On your auto policy you could save between 10 and 15% by increasing your policy from $250 to $500.
Insure everything you can with the same insurance provider: You may have gotten a great deal from Company A for home and Company B for auto, but either one would love to have all your business, not just some. As an incentive, your insurance provider will often provide a substantial discount for consolidating your policies with the same company. Even the average household with a home policy and an auto policy can benefit by over 15% depending on your provider.
Contact us before you submit even a small claim: Your agent can advise you how best to proceed with your insurance company if you are considering submitting a claim. For example, most home polices cover your belongings left in your car if it’s stolen, and most auto policies cover your vehicle even if it’s damaged while in your garage. Your agent can assess your situation and work with your insurance company to make sure the claim is a) worth making in the first place, and b) will have a minimum impact on your policy.
Consider deleting windshield (glass) coverage: If you drive a vehicle older than about ten years, or if yours is a very popular model, consider deleting your glass coverage. You are likely paying between $100-$200/year, but the cost to replace a windshield on an older vehicle is probably not more than $350 to begin with.
This means if you file a claim for a damaged windshield on your policy, your premium may increase and you’ll have to pay a deductible anyway, all for something that doesn’t cost much more than a couple of years’ worth of premium in the first place. Windshield crack and chip repair is inexpensive, from $25 and up, and can preserve your windshield for a long time.
If your vehicle is driven in environments or conditions that result in a lot of chipping, pitting and cracking, consider a separate glass policy. That way your auto policy premium won’t be affected by a glass claim.
Consider renting out your car: In Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec there’s a program called Turo. It’s sort of like AirBnB for vehicles, letting you rent out your vehicle. However, most insurers won’t cover you for this; currently only Intact and belairdirect do. This is not a substitute for a commercial or fleet policy, and it won’t save you any money, but income from renting your vehicle can help offset the cost of your coverage.
Consider deleting collision coverage: Unless you have a loan on your vehicle or it’s a collectible of some kind, consider deleting collision coverage. If your vehicle is worth less than a couple thousand dollars, and if your deductible is already $1,000 or so, it may not be worth paying for this coverage at $2-300 a year or so.
Storage insurance can pay off: If you’re a snowbird who’s gone for a few months a year, or if you have a convertible that you don’t drive in the winter (or a truck you only use during hunting seasons), or otherwise only use a certain vehicle for a certain time of year, let your provider know. You’ll have to reinstate your coverage before you take to the road again, but it’ll save you money. Be sure to keep comprehensive coverage on the vehicle to protect you against fire, theft or other damages.
Sign up for UBI (Usage Based Insurance): A UBI program can save you typically five to 10 per cent just for signing up, with additional savings of up to 25% for good drivers.
The UBI program monitors your driving habits. It takes into account how fast you accelerate and brake, the time of day you’re typically on the road, trip duration, speed, and other factors. UBI programs can only help lower your rate; it cannot be used to increase what you pay.
Take a driver education course: Every provider will assess lower premiums for new drivers who have completed a driver training course, and the savings can be substantial. Besides, taking a course is an investment that will pay off forever in safer driving habits.
Let your insurer know if you upgrade your home: Older homes are more likely to have problems, and your insurer will offer lower premiums for houses with newer roofs, furnaces, windows etc. This is especially true if you upgrade an older home’s electrical wiring. An upgrade from old fuses to modern circuit breakers can save you money.
Install a sump pump or backflow valve: If your home has either one of these, tell your insurance company if they don’t already know. They may offer a small discount. And if you don’t have either of these installed, consider doing so. At the very least, you’ll save some hassle if you have a plumbing problem.
Consider an Alarm/Security System: This is especially true for commercial premises, but even on your home, if you have a security system installed, tell your broker. You can save up to 15% depending on your provider. It won’t pay for itself, but it’ll offset your premium a bit, and you’ll have more peace of mind. If you’re thinking of installing one yourself, ask your provider if they will still provide a discount for a self-installed system, and if certain brands or equipment don’t qualify.
Take a personal inventory: Even if you just walk through your house with a video camera, have an inventory on hand of everything valuable that you own. This will make a loss much easier to recover from because you’ll have a good idea what your possessions are worth.
Following all the tips above can save you hundreds on the average home and auto policies. With all the money you save with the above tips, consider increasing your coverage in such areas as your auto liability coverage. Remember, it’s better to have more of what you do need than sacrifice it for paying for what you don’t. Contact us to see how we can help you!