coverage Archive

Tips For Lowering Car & Home Insurance Costs

Saving Money on Insurance Costs

I’m currently looking into ways to lower my current car insurance costs without compromising coverage.

Has it been a while since you shopped around for car insurance? There is a very good chance that you are paying too much for your insurance and could get a better rate as well.

If you believe you are overpaying for your current insurance, this is a reminder that there are savings (of several hundred dollars a year) to be had out there.  I’ve found that the more insurance companies you compare, the more savings and better coverage you are able to find.

bank, financial, insurance, internet, technology icon

Every little bit helps!

The following are some tips that will be covered in this post:

  • Ask about discounts
  • Bundle
  • Compare rates / shop around for different quotes
  • Raise your deductible
  • Reduce coverage

Lowering Insurance Costs – Tip #1 – Ask About Discounts

Ask About Discounts


“It cant hurt to ask.”

There are plenty of auto insurance discounts out there to help you lower your car insurance rates.

But what type of discounts may be available?  I’ve compiled a list below.


Car Insurance

  • Car Safety Features
    •   Examples include Antilock brakes and Antitheft devices
  • Multi Car
    • If you insure more than one car on the same policy
  • Multi Policy
    • If you buy multiple policies from the same insurer (home and car insurance, for example)
  • Accident Free/Prevention
    • Some insurers offer discounts for taking Defensive Driving courses
  • Good Student Discounts
    • Applies to high school and college students getting good grades
  • Low-mileage
    • Some insurers offer discounts for keeping your annual mileage low (Usually 15,000 or less miles/year)
  • Senior citizens
    • Eligible for drivers usually over the age of 55
  • Group / Associations
    • Some insurers partner with various associations to give discounts to members
  • Safe / Good Driver
    • For drivers with no traffic violations or accident claims.  Insurers usually look at the last three years of your driving record to make a determination.
    • Plug a monitoring device in your car track driving habits (i.e. Progressive’s Snapshot)
  • Defensive Driving courses
    • Lower portions of your auto insurance by up to 10% for 3 years
  • Paid in Full
    • Discount for paying entire premium at once

Home Insurance

  • Home renovation
    • New electrical and plumbing systems, for example
  • New roof
  • New home
    • If home was built in the past 15 years
  • Non smokers
    • Discounts for having no smokers living in the home
  • Energy-efficient features
  • Home safety features
    • Alarms

Lowering Insurance Costs – Tip #2 – Bundle

Bundle

If you currently have your auto, home, or life insurance from different insurers, you are probably missing out on a discount.

Put simply, if you bundle policies from a single company, they’re very likely to offer you a multi-policy discount of an average of about 8%.

Having the same insurance provider for your homeowners and auto insurance could save you a few hundred dollars a year. That number varies depending on where you live, though, according to a study from insuranceQuotes.

This is one of the smartest and easiest ways to save money (and time!) on insurance.

Lowering Insurance Costs – Tip #3 – Compare Rates

Compare Rates / Shop Around


This step will save you some money, but may be the most time consuming.

It is recommended that you get at least three price quotes from different companies.  These can typically be obtained online (websites like Progressive.com, InsuranceQuotes.com, and CoverHound.com) if you aren’t a phone person.  Some upfront information will be needed in order for the rates to be determined.

If you’re already insured, assess how much current coverage you have so you can compare against new policies. Know your vehicles safety features, how many miles you drive each year, claims history, etc.

If you’re unhappy with your current insurer, it is wise to tell them that you’re considering a switch. They may offer you a discounted rate in order to keep you as a customer.  If you do decide to switch, be sure not to cancel until you get another policy.

This is something you should be doing every few years even if you’re happy with your current provider, in order to make sure you’re getting a competitive rate.  You get little benefit from sticking with the same insurer year in and year out.  Not browsing for other policies could cost you more in the long run, even if you believe you are paying less than you were before.

tip iconIn New York, Progressive tends to be cheaper for singles and couples, while Geico or Travelers tends to cheaper for families with teens

tip iconConsider comparison shopping on TheZebra.com, a site that offers estimates from a large number of insurers

tip iconConsider also using an independent insurance agent to help you find you the best deals on the coverage that’s right for you

(more…)

Exterior Water Service Line Coverage: Do You Need It?

http://www.homeserveusa.com/assets/themes/responsive/anims/wsl/images/water-service-img.png

Have you received a warning letter in the mail that your “underground water service line could fail without warning” and are not sure what direction to go in?

The letter may warn that the recipient is “responsible for the full cost of maintaining and repairing your exterior water line”.  In bold letters on the top of the letter alarmingly reads “Important Information Regarding Your Water Service Line”.  Enclosed is a payment form (asking for $4.49/month or $53.88/year) and a postage-paid return envelope to a random PO Box.

I recently received one of these letters, so I decided to explore further.  Should we be alarmed?

