How to Save Money on Your Insurance Premiums - A Step-by-step Guide (Part 2 of 3)

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This is part 2 of a 3-part series. We asked a recent Covered customer (and writer) to share her insurance-shopping experience with us. And what an incredible outcome it was! (If you missed part 1, check it out here.)

Doing Our Homework: Valuing Our Home and Personal Property

Before signing up for new coverage, I knew I needed to invest a little time looking over our existing coverage. I printed out our current policy in full, so that I could view the different coverage limits, discounts, and exclusions. To estimate replacement cost values for our home, I printed out a copy of the home appraisal we had done as part of a 2016 mortgage refinance. (If you don’t happen to have this, don’t worry. You can come up with replacement costs another way. I’ll explain in part 3 of the blog.)

I had to laugh. According to the appraisal — completed near the apex of Denver’s recent housing bubble — “the total estimate of cost – new” for our dwelling, sunporch addition, garage, and appliances was only around $150,000. Our current homeowners insurance policy coverage limit for “dwelling” and “other structures” (the two categories covering all of these items) totaled a whopping $189,860. That’s nearly $40k in excess coverage we never could’ve used!

The next step was estimating the value of our personal property, since that, too, is covered by homeowners insurance. So I asked my husband to take 20 minutes to talk through the estimated values of all our stuff.

Oh yes — did you notice that I switched from “I” to “we” a little earlier? Indeed, my now-husband and -stepson moved in with me just over a year after I purchased the house. And my husband has significantly more expensive taste in electronics than I do. That matters when valuing personal property.

As I’ve learned from the Covered team, the smartest course for valuing personal property is to complete a detailed home inventory. But we didn’t quite have the time or headspace for that, so we forged a shortcut. I used a home inventory template to help us think of categories, and we created a Google spreadsheet to track everything. After tallying generous estimates of the value of absolutely everything we could think of, we were only at about $60k.

So here’s another hilarious one. In our existing policy, the “personal property with replacement cost” coverage limit was $129,450. That’s almost $70k more coverage than we’d ever need. Oh what fun.

Okay, so we clearly had way more coverage than we needed. It was time to figure out what kind of coverage we really needed.

Requesting Quotes

Getting started on Covered’s insurance marketplace couldn’t be less intimidating. It was simple and efficient, providing homeowners insurance quotes in mere minutes.

After going to Covered’s home page, I simply clicked on “Get a Quote.” Then, I clicked on the “Home” button to indicate the policy type I was interested in. They asked me my address (I know that one!), and whether it was a house or a condo (I know that one, too!). (Here’s the shortcut to Covered’s quote tool.)

Based solely on my address, the magical data machines hidden inside Covered already knew that my home has two bedrooms, one bathroom, and no pool, and that it’s a one-story home built in 1952. All I had to do was confirm the info displayed and add the square footage. Easy-peasy.

Next, the screen gently asked, “Tell us a little about you.” Indeed, they wanted my name, telephone number, email address, birthday, gender, and relationship status. (BTW, “other” is an option for relationship status. Thanks, Covered, for accommodating non-traditional couplings!) They also warned me up-front that, “To give an accurate quote, we may use information such as prior insurance history provided by you or 3rd parties.” That’s fair.

And that was it. My screen reassured me that it was generating quotes for me, and that it could take up to five minutes. While I waited, the screen tossed up helpful information and fun facts for my edification, quickly answering questions such as “Is it bad to file a claim?”, defining what a “premium” is, and so on. In only 1 minute 21 seconds, I received my initial set of quotes. (We’re hiding carrier names given that quotes will vary widely for different homes and locations.)

My existing homeowners insurance policy and premium information showed that I was presently paying more than $3,000 annually. Thus, these much lower figures elicited a wide-mouthed “WHOA!” from me.

Okay, I’m no dummy. Who’s going to say no to savings like that? At this point, I already knew I was buying a new homeowners insurance policy. The question was, which one?

Comparing Coverage Options

Covered makes it easy to quickly view more information about your initial quote set. When you click “Select,” you can view more details on each policy. You can also toggle back and forth between policies, comparing the different coverages. So don’t be afraid to click “Select.” You’re not committing; you’re simply comparing.

I quickly noticed what’s called the “Covered Index Score.” As an independent agency, Covered offers up objective, data-based assessments of their different carrier partners. The score is based on a range of information, including the carrier’s A.M. Best, JD Power, and BBB ratings. Already I was feeling confident that while saving money, I’d still be getting excellent coverage from a carrier I could trust.

FYI, when you’re on the detail screen of a policy quote, you have the option to “Click for carrier info.” You can use this feature to quickly view the different consumer index ratings, as well as the “unique customer offerings” specific to each carrier.

Note that quotes don’t necessarily use an apples-to-apples comparison. Different carriers offer different default coverage levels. That’s why you’ll want to view and compare the different limits for each category. Here’s an example of a detail screen for one of my quotes.

Scheduling a Call

After having a look around at my quotes and possible carriers, I felt ready to talk… sort of. I had a pretty packed work schedule for the rest of the day, so I was hoping to schedule something for the next day. When I clicked on the “purchase via phone” option, I was relieved to see that I could choose a day of the week, a time range, or even a specific time slot. I decided on 10am to 11am the next morning.

The screen asked me to confirm my name and phone number, and gave me the opportunity to indicate why I’d be calling. So I wrote, “Help me compare quotes and adjust certain coverage levels.” Then, I clicked on “schedule call,” and it was a PARTAY — confetti fell gleefully from the top of the screen on a confirmation screen that reassured me, “Your call was scheduled successfully!”

In the next and final part of this 3-part series, I’ll share the conversation I had with Covered to make this all happen and some resources to help YOU get control over your insurance coverage.

Want help figuring out whether you’ve got the right homeowners and auto insurance coverage? Start by requesting new quotes from Covered today. We promise we’ll make it easy!

Cover Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash