If you are like many people, you view insurance as a necessary evil. Evil because it often seems as if insurance companies are all about ripping people off. Necessary because if your house burned down or your car was totaled, you could be in a world of financial trouble. So, it is fair to say that the peace of mind insurance is supposed to provide does not necessarily mean peace of mind if you worry about a claim not being covered. That’s why it is important to approach insurance strategically.
Prioritize Needs and Wants
What are your needs and your wants? What does your budget look like? One good thing about insurance is that there are plans to fit many needs. If you prioritize super-duper insurance that covers any eventuality you can think of, you can likely get it. You just may have to pay more, but insurance is structured so that each new area of coverage may not cost you more than a few dollars a month.
Common considerations for insurance priorities include:
- To save money (the cheapest insurance possible)
- To cover all bases (your plan would likely be among the priciest insurance)
- To fill a niche demand (tattoo shop, laser center, or day spa, for instance)
- To get streamlined, yet comprehensive customer service
One important thing to keep in mind is that your priorities should align with the realities of your situation.
Identify (and Reassess) Realities
What exactly does “the realities of your situation” mean? It comes down to checking that your priorities make sense. As an obvious example, suppose you have a new car that cost several hundred thousand dollars. Does it make sense to get the cheapest car insurance? Probably not. The opposite example applies; suppose you have a car you have owned for 30 years and that would sell for less than a thousand dollars. Does it make sense to pay for all types of coverage on the car? Likely not.
The thing is, people’s realities change every year. That expensive car, if you keep it for years, gets older and older, and all of a sudden, you find yourself overpaying a lot on insurance. Try to reassess your realities and priorities once a year.
It’s amazing how many people do not compare multiple quotes. Each insurance company considers different factors in its risk models and weighs factors differently. For example, Company A may assign more risk to car owners residing in ZIP Code A and charge more, while Company B does not. A tool such as carinsurancecheap.net lets you compare many quotes at one time, and you don’t have to enter information at multiple websites or call multiple insurance companies.
Ask About Discounts
Once you have workable quotes from three insurance companies you like, how do you narrow them down to the “winning” company? One way is to ask about discounts; insurance agents may not go out of their way to inquire about any applicable qualifying life situations you have. If you only use your car for errands, you could get a steep discount (some tools such as carinsurancecheap.net do consider this as a factor).
If you are a college student with good grades, you could enjoy some money off your insurance as well. Ditto if you decide to bundle your homeowners, car, and motorcycle policies. Many insurance companies also offer discounts if you pay online or if you pay for an entire six months in advance.
Assess Customer Service
Looking at a company’s customer service can be pretty simple. In fact, a few minutes on the website may be all it takes. Review whether contact information is easy to find, and if the company allows claims to be filed online. Also, how can you contact agents or adjusters? Live chat, email, telephone, and so on? During which hours? If you cannot unearth this information online, you may want to proceed with caution.
Finding exactly the right insurance plan for your needs does require some strategy. This is especially true given the fact that your needs change. Often, the change is gradual and takes many years, but you may have done expensive home renovations that add value to your home. You could be under-insured. On the other hand, your car could be over-insured because it has decreased greatly in value.