There can be a lot of guilt surrounding conversations about insurance. You know that getting insurance is the responsible thing to do, and you can feel like, the moment you start asking any questions about pricing, you’re accused of not seeing the importance in the insurance. If you ask a customer service representative at an insurance company, “Do I really need that?” or “How likely is it, really, that that would ever occur?” rather than answer you directly, they’ll list off horror stories of people who didn’t add that coverage, and paid big time. They’ll say, “Don’t you want to be protected?” or “Doesn’t your home matter to you?” or “Doesn’t your family matter to you?” It’s very manipulative. But at the end of the day, insurance is a product, and like any other – from computers to furniture to kitchen appliances – they’re not all built equally. They’re not all priced equally. Some are exactly the same, and priced quite differently. You are entitled to ask questions. You have a right to pursue the best price possible. And you shouldn’t be made to feel bad for using your common sense. If you know you’ll never need a certain coverage, don’t be guilt-tripped into buying it. You know your life and your habits and what matters most to you. On that note, here are ways to save money on these common insurance policies.
For pets, get it early
If you are considering pet insurance, know that A) yes, you do need it and B) every day you spend thinking about it is a day that premiums can go up. Most pet insurance companies base your premium on your pet’s age, as well as other things, like the breed. So the sooner you get it, the better. If you adopted your pet, know that the shelter may not have truly known the pet’s age. So get a vet to take a closer look so you list the proper age.
Or get one that isn’t age-based
Some insurance policies do not raise premiums based on age. You’ll have to shop around to find one. But if you can, it’s very much worth it. Also know that many big insurance companies who provide things like car or home insurance also offer pet insurance. Don’t immediately look to a pet-only insurance company. You may get a discount if you buy your pet’s policy through the same company where you get another policy.
Get a lower reimbursement
You’ll usually see policies that offer either an 80 percent or 90 percent reimbursement after the deductible is met. Choosing that lower reimbursement could instantly earn you monthly savings on the premium. If your pet is still young and healthy, you can likely afford this option. If things change, you can always up the reimbursement during the re-enrollment period.
Add a wellness package and use it
Many pet insurance policies offer the addition of a wellness package. It’s just a little add-on, that’s usually somewhere from another $20 to $30 a month, that covers things like teeth cleanings, vaccines, heartworm medication, flea and tick prevention, and checkups. These are things you’re getting anyways, and they will help you meet your plan’s deductible. After that, you’ll get high reimbursement. And bear in mind that all of those wellness items usually cost between $500 and $1000 a year. So it’s worth it to pay just an extra $200 or so a year in insurance to get them covered.
For car, list the proper profession
Make sure that your car insurance information is up to date. You may have purchased your policy years ago, and made several life changes since then, like getting a new job. Or even having acquired a new degree. Those pieces of information actually impact your insurance quote. It is stereotyping and biased, yes, but insurance companies consider things like what you do for a living and what level of education you reached in assessing your risk. So if you changed jobs or got another degree, let them know.
Get the mileage right
Make sure your mileage is accurate, too, because you pay for it. You may have set your mileage to 10,000 miles a year when you got the plan because you went into an office or traveled a lot for work. But if you’ve since then moved to work from home, you can slash that mileage down to just a few thousand miles a year and see some savings.
Make sure your address is reflected
It’s also important to make sure your address is up to date with your car insurance company. If your life moves in the direction that the lives of many do, then as you get older, with each move, you may move into a nicer i.e. safer neighborhood. And when your car insurance company registers that new zip code, they may lower your rate.
Increase your deductible a bit
Increasing your deductible a bit is always a sure way to reduce monthly premiums. Just make sure not to set your deductible to anything you wouldn’t be able to pay, should something happen. But look at it this way: a deductible is something you might pay one day, if something goes wrong, but a premium is something you’ll definitely pay, and you won’t get those dollars back. So ask yourself if you’re willing to increase your deductible from $1,000 to $1,500, knowing you may never pay that extra $500, and will definitely get an immediate discount.
For health, remove some unnecessary coverage
Take a good long look at what is offered. You may be paying for things you just don’t need, like brand name prescriptions or prescription delivery. If you’re fine with the generic medications – which you should be, as they’re exactly the same as the name brand stuff – and you can walk to your pharmacy, you don’t need to pay an extra $15 a month for those add-ons.
Get on a partner’s plan
If your job doesn’t offer you health insurance but your partner has health insurance, you may be able to get on his plan. Even if you aren’t married, if you can prove domestic partnership, you may be able to receive his benefits. Laws have relaxed surrounding this in recent years, so see if you qualify.
Use a health insurance broker
A health insurance broker has in-depth and vast knowledge about all of the plans out there. Your time is money, and it could take you dozens of hours to research and compare every plan out there. If you use a broker, you can tell him a bit about your health, habits, income, needs, and wants, and he can present you with the best plans for you.
For home insurance, assess natural risks
Think about where you live, and what natural disaster insurance you really need. For example, if you’re paying for tornado damage insurance and live in a town where there has been one tornado in 200 years, well, that’s something to think about.
Consider your real valuables
When my husband and I purchased our homeowner’s insurance policy, we noticed that they’d automatically set our coverage for goods and belongings to $100,000. We laughed long and hard. We have, like, two laptops and I have one piece of jewelry that might be worth something? We don’t have much stuff. We lowered the coverage for personal belongings to $5,000, and instantly saw big savings in our premium.
Buy from your auto insurer
Always see if you can bundle. Insurance companies appreciate loyalty. If there is one where you get your car insurance that also offers home insurance, see if they’ll offer you a discount for bundling. Or if they’ll offer you a discount for being a long-standing loyal customer.
Fortify it for discounts
Your home insurance premium is based on your risk factors. But you can do things to decrease those like get a new roof, add rain gutters, and add a security system. Talk to your home insurance company about what renovations and upgrades you could make that would result in discounts on your premium. Remember a security system does two things: saves you money on home insurance and provides security.