Buying Insurance This Summer? Check These Tips Before Your Cut Any Checks

brianoconnell

Yes, the COVID lockdowns have been tough to take and yes, few Americans want a second-phase pandemic sequel this summer.

Among the silver linings of being home for so many months is that Main Street Americans have spent more time on financial planning, and are mulling over some big household finance changes this summer.

One area of change is in the consumer insurance sector - think life, health, auto, homeowners and renters, and small business insurance. With time to reflect, financial consumers are showing signs of changing teams and purchasing new insurance policies.

If you're on Team Refresh, consumer insurance-wise, and you're buying a new policy (or two) this summer, California-based Financial Partners Credit Union is sharing some helpful insurance tips for drivers and homeowners looking to buy new policies in the upcoming months.

See if the FPCU's tips help you make better household insurance purchases this summer.

Rule #1: Shop Smart. Price is an important factor for your budget; however, your monthly payment or annual cost should not be the determining factor when it comes to insurance. First, look at what your lender requires as your baseline. For example: what is the maximum allowable deductible? What are the minimum coverages? 

Then, assess how you may want to add-on to those requirements based on your personal needs. Working with an insurance agent can help you ensure you have the proper coverages.

Rule #2: Avoid Monthly Payments if Possible. While it’s certainly budget-friendly to take the monthly payment option when it comes to premium payments, you can save when you pay quarterly, every six months, or annually if you’re able. 

You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your coverage is secure, and you can save a few hundred dollars or even more in the process.

Rule #3: Look for Deductions. With auto, renters, and homeowners insurance, you can qualify for deductions based on some “hacks” like having a surveillance system installed in your home, having a tracking device on your car, or other tactics that can save you money and provide added security. 

Also, if you keep your car in a garage at night instead of parking on the street - you can save! There are many little hacks to save money that a qualified professional can help you determine.

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Rule #4: Never Let Coverage Lapse. If money is tight - as it may be considering the current economic climate - it’s important NOT to let your insurance coverage lapse. If your policy falls behind, the insurance company may cancel your coverage which not only puts you at risk but also could mean a higher premium when you re-apply. 

Additionally, many lenders will “buy insurance coverage on your behalf,” which gets added to your auto or home loan. “If you’re having trouble making insurance payments, it’s important to reach out to your insurance agent right away to discuss ways to avoid cancellation,” Osorio says. “We’re here to assist and often can help determine strategies to help you maintain coverage.”

Rule #5: Re-Evaluate Your Insurance Annually. Circumstances change so it’s important to look at your insurance coverage regularly to make sure it still meets your needs and that you are getting the best coverage for the money. 

Additionally, an annual review helps you plan for potential issues. For example, if you know you will be adding a teen to your auto policy, you may want to talk to your insurance agent in advance to determine the best policy adjustments.