Be Like Me And Get Quotes To Save On Insurance

Insurance is one of those things that you have to have, but don’t want to use.  Paying for it is no fun, that’s for sure.  We are well covered (we think) but were recently able to save on insurance.

One Company

We use one company for our home and auto insurance needs.  We’ve also had an umbrella policy that provides additional coverage across both policies.  Bundling all of our insurance seems to be a good way to save money.

For years, we’ve been with Allstate.  I started off with them when I graduated college and needed auto insurance.  I’ve been pretty satisfied.  When I did have some claims, I never had a problem with the process.  All seemed pretty well.

Now and then, along the way, I’ve had to question their pricing.  This usually came after premium increases that I thought were excessive.  In the past, they were usually able to work with me to keep the increases to a reasonable level.

Unfortunately, with our latest premium increase, they were not able to meet this standard.  Our auto coverage renews every six months.  When I got our last renewal notice, I was flabbergasted to see that our rates were going up 10%.  That’s unreal, especially since we’ve not filed a claim in at least ten years!

I contacted our agent and this time they were unable to do anything.

Time To Shop Around

I haven’t been all that diligent about shopping around in the past.  This time, I was bound and determined to get new quotes to see if I could save on insurance.

As it turns out, I wouldn’t have to look too far!

I looked for quotes from four different sources:

  1. Geico – I did an online request.  Unfortunately, for some reason, they wouldn’t give me a quote online.  I thought the process was supposed to be easy.  So, I decided to move on.
  2. Citizens – My aunt recommended an agent that represents multiple carriers.  I contacted the agent and she ran numbers across different companies.  Citizens came across with savings of about 15%.
  3. Auto Owners – I did some online research and saw that Auto Owners typically had good prices in Michigan.  The agency that my aunt recommended also works with them, so I asked for a quote. Surprisingly, the price was practically the same as we were paying with Allstate.
  4. AAA – We are members of the roadside assistance offered by AAA.  They’re the largest around and since we travel all over the state, we like knowing we’re likely to be covered wherever we go.  We requested quotes from AAA, and they came in the cheapest.  We’re saving nearly 20%!

So, we are now AAA members.

Things To Look For To Save On Insurance

I learned a few things during the process.

  1. Get multiple quotes. As I found out with the Auto Owners quote, the carriers rated the cheapest may not be the cheapest for you.  Imagine if I had gotten their quote and not went further.  I figure it’s good to get at least three.
  2. Validate coverage limits.Every policy and quote lists things slightly differently.  As such, I had to do some
    image from Morguefile courtesy of finance

    digging and spend some time making sure that the quotes contained equal coverage.

  3. Consider payment terms. With Allstate, we were paying our auto premiums every six months, and our homeowners and umbrella annually.  This provided the cheapest costs.  With AAA, we are actually in a more favorable payment scenario.  We still pay our auto premiums every six months and umbrella annually, but our homeowners payments come out monthly.  This allows us to spread the payments out over the course of a year, keeping money in our pocket.  Citizens actually required us to pay everything annually to get the best price.  This would have been a pretty big up front payment!
  4. Look around more often.  I got complacent.  I admit it.  Looking at the fact that we got such a considerable discount by switching, it probably should have happened sooner.  I now plan to review our coverage every year or two. Shop it around.  Even if your rates don’t go up, you might still find better terms.

Switching insurance was a pretty easy process.  The best news is that it will keep a few hundred extra dollars in our pocket per year.  That’s definitely great news for us.

Readers, how often do you check up on your insurance costs?  Have you made the switch lately?

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Types of Life Insurance that do not Require an Exam

When you’re shopping for life insurance, there are dozens of different factors that you’ll need to consider to ensure that you’re getting the best plan possible. Life insurance is the most important safety net that you can ever buy for your loved ones. It’s one of the few ways that you can ensure that your family has the money that they need, regardless of what happens to you.

