Mistakes happen. The benefit of mistakes is the ability to learn from them. It may be cliché, but the fastest way to save money on your insurance is to stop making the mistakes I see so many of our clients making.
Insurance Mistake #1: Reducing or Removing Coverage
Times are tough, and people are looking to save money. However, lowering or removing coverage may not be the answer and can be a dangerous proposition. You need to look at your net worth and consider unexpected catastrophes that could result in exorbitant out-of-pocket costs—such as a personal injury lawsuit, a professional negligence lawsuit, or property damage as a result of a covered peril.
Insurance Mistake #2: Changing Agents
We appreciate loyalty. Dealing with clients who understand the work that goes into protecting their financial affairs makes our jobs rewarding and meaningful. Again, we understand the difficulties the economy has created for many people. However, if your agent hasn’t made a mistake, give him or her a chance to improve your insurance portfolio, whether it’s with the price or the amount of coverage, before you move your account. A lower premium doesn’t always mean the coverage is the same or better. Shopping for price could cost you dearly by diminishing the value of the policy and the good service to which you are accustomed.
Insurance Mistake #3: Not Paying the Premium
I hate the phone calls from customers who are angry because their policy has been cancelled. Frustration is warranted if the insurance company has misdirected the funds or the agent has failed to submit a payment. However, it is a different story when the customer fails to pay the premium. Most agents will provide an invoice, sometimes a late notice, and definitely a cancellation, sent to the address of record. Late payments, or forgetting to make a payment, will put you at risk of getting your policy cancelled, and it’s a waste of time for both you and the agent to straighten out your policy.
Insurance Mistake #4: Not Calling the Police
When you’re in an accident, call the police. Period. Don’t settle for an agreement from the other driver to pay for damages. The other driver may be trying to avoid another accident on his or her record and potential increased insurance rates. One of our clients trusted the other driver to his word that he would repair the damages to her car. When the estimate was presented, the other driver thought it was too much money and wouldn’t pay. This happened a few weeks after the accident, and the insurance company refused to pay the claim because it wasn’t submitted within the appropriate time frame.
Insurance Mistake #5: Procrastinating
This is one of my favorites. Yes, we’re all busy, and we want to think nothing bad will ever happen to us. However, procrastinating is not a viable strategy, especially when it comes to your insurance. Sometimes insurance is required, and you’re forced to buy it in order to have that great car or great house. But what about the insurance you’re not required to buy, like life insurance or disability insurance? Don’t procrastinate. In case of an emergency, you’re going to be pretty happy to receive a check instead of having to liquidate your savings or retirement fund to pay the bills.
It’s one thing for me to wait until the last minute to meet my deadline to write this blog. Don’t procrastinate on your priorities; learn from my clients’ mistakes and make sure you have the best insurance portfolio for the best price.
Linda Rey is a licensed insurance agent at Rey Insurance with a broad spectrum of expertise in life, accident, health, property and casualty insurance as well as retirement planning and college funding strategies.
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