Insurance costs can really creep up if you’re not careful. I have to force myself to really look at the statements and keep track of what the policies cost and how much the costs increase (it seems like they all regularly go up, doesn’t it? ) A regular check-in and price comparison is a good place to start.
My trick for doing this? I have an annual date. No, not a romantic one (although, a glass of wine after wading through insurance policies is completely acceptable!) but a date that I go through the policies, make sure our deductibles make sense, and that we’re not over-looking any discounts.
Shop around, raise your deductible, and drive the speed limit. Yes, this sounds goofy but speeding tickets are expensive and they make your insurance costs go way up.
I’m about to shop around for our automobile insurance. Soon, we’ll have a teenage driver and our insurance company doesn’t give a discount for completing a driver’s education course. How do I know this? “The Mom Network,” of course! Don’t be afraid to ask around and see what companies your friends or neighbors recommend.
Homeowners and Renters
Have you done upgrades to your home? This may mean lower premiums. New furnace installed or have an old house and you’ve replaced the plumbing? Check with your agent and ask for a discount. Remember, it never hurts to ask.
If you’re a renter, it’s smart to have a policy even if you don’t “own” your home. If something happens to your belongs inside your home, you’ll want to be covered. Renter’s insurance isn’t very expensive and is worth looking into.
An easy way to keep track of all of your belongings whether you own your home or rent is to make a video of every room in your home. Place this in your safe deposit box or in a fire-proof safe in your home. If anything happens (heaven forbid!) you have a visual record that will help you remember.
Go with a term policy. It’s the least expensive and for a set period of time. There’s no investments or cash back attached to it. It’s simple. We all need life insurance in case of death but don’t use insurance as your retirement savings account.
When my husband and I had kids, one of the first things we did was to increase our life insurance policies. This brings up another point – have a policy for both spouses. We pay our policies annually and consider them a “gift” for our family.
If you’ve recently lost a job don’t automatically go with COBRA. It’s expensive and you do have other options. Check out individual policies.
If you’re healthy, consider a low monthly premium with a super high deductible. Our individual policy allows us to have 6 doctor visits/year with a $25.00 co-pay. My husband and I have yet to use all of the visits during a calendar year.
Dental insurance – not a good deal – even our dentist said it’s not worth it. If you have good home care (which means you floss daily and brush regularly), pay out of pocket. We also only go to the dentist once-a-year.
Work with your dentist, too. Our dental office will let us skip extra treatments and not see the dentist unless it’s necessary. Having teeth cleaned by a hygienist and not seeing the dentist has proven to be a lot less expensive.
Make a date with your insurance policies and make sure the deductibles are correct and you’re not overpaying. We all need insurance but we don’t have to overpay. Take the time and make sure policies are correct. It can really save in the long run.
Go Gingham related links:
Budgeting and how to track expenses – Part 1
Budgeting and how to track expenses – Part 2
Budgeting and how to track expenses – Part 3
How finances figure in frugality
What does it mean to budget? Find out here!
Why we all need to balance our checkbooks regularly – checking your balance online doesn’t count!
Frugal living secrets: Reducing FAITH (food, apparel, insurance, transportation and housing) costs