One of the biggest parts of a life insurance policy is the medical exam. It plays a major role in how the insurance company views you and how much they are going to charge you for protection. There are a lot of people that want to skip the medical exam. For whatever reason, these people don’t want to go through the hassle of taking the exam, luckily, there are several options for life insurance without the exam.

Buying Life Insurance Online

One popular way of getting life insurance is to purchase a plan online. Several insurance companies have started operated entirely online. Instead of having to talk to an agent on the phone and take the medical exam, you can purchase life insurance online. All that you have to do is answer some health questions, fill out the forms, the then it will all be sent through their medical underwriting.

Companies like Haven Life have specialized this type of coverage, are able to offer life insurance policies up to $1 million, and are dedicated to giving their clients quality life insurance at an affordable rate, without having to take the medical exam.

Guaranteed issue

As you can probably guess from the name guaranteed issue plans are guaranteed acceptance, which means that regardless of your health or any complications, you can get approved for insurance. With these plans, all that you will have to do is give them your age, gender, zip code, and a payment. After that, you’ll have life insurance coverage.

The two main problems with these plans are that they are expensive and you probably can’t get enough life insurance. You’re going to pay more for your insurance coverage because the insurance company doesn’t get any information about your health. Additionally, you can only get around $25,000 worth of insurance. For most families, that isn’t going to be enough insurance protection.

Also, most guaranteed life insurance plans are going to be graded death benefit. That means for the first two years of the plan, if something were to happen to you, your family wouldn’t get the full payout of the plan. Instead, they would only get a portion of them. With most guaranteed issue plans, for the first year your family would only get 50% of the face value of the plan, and for the second year, you’ll get around 80%.

Simplified Issue

Simplified issue life insurance is a great way to get life insurance without having to take the medical exam. You don’t have to take the exam, but you are going to have to answer a lot of health questions. They are going to ask you dozens and dozens of questions about your health. Additionally, they are going to look at your prescription drug history, MIB records, and your DMV records. Unlike some other type of no exam plans, with a simplified issue plan, you’ll be able to get more coverage. Most companies will give you around $500,000 worth of protection.

Employer-Sponsored Life Insurance

There are a lot of employers that offer life insurance as an incentive. With these plans, the employer pays the premiums for the insurance policy. Free life insurance? Sounds great, right? There are a couple of problems with employer-sponsored life insurance policies that you should be aware of. The main problem with these plans is that they are often minimal. The majority of companies offer plans that are the size of your annual income. These insurance plans are a nice way to get additional coverage, but they shouldn’t be your main source of life insurance.

You don’t have to take a medical exam, and you don’t have to pay the premiums. It’s a great incentive, but it could leave your family with additional bills and expenses.

Life Insurance with No Exam

Life insurance is one of the best purchases that you’ll ever make for your loved ones, but a lot of people want to avoid taking the medical exam. There are several options for getting life insurance without the exam, and it’s important that you find the one that’s best for you and your loved ones.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

How Much Would You Replace If You Lost Everything?

Post revision: I wrote this post after seeing images of the horrifying wildfires in California.  This prompted me to think about what would happen in a similar event.  It turns out that someone in the personal finance community was right there.  They were safe but lost everything.  There’s actually a few different posts tied to this topic.  I’m honored to be among them.  See the bottom of the post for the ‘Chain Gang’ on this topic.  

There have been a lot of disasters around the world lately.  Earthquakes.  Hurricanes.  Wild fires.  In each of those tragic situations, many have lost everything.

I live in Michigan.  Many would never consider this a great destination.  Summers are beautiful but short. Because it’s practically surrounded by water, winters are often gray and slushy.

But one thing we have going for us is that we’re not a big target for any natural disasters.

  • Earthquakes – We’re not on or near any known major fault lines.
  • Hurricanes – We’re nowhere near a coastal line.  We might get a day or two of rain a few days after a hurricane fizzles out.
  • Tornadoes – While we’ve had some bad tornadoes, they’re generally not an ongoing, serious threat.
  • Wildfires – We do have a lot of trees here.  There have been instances of fires, of course, but we get enough rain to generally keep things moist enough.  Our worst droughts don’t hold a candle to anything out in California.  Another good benefit from being nearly surrounded by water, I suppose.

