Top Ways To Keep Auto Insurance Cost Down

As an Insurance agent, I am always asked “how do I keep my auto insurance cost down”? In this article, I am going to share some ways and tips on how to do this. Some of them are obvious as not get speeding tickets, while others such as your credit score, not so much.

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-Avoid getting moving violations

This is probably the most obvious one. Don’t speed, don’t run stop signs and drive safe. This not only affects your pocket book, but also your personal safety. Over 30,000 people die each year in car accidents. Also, I have seen 2 point defective vehicle tickets drive insurance cost up. Insurance companies look back anywhere from 3 to 5 years on your driving record. I’ll also warn you that DUI’s and other serious violations turn you life upside down and you will double your auto insurance rate.

-Maintain a healthy credit Score

Studies have proven that people with good or high credit scores are less of a risk for insurance companies. They file less claims, are at less risk to get into accidents and pay their bills on time. Overall, a better credit score equals better premiums.

-Take advantage of ALL the insurance companies discounts

Auto insurance companies offer all kinds of discounts. Multi-car, Multi-driver, Multi-policy, good student, owning a home, accident free, college degree, electronic payment, paperless and many more. Make sure you talk to you agent and that you take advantage of all the discounts offered.

-Carry higher deductibles

If you have a brand new, 50,000 vehicle you just drove off the lot, you might want to consider carrying a higher deductible for your Comp and Collision. On a vehicle with that much value, I would personally carry no lower then a 1000 dollar deductible. Over a 2 year period, you could save hundreds of dollars if not more.

-Avoid filing claims

Claims drive up insurance costs. This comes down to safe driving. Drive smart, don’t run red lights, stop at stop signs and quit tail gate-ting the driver ahead of you.

Also, if you have a $500 deductible and back up into a pole and acquire 700 dollars of damage to your car, it might be best to pay that extra $200 out of pocket. The cost of your insurance going to after the claim, may be more costly then the $200. In the case where a lot of damage occurs, file a claim.

-Decrease you liability limits & Reject Uninsured/Under insured Motorist.

Only in extreme cases would I recommend this. Overall, I don’t recommend this at all. If get into an accident, these are the most important coverage’s on your policy. You can live with a higher deductible, but you can’t live with either yourself or someone else’s 100,000 dollar hospital bill. By the way, if you run into an agent or company that recommends this, you should ask yourself if you should be doing business with them in the first place.

-Do you need Med Pay?

If you have a good health insurance plan, you most likely don’t need this coverage. Though the cost to carry med pay is not very much. I have very few clients who reject this coverage due to cost.

Overall, I have provided a basic plan on how to keep your auto insurance cost down. My final point is to shop around on your insurance. If you have a broker or agent you really like, ask them to do an insurance review.

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How 10,000 People a Month Is Affecting Insurance Prices

According to an article published by the Denver Post, about 8000 to 10,000 people are moving to metro Denver each month. People have discovered our hidden secret of a great city, our beautiful mountains and our great people and culture. There are unintended consequences to this, such as more traffic, soaring housing and rent prices and property and casualty rising insurance prices.

A lot of people have been opening up there renewals lately and have noticed that there insurance has gone up. Some have noticed up to a 25 percent increase in their auto insurance and a substantial increase on their home insurance. Now the question is why?

There is a very simple answer to this. The more people in one area, the more traffic and more car accidents. In insurance terms, this means more losses for the insurance companies. Especially the Casualty side of it. (Auto and commercial insurance).Like I mentioned earlier, some have seen a 25 percent increase..

The big factor in why home insurance has gone up, is due to property values shooting through the roof. This has not only been for regular homeowners, but for condo associations, apartment complex’s and some commercial properties. A home that was $150,000 in 2010 is now selling for 225,000. Its going to cost more to insure.

Overall, I hope I have given you a better understanding of how a growth in population will affect you auto, home and commercial insurance prices. At the end of the day, the insurance company passes its cost down to the consumer.

How to Choose The Right Contractor After An Insurance Claim

Choosing the right contractor after a claim can be tough. So in this blog I am going to discuss  how to locate the right contractor, and how to deal with the contractor during the process of the project. My standpoint and advice is coming directly from my knowledge and experience as an insurance agent.

First you need to find the right contractor. This can be done in many ways;  through the internet, recommendation from a friend, a door knocker and etc. Recommendations directly from your insurance company are not always the best. The contractors tend to favor the insurance companies and what they want to do, versus working solely for you. If you have an insurance broker or agent recommending a contracting company, they will generally work in the client’s favor.  (Brokers & agents need to keep their clients happy if they wish to retain business) I personally have a couple of contractors I recommend.

Be very careful about door knockers (solicitors that come in after a catastrophe, such as a wildfire or bad hail store.) Though not all cases but most likely, these are illegitimate people  who take your money and jump state.  Be very careful of contractors  from out-of-state.

Once you have found a contractor who you like, check them  out. See if he or she is  accredited with the BBB, or the Chamber of Commerce. Look on the internet for reviews(be careful sometimes they can be fake), see how long they have been in business, ask for recommendations and ask to see recent jobs they have completed  (not pictures of work but an actual address you can go see and look a completed project).  Also ask for a list of suppliers. Suppliers will be able to tell you how good and reputable a contractor is.

Now you have done your research and you have decided that the contractors are worthy of completing work for you. Now they are going to ask for you to both sign a contract. First of all, read everything in the contract. DON’T EVER SIGN ANYTHING UNLESS YOU HAVE READ IT AND UNDERSTAND IT! Make sure everything is under your conditions and the circumstance you want. Make sure there is also a grace period for you to back out without  stipulations. Don’t ever sign a contract that is incomplete or blank. Make sure you get an exact copy of what you sign.

Next the contractor is going to ask for money down or half down. My advice is NEVER  GIVE A CONTRACTOR ANY MONEY UNTIL THE PROJECT IS COMPLETE. If they can’t complete a job without any money down, then they are not a real contractor. A good contractor can get any job done, without any money down or up front cost.

Before a contractor shows up to any job site, make sure you get the following from he or she. A Certificate of Insurance, this should include general liability with a minimum one million in liability, workman’s comp, and commercial auto insurance with at least a half million dollar liability limit. Do not directly accept the certificate from the contractor. Get it directly from the insurance company or agent. They are too easy to fake. If you feel wary about the certificate call the company or agency. Make sure that the contractor has also pulled a permit through the proper authorities. Also, NEVER sign for any materials that gets delivered to the job site.  Once you sign for any materials, you are now responsible for them.  If they can’t deliver with supplies without a signature, then tell them you will find another contractor.

Finally your project is done and now the contractor is asking for his money. Make sure you do/get three things. Make sure you inspect the job and it meets your standards. Get the final inspection report from the proper authorities from which the permit was granted. Make sure that their report is satisfactory.  Finally make sure you get a signed lien waiver from the contractor.  Now you can pay them.