Whether you are purchasing a new home or evaluating your monthly bills it is important that when paying for insurance that you get a rate that will provide the most for your needs while not overpaying for services that you may not need.
Using a Broker verses an Agent
You may find that your insurance broker can provide you quotes from a variety of different companies based on the coverage that you select however some insurance companies like to work directly with the customer so visiting your local insurance office may limit your selection.
Agents that are not brokers work under the name of a specific insurance company. Normally an agent will offer a variety of different services from one company. They may offer home, life, auto and other types of insurance but they are all written by one company.
Brokers offer insurance of as many different types as there are available on the market.. well at least a good broker office will offer every type of insurance including the basic home owner coverages.. Home, Auto, Life.. but they often offer Business Insurance, custom car insurance for classic cars that have a higher then bluebook value…They may also offer insurance from a variety of different large companies that normally setup their own offices.
The choice to use a broker vs an agent is up to you but if you are shopping for the best coverage .. which means the best price and service.. you should consider contacting both Agents and Brokers.
What factors can reduce your insurance costs?
There are many reasons that your insurance could cost you more then your neighbor but when trying to get the best deal there are some things that can reduce your cost without reducing your coverage.
Multiple Coverage within the same company will almost always reduce your costs by hundreds of dollars. If you are getting your home, car and life insurance from three different companies you should think about merging them. If you have more then one car in the family make sure you always use the same company if it is cheaper.
Ask an associate if there are any discounts for security systems including locks or alarms.
Ask about any discounts for people over age 55 or seniors. Almost all companies provide discounts if there are no teens or children in the home.
Ask for different rates based on your deductible. If you are able to take care of some repairs or problems yourself then raising your deductible and buying a CD at your bank to cover that amount is a good idea. Your Bank CD will increase in value over the years and your rates will drop.
If you are changing your roofing material ask your broker if there are any discounts for fire resistant roofing. Depending on where you live you may find that a fire resistant roof will increase the value of your home and reduce your insurance costs.
If you do not have a sump pump in your basement ask your company if installing one would reduce your rates.
In general when you sit down with your agent you want to have a full conversation about all of the materials and add-ons that may increase your home’s value and reduce your costs. Some may be important enough to complete right away while others you may keep in the back of your mind in case you decide to do upgrades later.
If you have been with a company for many years you may find it to your benefit to pay a little more because you know you are being served well. However if you find that your rates are much lower with a company that has the same or better reputation for serving their customers then ask the new company if they will give you any allowance for the number of years that you were with your previous company.. often rates will drop or not increase for older customers then they would for new customers with no history.. so ask if you are getting the same rate a new person with no history would .. and then say well I have been with this other company for many years.. the decision to move to you is partly for price.. can you give me a better deal?
Many companies are willing to give you that deal because they know the number of people in the market is limited.