What If We Lost Everything?

But it still got me thinking, what happens when you lose everything?  The latest tragedy on the news is the Northern California wildfires.  The images on TV show fire taking out entire neighborhoods.  In many cases, not a thing is left standing.  There is absolutely nothing to save.

So what would you do if that happens to you?

Pretend you have something come in and take out your home and everything inside.  In the scenario, everyone comes out safe, but your stuff?  Gone.  All of it.

So, once you settle with the insurance company, what do you replace?

Nobody will put their house back together exactly as it was.  There’s no way anybody replaces things item for item.  It just doesn’t happen.

What Percentage Of Items Would You Replace?

It got me thinking.  If you lost everything, what percentage of items would you actually replace?

I don’t know if I can have a hard number, but it’s definitely less than 100%.  Let’s think about a few things.

House

Most people will end up replacing their house.  But in some cases, you might not.  You might not rebuild.  You could sell the lot and buy another home.  Even if you did build a home, it would likely be different.  For one, everything will be new.  You might have a different layout.  You’ll choose different finishes and fixtures.

Clothes

If you lost everything, you’d need a new wardrobe.  But would you replace, piece by piece, what you had?  I know I wouldn’t.  I’d probably start off with a much smaller wardrobe to begin.  Think of your current clothes in three tiers: New, Good, Near The End.  New items would likely be replaced, as would some good items.  But right now, you probably have a lot of items that you keep but don’t wear often.  Maybe they’re near the end of their life. Perhaps they’re more reminders of something.  In any case, with shirts, pants, shorts, etc. I can almost guarantee I would have less than I do now.

Kids Stuff

We have a lot of stuff from when the kids were babies or younger than they are now.  Some we keep in case anyone else might need it.  Other items we just haven’t gone through yet.  We’ve got a whole lot of toys that can be sold or donated.  The kids would need to replace stuff they use today, but that’s it.

Bedding and Towels

Let’s face it.  When you replace bed sheets or your towels, you probably keep the old ones.  You stick them aside in case you need them for guests or emergencies.  While you’d need to replace what you use, there’s stuff you don’t that you’d skip.

Holiday Stuff

I know for a fact we wouldn’t replace all of our Christmas stuff.  One of the things I have is a Christmas village. I’ve built up the collection for years.  I love it and put it out every year.  But if we lost everything, I’m not sure I would instantly replace it.  Since many of the items were gifts, or bought at special times, replacing the whole thing piece for piece wouldn’t be the same.

Heirlooms and Other Irreplaceable Items

We’ve got some items that were passed along from family.  You simply couldn’t replace the item.  Even if you did find that exact same china set, it’s not the one your grandmother picked out and used.  The same goes with pictures (pre-digital era) and other treasures.

What Does This Mean?

Thinking about this gives me a few takeaways:

  1. I need an updated digital inventory. It’s hard to imagine going through and documenting things by the item.  But a video walkthrough would let you see much of what you lost.  This would help for insurance purposes.  It’d also help you create a list of items to replace.
  2. There’s a lot of excess. If you could live without something after you lost it, could you now?  I wouldn’t get rid of the heirlooms.  But, chances are you’re sitting on a lot of items that you wouldn’t miss.  Maybe now is your chance to reduce some clutter.
  3. It’s hard to imagine.   You live with the stuff you have.  You spend hours buying it, cleaning it, keeping it.  To imagine not having any of it is pretty hard, isn’t it?
  4. It reminds you of what’s important.  As hard as it is imagining life without your items, it’s just stuff.  I know that if something bad did happen, none of it would matter.  My wife and my kids.  That would be my list of what I’d need.  It would suck to lose everything else.  But even if you did lose everything else, guess what?  Life could still get back to normal one day.

