Submitted by: Michael Newsom
The recent financial crisis has everyone worried about financial security. Despite hard times, only one-quarter of drivers will review their insurance coverage this year. Most don t know how to reduce their costs. We can offer some sound advice to all drivers looking to improve their auto insurance:
Regularly review your policy to make sure that you are getting the combination of coverage, service and price that meets your needs. Consider sitting down and discussing coverage with an independent insurance agent. It is free and can ensure that you are getting the best value possible on your auto policy. It may even keep you and your family safer.
1. Use higher deductibles to lower premiums. Insurance is designed to protect you from major financial losses. How major a $500 loss is depends largely on your income level or savings. Consider the cost-benefit of a higher deductible the amount for which you accept responsibility before the insurer pays anything.
2. Think about limits. Sometimes the cheapest auto insurance isn t the best. Liability coverage protects you in a lawsuit, and uninsured motorist coverage protects you if someone without any or enough insurance injures you. Higher limits can provide significantly better protection for only a few extra dollars per month.
3. Eliminate coverage for damage to your older car. If the annual cost to insure the car itself is more than 10% of the value of the car, you can save by dropping the coverage and carrying liability only. If the car is totaled in an accident you cause, you ll have to replace it yourself, but you ll have the insurance savings to help fund your purchase. Check the values of older cars at www.kbb.com or www.nada.com.
4. Take advantage of discounts. Companies offer many different types of premium discounts. Check with your agent to make sure you are getting the ones you deserve. You can get a discount on your auto insurance if you buy homeowner s or renter s insurance from the same company.
5. Remember that your choices affect the cost of insurance. To reduce your costs: a. Drive defensively. Speeding tickets and accidents can significantly affect your insurance costs. Consider taking a defensive driving course for a discount on your insurance. FMI, visit www.aarp.org/families/driver_safety. b. Improve your credit score. FMI, visit www.equifax.com, www.experian.com or www.transunion.com. c. Buy a safer car. FMI, visit www.carsafety.org. d. Buy a car with a lower average repair cost. Your mechanic may have helpful suggestions. e. Reduce the risk of theft. FMI, visit www.nicb.org.
6. Use a Trusted Choice agent. A Trusted Choice agent sells insurance for many different companies, and can save you time and money by finding a insurance company that offers the combination of coverage and service you need at a price that fits your budget.
W.J. Wheeler & Company, a Trusted Choice agency, has been offering personal and commercial insurance to clients in Western Maine since 1864 with offices in South Paris and Bethel. Visit www.wjwheeler.com or call 743-8927 or 824-2580.
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