There are lots of costs in life we would rather pass on. Most of these things fall under the category of insurance. Life insurance, homeowner’s insurance, business insurance, auto insurance, renter’s insurance, health insurance: they are all things that we pay a premium for and hope that we will never ever have to use (well, except for life insurance; so far skipping death hasn’t been doable).
This makes a lot of us opt, almost across the board, for the cheapest policies available. Paying as little as possible takes the sting out of having to pay for this (hopefully) non-usable thing a little bit. Unfortunately, this is the wrong way to go. When you buy bargain basement policies you set yourself up for future financial disaster. Why? Because the bargain basement insurers are great at finding loopholes and technicalities that get them out of having to pay out on your policy at all. With a bargain basement policy you are literally paying for something you won’t get to use and isn’t that that’s worse than hoping that you won’t need it?
We don’t mean to say, though, that you should fork over all of your cash for the most expensive policies either. Just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it is necessarily better. No, what you have to do is look for the right policy for the right price. Here is how you do that.
Do Your Research
At this stage in the game, you need to learn everything you can about what this particular type of insurance policy actually does. You need to learn the lingo. For example, “deductible” is the amount of money you can expect to pay out of pocket before your insurance policy kicks in and covers everything else. You’ll also want to look at coverage terminology, as well as the basic laws of insurance and insurance coverage in your state. The more you know about what insurance is, the language it uses and how it is governed in your state, the better able you will be to pick a policy that will actually work for you…and the less likely you will be to get taken advantage of by an insurance company.
Reduce Your Costs
The type of car you drive plays a large role in the amount of money you will pay for an insurance policy. Newer cars, cars that have safety issues, etc. are more expensive to insure. The more expensive your belongings, the more your home or renter’s insurance policy will cost. Now, nobody is going to tell you to trade your car in for an older model or to get rid of family heirlooms. If you’re in the market for a new car, though, consider an electric and super safe model. Consider keeping smaller expensive and important items in a safety deposit box instead of in your closet.
Look for ways to reduce the amount of coverage you need where you can. For example, if you’re shopping for a homeowner’s policy, consider installing a security system. It will cost more now, but you could make up that cost in insurance savings.
Once you know how to read and compare policies and you know the value of what you’re covering, it is time to go shopping. Take your time here. Compare the details and price of each car insurance policy. Which companies give you a better value for your dollar? Which policies will actually cover you and pay out when you need them?
Whenever possible, do your research and shopping around with real people. Talk to or, even better, meet with actual agents in person. Get each quote in writing. This way, if you decide to buy, they can’t unexpectedly charge you more than you had talked about in your initial consultation. Written quotes also give you leverage when shopping for a policy. Most insurance companies want your business and are willing to price match to get it. If you can provide written proof that the same coverage costs less with another agent, you might be able to negotiate a cheaper rate.
The point is that you don’t have to settle for terrible coverage or ridiculously high prices. When you do your homework and you take steps to reduce the amount of coverage you’ll need (where applicable), there is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to get the perfect amount of coverage for the perfect price.
Have you recently found a hack that will allow you to reduce the cost of those expensive necessities in life (the kind you don’t want to buy but can’t go without)? Share your advice in the comments!