The Chain Gang

Here are other posts.  Please give them a read.

Anchor Post: DadsDollarsDebt – Tubb’s Fire – A Sudden Evacuation19
Co-Anchor: Chief Mom Officer – A Harrowing Escape Inspires The Personal Finance Community – Beyond The Emergency Fund5
1: OthalaFehu – Cool As A Cucumber2
2: The Retirement Manifesto – Am I A Prepper?1
3: Mrs. Retire to Roots – In Case Of Emergency Follow The Plan
4: The Lady In Black – Emergency Preparedness1
5: The Green Swan – Preparing For The Worst1
6: Minafi – Minimal Hurricane Preparation3
7: A Gai Shan Life – Earthquake and disaster preparedness1
8: The Financial Journeyman – Emergency Preparation: Be Proactive1
9: John And Jane Doe – Thinking the Worst: Emergency Planning or Fighting the Last War?
10: Adventure Rich – Emergency Preparation Up North
11: Money Beagle – How Much Would You Replace If You Lost Everything?
12: Crispy Doc – Fighting Fire With FI/RE1
13: She Picks Up Pennies – How Can A Planner Be Unprepared?
14: Chronicles Of A Father-Getting Ready for a Natural Disaster
15: Rogue Dad MD- Disrupting the Equilibrium1
16: Unique Gifter-10 Ways To Help Disaster Victims
17: SomeRandomGuyOnline-Friday Blog Roundup – Emergency Preparedness Edition3
18: 99 to 1 Percent: 15 Frugal Ways To Prepare For An Emergency
19: I Dream Of FIRE – Your house is burning and you can only save 10 things – what do you choose?

Readers, have you ever thought about potentially losing everything?  If every material possession went away, how much do you think you’d replace?  What does this tell you about how much you have now?

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

What Factors Determine Auto Insurance Pricing?

Shopping around for car insurance can be confusing.  Finding one that best suits your needs (and budget) can be just as intimidating.  What you have to realize before you even begin, however, is that while companies often differ in regard to the premiums that they offer to you.  There are several factors that will automatically result in you having a higher or lower premium. Here is a list of a few factors that can determine your auto insurance premiums, regardless of which company you go with for your insurance.

Demographics

Your age, gender, marital status, and where you live can all affect your auto insurance premiums.  If you’re under the age of 25, you’re statistically more likely to be in a car crash.  Insurance companies will put a higher premium on your policy.  However, if you are a student, many insurance companies will offer you a discount.  Don’t forget to ask about that if it applies to you.

In terms of gender, this is often tied in with age—specifically, young men tend to be in more crashes compared with young women.  However, the opposite is the case for the older cohorts.

Location

Image from morguefile courtesy of finance

Where you call home (or more specifically, where the car will be located) can have a major effect on your premiums.  Living in a big city with higher crime rates will put you on the path to pay higher rates.  This holds true no matter the company.  On the other hand, if you live in a small, quiet town out in the country, statistically you’re more likely to be safe from auto theft or vandalism and thus will likely have a lower premium on your auto insurance.

The Car

The type of car you drive plays a big factor in your rates. How old is your car?  What model is it?  What are the safety ratings?  These things have a big impact on your rates.  A car that’s rated as more safe will receive a lower premium than a car that’s rated as less safe.  While this seems obvious, many people don’t think of this when car shopping.

Additionally, larger vehicles tend to be safer than smaller vehicles.  Thus, they will often receive a lower premium.  However, if the engine itself is large compared to the size of the car, then the premium may be increased.  This means you, sports car drivers!

Your Driving Record

Are you a good driver?  Or have you been in more accidents than you have fingers on your hands? Someone who has never been in an accident will often get a lower premium than someone who has been in several.

These are just some of the ways that insurance companies come up with the premium for your specific insurance policy. Keep in mind, insurance companies often will also offer various discounts, so while you may suffer some “hits” from the factors mentioned above, you might be able to find other ways to save and thus reduce the overall premium for your auto insurance policy.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.