Overview

What is a exterior water service line?

It is a line buried underground your property that brings fresh tap water into your home.

What causes a water line to burst / need repairs?

Simply the age of the service line or changing soil conditions are usually the main culprits.   A tree root may also get tangled up in the line, causing damages.

Whose responsibility is it to fix?

Many are unaware, but exterior water service line repair or replacement is the responsibility of the homeowner.

What is covered (and not) in the policy?

Coverage includes the following:

  • No bills for covered repairs to locate, fix, and replace service line
  • Priority Service calls – 24 hour, 365 day a year emergency hot-line
  • 30 day money-back guarantee
  • One year covered repair guarantee

What isn’t covered:

  • Accident or negligence caused by you or others
  • A line that branches off the main line
  • Pre-existing damage
  • Relocation of water lines
  • Lines improperly installed by someone else

So is this a scam?

Although there are red flags, it doesn’t look to be a scam (whether it’s worth purchasing is another story).  The company who handles the coverage, HomeServe, appears to be a legit company with millions of customers throughout the US.  It currently has an A- rating from the Better Business Bureau.

HomeServe states the following:

“These mailers are not intended to alarm homeowners, but to inform them of services that have been an enormous help for tens of thousands of homeowners”

You will see many complaints about HomeServe as well, although many of these are in regards to the actual letter (which can be confused for a bill).

Is this coverage needed?

It can be a tough call whether or not to purchase the coverage.

My research suggests that water lines don’t go all that often (it is rare for damage to occur to them).  HomeServe’s own data has suggested that “exterior water pipe failure occurs in less than 1 percent of American households every year”.

However, on the other hand, it might give you peace of mind in the event something does happen.

Keep in mind, Investopedia lists this coverage in their “15 Insurance Policies You Don’t Need” article:

7. Water Line Coverage
Water companies have made an aggressive push to sell policies that cover the repair of the water line that runs from the street to your house. The odds are in your favor that you will never use this coverage, particularly if you live in a newer home. If you live an average suburban neighborhood and you do need to repair the water line, the distance to the street is short, the likelihood of a problem is low and repair costs are a few thousand dollars or less. The same goes for policies offered by other utility companies.

 —

The Bottom Line

Read the fine print!

Also, it is best to consult with your insurance agent before making any decisions (you may even be covered already).

The Better Business Bureau recommends to take the following into consideration:

  • The age of your house
  • Your neighbors past experience with their water and/or sewer service lines

The wisest thing may be to start an emergency savings fund or self-insure (set aside a certain amount of money).  Deposit the money you would otherwise send to HomeServe or an insurance company into a savings account.

Overall, just remember: the coverage is optional, no matter how the letter reads.

Resources

http://www.bbb.org/blog/2011/12/to-buy-or-not-to-buy-says-carol/

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/07/cutpolicies.asp

http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_23379477/herhold-examine-that-water-pipe-insurance-pitch-carefully

http://www.azcentral.com/12news/consumer/articles/2012/05/14/20120514Water-Service-Line-Warranties-05152012.html#ixzz3xWOcLIAO

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/your-watchdog/consumer/2014/07/25/scam-scam-bill-like-mailings-skate-line/13179099/

http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/pi/warnings-sounded-over-offer-of-water-line-insurance-b9946893z1-214224691.html

http://www.registerstar.com/news/article_9da90144-eee0-5a84-a682-d93156787588.html

 

Untitleddsd

Republic Wireless: An Overview

“A better way to connect”

 

The Details (How it Works)

Republic Wireless is a MVNO that offers a a low cost mobile phone service option (starting at $10 a month).  This company is very devoted to their customers and are always looking to improve.

They have a patented hybrid calling experience.  Basically how it works is that Wi-Fi networks are used primarily (the default), while Sprint’s cellular network is used as a fall back if no Wi-Fi networks are in range.  This switch is done seamlessly and automatically. As a result, this saves you money and offers you more coverage.

Here are some more details…
  • Coverage / Performance overview
    • Nationwide coverage provided by Sprint (4G/LTE data)
    • Check your coverage here
    • Adequate but it is not 100% reliable (dropped calls, etc.)
  • Phones
    • You cannot bring your own phone, as you must purchase/use a Republic Wireless provided phone
      • This is because the phones have a specialized ROM that allows the hybrid cell + WiFi calling technology (as mentioned above)
    • The phones are engineered to work across multiple networks
    • Choose from the Motorola Moto E, Moto X, and Moto G Android Phones:

Moto E (Black) (2nd Gen.)

Moto X (Black) (2nd Gen.)

