Want Lower Premiums? Look to Your Own Insurance Agent


Want Lower Premiums? Look to Your Own Agent

When searching for ways to lower insurance premiums, you don’t have to look very far. By going over your policy and goals with your agent, you can find ways to save on your current policy. Here are three ways to get lower rates on your current policy.

Cut extra fees Ask if you’re paying extra for such conveniences as monthly installment fees. If you pay your premium monthly, virtually every insurance carrier will charge you an installment fee of up to $5 a month. By paying your premiums in full, or as much as possible over a couple of months, installment fees will be lower or removed completely (when paid in full). Setting up an electronic funds transfer (EFT) from your bank account can reduce or eliminate fees as well. Some carriers also provide “paperless discounts,” easily obtained by agreeing to have all your policy documents sent electronically.

Improve your credit Credit ratings are significant factors when calculating premiums. Some companies have become so strict with this they’ll sometimes refuse to write a policy for someone with poor credit, and existing policyholders may see premium increases at renewal or even policy cancellation notices for a worsened credit rating. The takeaway: improving your credit can help lower your rate.

Avoid making small claims You don’t necessarily have to make a claim for minor damage. For example, if your rear-view mirror breaks, instead of filing a comprehensive claim, you could absorb the cost yourself. Most claims, regardless of size, will affect premiums for three to five years, and claims history plays a big role in premium calculations. As well, once you’ve paid the deductible, you may end up paying more in higher premiums than by covering it yourself.

Go For the Win-Win By working with your current insurance professional, you can avoid the disruption and frustration of looking around and reduce your premiums – a win-win.


This Month’s Smile: Medical Miscommunication

They say laughter is the best medicine, and sometimes that comes from innocent medical miscommunication. Take, for instance, the elderly woman whose allergies were printed on her medical wristband. Later that day, the woman’s son called and complained that his mother had been labelled “bananas.” Nurses face another sort of communication problem: Excuses from patients and colleagues. The most common excuse for missing a long-postponed appointment is a grandmother’s death. As one nurse confided, “This was (the patient’s) sixth grandmother to die within two months.” Interestingly, they also hear an equal number of excuses from doctors, who are usually stuck “on a boat” in the middle of nowhere and therefore can’t make rounds.

Protect Your Child from Hazards in the Kitchen

If you have toddlers, it’s hard to imagine a more dangerous area of your home than the kitchen. Knives, stovetops, and potential toxins all pose hazards to your kids, who can and will want to touch. If you have a small child entering a particularly “grabby” phase, try these tips to childproof your kitchen.

Move things out of reach Cleaning supplies, glassware, and knives should all be stored where small children can’t reach or climb to them. Don’t leave glasses on counters where they can be knocked over; store bleach and other household cleaners in a locked cabinet, and leave knives in a drawer that can be locked.

Cover knobs and outlets Kids can easily stand on tippy-toe to turn oven knobs and dials, or sit on the ground and play with electrical outlets. Purchase plastic knob and outlet covers to prevent disasters.

Lock the fridge A curious little one may be inclined to open the fridge to root around for a snack. Protect their tummies, your food, and the floor by using a fridge guard to keep it closed when you’re not looking.

Ditch the linens Tablecloths and runners are just begging to be yanked by a chubby little hand. Get rid of them entirely to protect your child’s head (plus your nice dishes and glassware).

Change habits Not every safety tip is a matter of hiding, installing, or removing; being mindful of your own behavior in the kitchen is important. Use the dishwasher at night while children are asleep, so they won’t unlock the door and scald themselves.

Give them Alternatives Take pressure off yourself and your little ones by giving them something to play with when you’re in the kitchen. Why not store your plastic storage bins and containers in a low unlocked cabinet? They’ll spend hours building and knocking down the containers. And avoid other, more dangerous, playthings.


How to Save Money on Auto Insurance by Driving Less

Auto insurance. Repair. Maintenance. Taxes. Gas: Owning a car is expensive. Carpooling, using public transportation, walking, or biking can help save money. But if you don’t have those options, rarely drive, and want to save money, then what? If you work from home, are retired, only drive occasionally, or have one pleasure vehicle you only take out on weekends, your best bet is still auto insurance. How is that possible? Ask your agent about the following options:

“Pay-as-you-drive” (PAYD) policies Many insurers now offer PAYD policies. This involves the addition of a device, easily installed below your steering wheel, that records how much you drive, when and where you drive, and your driving habits, such as the way you brake and accelerate. The insurance carrier calculates an amount monthly, and you simply pay for what you use. Even if you don’t like feeling as though you’re being “tracked,” consider the savings – some see premium reductions of up to 30 percent.

How is your vehicles rated? On your insurance policy, your vehicle will be rated as “pleasure” or “work.” If you commute daily to work or school, your vehicle will be rated as “work”. If you’re retired, work from home, or drive only on weekends, it should be rated as a “pleasure” vehicle. If your car has been rated as work and is now pleasure, there could be a fairly significant drop in premiums, since the likelihood of having an accident is reduced when you spend less time on the road. Check it out.