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Finding Money In Your Home and Car Insurance

By: Joshua Unseth-- 2010-04-02 1:00 am --

Insurance premiums are not all alike. The truth is, premiums vary widely between companies and even on similar policies within a company. Here are some tips for finding hidden money in your insurance policies:

First, check out the competition. As Progressive and Geico note in their ads, it pays to shop around. Coverage levels and payouts for claims differ and prices for the same coverage vary depending on factors like your age, where you live, the distance of your commute and even your credit score. It can be tough to compare apples to apples with insurance and it pays to get quotes from a number of insurance companies.

Bankrate.com is an independent company providing comparisons of rates on insurance policies and other financial services. You enter information about your home and car(s) and get insurance quotes for either or both together. Remember that many companies offer discounts if you have both insurance policies with them. Bankrate also has informative articles to help you make wise financial decisions and save money.

Next, the biggest insurance saving tip of all: raise your deductibles. You always save money by raising your risk and reducing the risk to the insurance company. Take a hard look at how much you could afford to pay in case of an accident and adjust accordingly.

Finally, check your coverage levels. You may save money by scrutinizing the coverage for your home and car. Many people carry more insurance than they need and are paying more than they should.

For your home:

  • Check replacement coverage. If property values in your area have declined dramatically, the cost to replace your home in case of fire, for instance, may be lower than it once was. This certainly is not true everywhere, but it doesn't hurt to check.
  • If you have added deadbolt locks or a home security system, installed smoke detectors, installed a locked fence, improved drainage on your property, or if the city/county has located a fire department closer to your home, you may qualify for discounts. Be sure to keep your agent informed about improvements to the safety of your property. Check out more tips at MSN Money.

For your car:

  • Check the coverage levels for accidents. With a safe driving record and few accidents, you may not need as much coverage as you have. If your car has no lien against it, you can probably drop collision. Do you want to extra pay in case someone hits your eight-year-old minivan? Weigh what you would do if the vehicle were totaled to see if collision makes sense. Check more tips at Forbes' Investopedia.
  • Keep your agent informed of job changes. If you have been laid off, changed jobs, stopped driving for work or started working from home, your premiums could be reduced based on your reduced commute. Less time driving means less exposure to risk.

Have you lowered your insurance costs? Share your insurance saving tips in the Comments.