Friday, March 31, 2006

So You Want Cheap Car Insurance?

Car insurance, along with home insurance, has been getting more and more expensive. And that trend is expected to continue, even if sometimes there is a break for a year or two. Some of it is due to higher costs to rebuild houses and repair cars. Some is due to all the lawsuits from car accidents, dog bites, trampoline spills, and so on. Some is due to outright fraud. And I’m not talking about padding bills a little, I’m talking about completely staged accidents that were intentionally done so that an insurance claim could be filed. In addition, things like mold, hurricanes, and other large losses are making it hard for insurance companies to be confident in their pricing.

Especially in the downstate area including Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island, costs are high. In those areas fraud is worse, and repair costs are even higher. In addition a large part of the biggest claims in car insurance are for medical expenses, and we all know what has happened to those over the past decade.

Well, everybody wants cheap car insurance, but what can you do to get it? There are several ways to start. First is to shop around or have an agent (like us) who shops around for you. Maybe not every 6 months, because unless something drastic happens, but it pays to look at it every couple of years or so. You should also take the highest deductibles you can afford on your fire, theft, and collision coverages, especially if you have more than one car. The savings on one car, going from a $250 to a $500 deductible, is decent, but if you have several cars, the savings are multiplied, and the odds of you having a claim on more than one car in a given policy period are small.

Another thing you can do is take the National Safety Council Defensive Driver course which is offered all over and will save you 10% on most parts of your policy. Remember that you have to take this course every three years to continue getting the discount.

One thing you don’t want to cut back on is your liability coverages. For one thing, you need to be protected against the lawsuits that seem to happen every time cars meet by accident. But the second part of that is that insurance companies often do NOT give their best rates to people who carry ‘minimum coverage’. They have found over the years that people who want to protect themselves better make better insurance customers as well.

But these days, the real way to lower your rates for both home insurance and auto insurance is to have a good ‘insurance score’. And that will be the topic of my next post!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Welcome to our new Blog!

Welcome to our new blog. I am the 3rd generation owner of an insurance agency in Babylon, NY who has also been a computer geek since 1979. So blogging is not new to me, but writing one about insurance will be. You can see my other blog, which is mostly about our town, at www.aroundbabylon.com. It's a local news blog that I write after my daily walks around our Village.

This one will be different. Here I will try to inform and amuse with information on saving money and managing your insurance. I have told people for years that it's not just death and taxes that are the certainties in life, but also insurance!