Saving money on auto, home insurance
Posted November 19, 2008 6:10 p.m. EST
Updated November 21, 2008 12:03 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — In North Carolina, people pay an average of $596 a year for auto insurance and $644 per year for homeowners insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
While lots of factors go into calculating insurance rates, the key to saving money on insurance is identifying which factorsyou can change.
Experts recommend that before buying a vehicle, think about insurance.
“Most people just look at what the car's gonna cost them and are interested in getting a good price on the car and not so much thinking down the road to, ‘Hey, what's this gonna cost me on insurance?’” said Vince Sorgi, Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina director of education.
Sorgi suggests people call their agent beforehand to get specific rates for the car in which they are interested. In general, the more expensive or sporty the car, the higher the insurance costs.
Another way to keep car insurance down is by not speeding. A ticket for 15 mph over the limit could increase insurance 30 to 40 percent.
People with older vehicles should consider dropping comprehensive and collision coverage. Experts say if the car is worth less than $2,000, drop the coverage
Raising deductibles can also help save money. “A $250 deductible on comp and a $500 on collision are generally your best compromise between deductibles and cost savings,” Sorgi said.
Combing coverage is also helpful. “It’s around 20 percent on each car that you can save by combining cars on one policy with the same company,” Sorgi said.
Homeowners can save by combining their auto and home coverage with the same company and raising their home coverage deductible to $1,000.
“I think a $1,000 deductible is a reasonable amount you should be willing to take on yourself, and save your homeowners policy for the big things,” Sorgi said.
Sorgi suggests only filing claims for catastrophic damage that you just cannot pay for.
“Sure you can turn it in and get paid for it, but you know, the effect on your insurance down the road may be greater,” Sorgi said.
Small claims usually trigger higher rates or can leave you dropped altogether.
Another way to save is by limiting insurance “hazards,” including vicious dog breeds and trampolines. Sorgi said some companies won't even write coverage for them.
Reviewing the value of possessions once a year is also recommended. For example, if something such as a fur, artwork or jewelry is no longer worth what you bought it for, lower or drop the extra coverage you have for it and pocket the difference.
Finally, experts recommend keeping a good credit score. More insurance companies are using credit history to partially determine the cost of coverage.