Auto and homeowners’ insurance rates are on the rise and sadly, EVERY carrier is taking increases at this time. I’ve provided an explanation for the increases below.
RISING CAR COSTS
Cars are becoming more expensive to repair, in part because replacement parts are becoming difficult to find due to supply shortages. The lack of availability for used and new cars has also increased the typical market value for many cars, which means insurance companies are paying out higher amounts for claims across the board.
Severe storms and hurricanes cause a rise in car insurance claims from cars that are flooded, damaged, or destroyed.
RISING CONSTRUCTION COSTS
With the rise in construction costs, many carriers have increased your dwelling coverage to offset the increase, resulting in a higher premium to the homeowner.
And of course, the number one reason, inflation.
How can I save money or soften the blow???
COMPARE AUTO AND HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE QUOTES
Make sure you are matching coverage’s to your existing policy! You do not want to find out at the time of a claim that you lost coverage for a lower rate.
COMBINE YOUR HOME AND AUTO INSURANCE
When reviewing rates, always review the total package (i.e. home and auto). Often, carriers will have a better rate on one product opposed to the other. I suggest reviewing the total package to determine the best scenario. Carriers will also provide 15-25% discount per product line (i.e. 15% discount on the auto and 25% on the home) for combining.
ADJUST YOUR COVERAGE
Consider a higher deductible. Most people now have a $500 deductible on the auto and $1,000 deductible on the home. Ask to have your home’s replacement cost recalculated. Each year carriers increase the dwelling coverage to protect against inflation. This year the increases to the dwelling coverage have been significant.
LOOK FOR DISCOUNTS
Almost all auto insurance companies will provide a discount for allowing the carrier to track your driving habits. Now you can download an app on your phone. The app will track things like hard stopping, accelerating too quickly, and speeding.
Consider switching to usage-based coverage. Many auto carriers now offer plans based on the miles driven.
Many carriers offer discounts for paying in full, some as high as 18%! Carriers also provide discounts for multiple vehicles and multiple policies. If your policies are split among multiple carriers, it may be time to look at combining them all with one.
Whether we want to admit it or not, accidents do happen, and you should know what to do in the event of a claim. Many people react at the first site and immediately file the claim. Only to be aggravated later when the claim is not covered, or the claim does not outweigh the deductible. What you may not realize, once you file a claim (whether the carrier pays out or not), the claim will remain on your record for 5 years. While the impact is not huge for a $0 claim, it can affect your rate with a new carrier or the new carrier could deny coverage due to the number of $0 claims.
1. Assess the damage.
Home: Walk the property and take pictures of the damage.
Auto: Walk around the car, be sure to look underneath the vehicle and take pictures. It is important to take pictures of both vehicles, the location of the accident, etc. Often the police will not come out for a minor accident. You need to have evidence to determine which driver is at fault.
If the police do not indicate fault on a report, it is up to the insurance carrier to determine fault. This becomes your word against the other driver!
2. Swap information *This is only related to an auto claim*
Get the other driver’s name, phone number, and picture of their insurance card. This is helpful during the claims process. If the other driver is at fault, file the claim with their company. If you are not at fault and you file with your own, you will pay your deductible. You will get this back, however it can take MONTHS if the other driver has a substandard carrier.
3. Know your deductible!! It only adds more time to your repair if you file the claim, wait for the adjuster to come out and obtain your assessment only to find out the damage is less than your deductible. It also means the claim will be on your record for 5 years.
4. Contact service professionals for a bid to determine if the damage outweighs your deductible. Do your homework. If the claim is less than your deductible and the claim is filed with the carrier, it will be on your record for 5 years. I have had clients denied coverage by other carriers due to too many small claims.
5. Mitigate the damage. Once pictures have been taken it is safe to clean up the area. You want to do this so the damage does not become worse.
6. Consult your agent with any questions or issues. Many assume we are alerted every time someone files a claim, but we are NOT. Your agent can help set expectations, obtain answers, and fight if need be.
*Please note, this is only for small claims. If it is a large claim (i.e. fire, major roof damage, etc.) call immediately to get the process started. The carrier will provide you immediate relief funds to stay somewhere safe!