When it comes to saving money on your home and auto insurance there is a right way and a wrong way to get the job done. Lowering your coverage levels, which puts your financial future at risk, is always a horrible idea. Adjusting your deductibles, which can result in a significant premium decrease is the best way to make your insurance more affordable.
While you may be familiar with the various components of an insurance policy, a quick review of the world of deductibles can’t hurt. The policy deductible is the amount that you agree to pay towards a claim. Once the deductible is covered, your insurance company pays out up to your policy limits.
As an example, if your house suffers $10,000 in damage from a windstorm and your deductible amount is set at $500 your insurer will cut you a check for $9,500 leaving you on the hook for the $500 deductible amount.
Deductible amounts are chosen when you purchase a policy, but in most cases they can be changed at any point. The deductible amounts that you can choose from vary depending on which state you live in. Common deductible amounts are $250, $500, $1,000 $2,500, and even $5,000. In some states even higher deductible amounts are available.
A Lower Deductible Equals a Higher Premium
Unfortunately, many first-time homebuyers set their deductible amount as low as possible in order to make their contribution to a claim more affordable should they need to file a claim. This can be a big mistake, a low deductible will result in a much higher premium.
While forking up a $1,000 when an unexpected claim pops up can be daunting, the savings on your premium can be dramatic. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), raising your deductible from $250 to $500 can result in a 30 percent discount on your premium. Going even farther and pushing the deductible to $1,000 can net a whopping 40 percent premium cut.
Why Insurers Like Higher Deductibles
Insurers love statistics and statistics show that customers who carry higher deductibles tend to make fewer claims. Thanks to these stats, insurers tend to reward customers who choose a higher deductible.
If you manage to go years without a claim, insurers are usually willing to offer an even bigger discount. While it varies by state and insurance company, going claim-free for 10 years can result in an additional discount of roughly 20 percent.
While maintaining a no-claim record can result in a discount, paying a big claim out of pocket just to maintain your claim free streak can be a financial mistake. While insurance should absolutely be reserved for major events, when that big day comes, do not hesitate to file a claim for fear of losing your discount.
Make Sure You Can Afford It
A higher deductible can result in a lower premium but it is imperative that you make sure you can afford to cover the deductible amount if have to make a claim. If your deductible amount will cause a financial hardship, it is too higher and should be lowered.
Experts recommend putting your deductible amount in an interest bearing account and leave it there until you need it.
Most insurers allow deductibles to be changed at any point, so if you can afford it, call your insurer today to see just how much you can save by raising your deductible.