Moto G (8GB) (Black) (3rd Gen.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • No-Contract Plans
    •  Republic Wireless pays you back for the cell data that you don’t use every month
      • You can add additional data at any time as well

Here are the currently available base plans:

    • $5 – WiFi Plan: Unlimited Talk/Text/Data over WiFi
    • $10 – Base Plan: Unlimited Talk/Text over WiFi + Cell | Data over WiFi Only
    • $17.50 – Base Plan + 0.5 GB Cell Data
    • $25 – Base Plan + 1.0 GB Cell Data
    • $40 – Base Plan + 2.0 GB Cell Data
    • $55 – Base Plan + 3.0 GB Cell Data

republicplans

  • Customer Support
    • No call center – customer service via emails, live chat, and forums only
      • If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, you can submit a help ticket online or talk to someone on live chat

 

The answer

This month (12/2015), I’ll be reviewing the services/offerings from certain non-major providers such as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). 

Previous overviews: StraightTalk Wireless | Consumer Cellular | FreedomPop | Net10 Wireless | Ting Wireless

Each service will be looked at in detail, as I make a decision as to what to direction to go in when my current contract ends later this month.

Stay tuned for more!

Ting Wireless: An Overview

http://androidspin.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/ting.jpeg

“Mobile That Makes Sense”

 

The Details (How it Works)

Ting Wireless is an affordable wireless service provider with a unique pricing model.  The bottom line is that you only pay for what you use.  Here are some more details…
  • Coverage / Performance overview
    • Ting offers mobile service on two nationwide, LTE networks (including Sprint)
    • You can have “any combination of active GSM and / or CDMA devices under one account sharing minutes, messages and megabytes”
    • View their coverage maps here
  • Phones
    • You can bring your existing phone over or purchase one from their selection of phones
    • Both new and refurbished phones are available
    • A few that I spotted include the Motorola Moto E, Apple iPhone 6s, Samsung Galaxy S5, etc.
  • No-Contract Plans
    • Tiered rate plan (“floating pricing”): XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
      • Voice minutes, text messages, and MB of data are billed separately
      • At the end of the month, whichever tier you fall in is what you pay (only pay for the levels you reach)
      • Your usage is pooled and shared across all devices in your account
    • Each activated number on an account costs $6 per month
    • May not be the best plan for heavy data users

Levels

XS S M L XL XL+
Devices
$6 each
1
$6
2
$12
3
$18
4
$24
5
$30
6 +
$6 /device
Minutes
Nationwide
no usage
$0
1 – 100
$3
101 – 500
$9
501 – 1000
$18
1001 – 2100
$35
2101 +
$35 + 1.9¢ /additional min
Messages
Global
no usage
$0
1 – 100
$3
101 – 1000
$5
1001 – 2000
$8
2001 – 4800
$11
4801 +
$11 + ¼¢ /additional msg
Megabytes
Nationwide
no usage
$0
1 – 100
$3
101 – 500
$12
501 – 1000
$19
1001 – 2000
$29
2001 +
$29 + 1.5¢ /additional mb
  • Customer Support
    • I didn’t see anything negative mentioned during my research
  • Other Notes
    • Check out the Ting Savings Calculator
    • The Ting online account dashboard and the official Ting app are useful tools
    • If you’re moving from another carrier to Ting you have the option to “port” (bring) your number along
    • No hidden fees or overage penalties (you pay for only what you use; see above)
    • Referral program available that nets you $50 in credit for the first friend who joins and $25 per friend after that

 

 

 

 

 

This month (12/2015), I’ll be reviewing the services/offerings from certain non-major providers such as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). 

Previous overviews: StraightTalk Wireless | Consumer Cellular | FreedomPop | Net10 Wireless

Each service will be looked at in detail, as I make a decision as to what to direction to go in when my current contract ends later this month.

Stay tuned for more!

Net 10 Wireless: An Overview

The Details (How it Works)

NET10 Wireless is another prepaid (“pay as you go”) cell phone provider.  What separates them from competitors, is their large selection of devices and plans. Here are some specifics:
  • Coverage / Performance overview
    • Through its partnerships with all four major carriers (AT&T, Verizon, etc.), it  has connectivity on virtually every tower in the nation
      • This results in high network quality + dependable coverage for half the cost
    • Uses both GSM and CDMA phone technologies (based on model purchased)
      • Only company to do so

 

 

 

 

 

  • Phones
    • You can bring your existing phone over or purchase one from them (99¢ sim cards available currently)
    • There were a number of phones available to choose from such as:
      • LG G3, Samsung Galaxy S5, Apple iPhone 5s, etc.
    • There is a lease-to-own option on a few phones
  • No-Contract Plans
    • No contracts; pay by the month or pay as you go
    • There are variety of plans to choose from such as:
      • 30 Day Plans
      • Family Plan Family plans are also available on an unlimited basis ranging from $75 for 500MB to $170 for 2.5GB.
      • Pay As You Go
      • Monthly Plans
      • International Calling Plans
    • Here’s an overview of the 30-day plans:

net10plans

  • Customer Support
    • Many have reported their customer service to be very poor
  • Other Notes
    • Available at stores like Best Buy, Walmart, Dollar General, RadioShack
    • No hidden fees or overage penalties (you pay for only what you use)
    • No paper bills
    • Enroll in Auto-Refill and your service plan will be automatically refilled every month
      • + You will save $5 a month on select plans

 

This month (12/2015), I’ll be reviewing the services/offerings from certain non-major providers such as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). 

