A good friend of mine told me to today that he envied me. He said that he wishes he could pursue his passions like I have. However, to be honest, I had never thought of the fact that I am one of those lucky people who do get to pursue something that I feel passionately about.
When people think of pursuing passions, I suppose thoughts come to mind such as sailing across the seas, climbing Mount Everest, or motorcycling through Europe. I think that is an over romantification--I just made that work up apparently according to spell check--okay, a romanticized notion of pursuing a passion. You see, we all have to eat and usually this has a cost associated with it. And that cost is usually covered by something we define as work. And yes, I am one of the lucky people who get paid to pursue my passion.
You are probably asking yourself how can selling insurance can be a passion. Well, my real passion is helping people. While I don't operate a food bank or homeless shelter, I do try everyday to make people's lives a little easier by helping them face the risks they have for financial loss in the best way possible. I guess you could shorten that by simply saying, “saving money on their insurance.”
I remember when I decided to go into sales. I was an adjuster handling large liability claims. I had just driven to Pantego, NC to pay a claimant policy limits on their claim. That means I was paying the maximum I could; it was the total amount of coverage that the insured driver had purchased. I showed them the copy of the policy verifying the amount and gave them a check for that amount. Thinking I had done the best for them that I could, they proceeded to cuss me out, and then said they were going to get an attorney and sue. I tried to explain to them that they received all the money available, and the insured driver had died in the accident and really had no estate to go after. However, they continued to curse at me.
Later that day, I went to an agents office. A new client was there exclaiming how appreciative she was that the had saved her $20. I thought..Hmm, maybe I would like sales better. And later in my career I had a chance to become an independent agent which allowed me even more ability to find the best possible options for my clients. That makes me happy.
I say all this to explain how I pursue my passions in life and in my business. Along those lines, I want to share some ways to save money very easily on you insurance. These thing usually work no matter the company.
1. Raise your deductibles. There can be a dramatic effect depending on the circumstances. I recently ran the numbers for a client and showed him he would have saved $2300 over the last 12 years had he had a $1000 deductible on his home owners instead of $250. On auto, I have seen client insist on a $0 deductible on comprehensive even though it may cost them $400 a year to make sure the didn't have to pony up any money in the event of a windshield break.
2. Pay your bills annually and online. Especially with auto, most companies give a discount for paying in full in the area of 7 to 10%. The companies like to get the money up front so they can start investing it and not don't have the expense of billing. And you are more likely to keep your policy for the entire year so they give you an incentive to do so. A win-win for everybody.
I'm always amazed at the number of people who like to come by my office and pay their bill. With the cost of gas, and wear and tear on their car that has got to add $5 to the cost of each payment. Instead, jump online and pay with a credit card you get reward points, save on gas and stamps, and let your money work for you another month. Of course, I do suggest paying your credit card in full and not carrying a balance if at all possible. Which leads me to...
3. Maintain a good credit record. There is a statistical correlation between credit score and number of claims. Almost all companies use credit as a factor in rating. The better your credit the better your rate. This is one of the biggest factors you can control, more incentive to pay all your bills on time!
4. Multi-policy discounts. If you can qualify to have your Home and Auto insurance with the same carrier it is usually the best option. Especially in ENC !
5. Consider the cost of insurance BEFORE making a purchase. I am the one that has to deal with the aftermath when that shiny new car spikes your insurance premium or the big house out in the country costs a lot more than your little house in the city. Call your agent before you make the decisions so you know the total cost.
6. Improve security. Smoke detectors, dead bolt locks, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and security systems can literally save your life and in the process qualify you for more discounts.
7. Have an independent agent. Yeah call me impartial, but it's the truth. If I am doing my job correctly, I'm finding you the best combination of rate and coverage for you and not just selling the one company I work for (sorry captive agent friends!)
8. Check the financial ratings of the insurance company. Just like the companies check your credit, you should check theirs. If a company has a less than stellar rating then they apparently don't have as much money in the bank to pay future claims. If they are selling insurance cheaper yet are rated lower you savings my be only in the short run.
Want more financial advice? Give me a call! As I've stated, I'm passionate about it!