Previous overviews: StraightTalk Wireless | Consumer Cellular | FreedomPop

Each service will be looked at in detail, as I make a decision as to what to direction to go in when my current contract ends later this month.

Stay tuned for more!

FreedomPop: An Overview

No Contracts • No Gimmicks • No Hassles


The Details (How it Works)

FreedomPop (a relatively new MVNO) is the first ever 100% FREE mobile phone service, offering both flexibility and value.  Here are some specific details:
  • Coverage / Performance overview
    • Uses Sprint’s 4G LTE network
    • The tool here provides high-level estimates of their wireless coverage
    • Coverage is not available everywhere and varies based on a number of factors
  • Phones
    • You can bring your existing phone over or purchase one from them
    • These four were available for me to purchase:
      • Kyocera hydro Icon
      • HTC Desire 510
      • Samsung Galaxy S4
      • Apple iPhone 5 16GB
  • No-Contract Plans
    • No contracts required (cancel anytime, no commitment)
    • The following plans are available:

fpplan

 *Additional data can be purchased for 2 1/2 cents per MB.

 

  • Customer Support
    • Unknown
  •   30 Day Risk-Free Trial (100% Risk Free Guarantee)
    • You can cancel your trial anytime on site or by calling customer support
    • Trial only available for a limited time
    • You’ll continue to receive Premium 1GB every month for $19.99 after the trial period expires
  • Other Notes
    • No overage penalties
    • You can earn more data by participating in special offers or by referring friends
    • Usage alerts available for $1.99/month
    • Check out a recent Penny Hoarder article here ($50 Phone Comes With a Free Monthly Plan)

 

http://tse1.mm.bing.net/th?&id=OIP.M0c4dde643f39aa2e75dab674cf2d92c9o0&w=300&h=207&c=0&pid=1.9&rs=0&p=0&r=0

 

This month (12/2015), I’ll be reviewing the services/offerings from certain non-major providers such as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). 

Previous overviews: StraightTalk Wireless | Consumer Cellular

Each service will be looked at in detail, as I make a decision as to what to direction to go in when my current contract ends later this month.

Stay tuned for more!

 

Straight Talk Wireless: An Overview

Straight Talk

 

 

 

$30 Nationwide Plan$45 Unlimited Nationwide Plan$60 Unlimited International Plan

The Details (How it Works)

In summary, Straight Talk is a pay-as-you go prepaid wireless phone service (available only at Walmart) that requires no long term contracts.  Here are some specifics:

  • You can bring your own phone or purchase one from Straight Talk
    • The selection of phones is limited, but Straight Talk supports unlocked phones for AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint — as well as compatible unlocked phones bought elsewhere
    • With a simple switch of a SIM card, almost any phone can be a Straight Talk Wireless phone
    • iPhones are now offered by Straight Talk — iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, and iPhone 4S
  • No-Contract Service Plans
    • Plans range from $30 to $495 (see chart below)
    • The Unlimited Plan ($45) offers the best value
      • Unlimited Talk/Text/Data
      • 30 Day Plan
      • First 5GB data at high speeds then 2G
  • Coverage / Performance Overview
    • Nationwide coverage (99.6%) via four national carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint)
    • No, your Straight Talk phone won’t roam,
    • Straight Talk is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that buys capacity from the four large nationwide carriers and resells it to its customers. Performance will largely depend on which of the carriers is providing your service, and that’s determined by which phone you buy or bring to Straight Talk. Keep in mind, however, that while talk and text performance will be just as good, reviews say that LTE data speeds will likely be a little bit lower than what the carrier being used delivers to its own customers.
  • Customer Service Issues
    • J.D. Power and Associates surveys that look at customer care and the buying experience aren’t very complimentary. Among prepaid providers, Straight Talk finishes second to last in customer care and dead last in the buying experience.
  • Known Pros:
    • Uses all four national carriers for service
    • Good options for international callers
    • Can use your own (existing) phone
  • Known Cons:
    • Limited plan options and features (no daily or pay-as-you-go plans)
    • Mixed grades for customer service

 

Untitled2

Untitled1

This month (12/2015), I’ll be reviewing the services/offerings from certain non-major providers such as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). 

Each service will be looked at in detail, as I make a decision as to what to direction to go in when my current contract ends later this month.

Stay tuned for more!

Follow

Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox:

Back To Top