How to Save Money on Your Insurance Premiums - A Step-by-step Guide (Part 3 of 3)
This is part 3 of a 3-part series. We asked a recent Covered customer (and writer) to share their insurance-shopping experience with us. And what an incredible outcome it was! (If you missed the first two installments, check out part 1 and part 2 before reading on.)
Talking to My Covered Insurance Advisor
The next day, a blessed Friday, my Covered insurance advisor called me right on time.
First, we talked about the initial quotes I’d received. He wanted to know which quotes I was most interested in, as well as the factors I’d considered in making my assessment. That way, he could better understand what I was looking for.
He also explained that, to get me truly final quotes, he’d need my permission to run certain reports. I granted permission. He explained that all insurers require an insurance score, which is based in part on your credit score. He also assured me that he personally wouldn’t know my score.
Next, I asked about bundling auto and home. I was curious whether I could save any money via bundling. He assured me it was distinctly possible, given that most insurers offer bundling discounts. He said he’d be happy to add that info to my quotes.
My Covered insurance advisor — we’ll call him C. — let me know that he’d send me an email requesting the additional information he needed to provide car insurance quotes. He said he’d need the year, make, and model of my vehicles, as well as the birthdates and drivers’ license numbers for the covered drivers.
Chatting About Considerations
Finally, C. and I talked about various considerations specific to my policy. He mentioned that my long-term relationship with my prior homeowners insurance carrier would work in my favor. After all, when people switch up their policies too often, they have a less favorable rating. (At least I got something for my six years of laziness and inattention.)
I also asked C. about increasing coverage levels in some areas. He indicated that it can be relatively inexpensive to increase some limits, and that he’d be happy to help me explore options. (Ultimately, we went with $140k in dwelling coverage, $14k in other structures coverage, and $80k in personal property.)
In closing, I promised to get C. the auto information ASAP. In turn, he promised that he’d have a set of fresh, firmed-up quotes for my consideration shortly thereafter.
Over the next couple of business days, I sent C. the info he needed and he worked up my finalized quotes. He also worked on resolving an odd issue (our Silverado’s mileage was showing up incorrectly, impacting the quotes). Ultimately, I had updated quotes by Tuesday morning. To my relief, the premiums were in line with the first quote set.
Taking Time Off for Real Life
That very Tuesday, Real Life intervened in a very real way. One of my husband’s closest friends died suddenly in a climbing accident. We abruptly flew to Oregon for an 11-day stay that would cover the memorial, a “celebration of life” the following weekend, and time to spend with his friend’s wife and family.
In other words, we were no longer particularly in the mood to think or talk about insurance.
I emailed C. letting him know. I told him I’d get back to him when I could, but I wasn’t sure precisely when that would be. He was completely understanding. He wrote back immediately, offering his condolences and basically saying, “Zero pressure. I’m here whenever you’re ready.”
It’s hard to convey how much this meant to me. In my mind, insurance had previously been an utterly impersonal thing. C.’s note was clearly personal and heartfelt. (It was also definitively short-and-sweet, so as not to waste my time when I had more pressing things to worry about. I appreciated that, too.) C. had just changed that assessment entirely. He’d taken the pressure off. He made it clear that the whole process would only proceed on my terms.
C. didn’t email me once while we were away. As good as his word, he waited till I contacted him again, nearly two weeks later. Now that’s someone who’s paying attention to the person, and not to some arbitrary bottom line or process checklist.
Making Our Choice
Once we were back from the funeral and able to refocus on practicalities, I sat down with my husband to go over the quotes. It took us less than 10 minutes to make our decision.
To prepare, I had printed out the quotes and emails from C. I’d also printed out our prior homeowners insurance and car insurance policies, so we could easily compare coverage limits and premiums. I spread it all out on the coffee table, showing my husband the small differences between the policies.
With the data all laid out, our choice was clear. The carrier offering the lowest annual premiums also had the highest Covered Index Score among the three carriers we were considering. In other words, the best price came with a rock-solid reputation and a strong customer service record. And the policy’s coverage limits were perfectly aligned with the actual values we were insuring. What more was there to talk about?
Well, those amazing SAVINGS, of course. What fun would it be if we didn’t take a moment to pat ourselves on the back for such an impressive triumph of adulting? So we tallied up what we’d been paying our existing auto and homeowners insurance carriers. That way, we had a comprehensive view on how our past insurance expenses would compare to our new-and-crazy-improved costs. My husband smiled wide when he saw how much we’d be saving. Gold star for this wife!
With the decision made, it was time to tell Covered. I sent off an email around 4:15pm. C. responded within six minutes, letting me know he was wide open for a call the next day. By 4:36pm, he’d confirmed my suggested time and we were all set.
C. called me at the appointed time. I accidentally ignored him. (I was deep in a writing project. I was also veeeery apologetic when I called him back. He was completely understanding.)
Because here’s more good news: At Covered, you can absolutely call in and ask for the advisor you’ve already been speaking with. You don’t have to worry about having to identify yourself and re-explain everything to someone new. That said, you can always speak with another Covered advisor, too — they’ll have immediate access to all your information.
When C. and I spoke, he began by confirming that he’d reviewed my quotes and nothing had changed. This meant we could go ahead with the policy purchase. We agreed on an effective date a couple weeks down the road, May 15.
Then, he talked me through the remaining steps of the process. Essentially:
- C. would get everything ready to go in the next hour or two. He’d call or email when that was complete.
- He told me he’d send me copies of the insurance summaries, and that I’d receive emails from my new insurance carrier asking me to e-sign my new home and auto policy documents.
- We discussed payment for the auto policy. He let me know the possible payment options (annual or monthly), and we elected to go monthly. I gave him my payment info.
- He then explained exactly what I needed to do to finalize things:
- In response to the emails sent by my new insurance carrier, I needed to e-sign all my policy documents before the end of May. I also needed to provide any additional info they requested by then. (In the end, they didn’t request anything else. The e-signing process took less than five minutes.)
- I needed to call my current insurance providers, letting them know to make the cancellation effective May 15. (In some states, written notice is required. Ask your carrier what they require.)
- We would receive a check with a prorated refund. I would need to deposit that refund into our escrow account. (There were various options for this. I took mine to a branch office.)
- I needed to contact my current mortgage provider. C. said I should let them know I was purchasing a new insurance policy. He said Covered would also be contacting them, providing them with the new insurance information.
- At my request (a final call to make!), my mortgage provider would perform a new escrow analysis and adjust our monthly mortgage payment. Indeed, our monthly mortgage payment went down several hundred dollars, too. Not too shabby, eh?
Resources to Help YOU Figure Out If You Can Save
Now that you’ve seen how easy it is to pay too much for insurance, how easy it is to fix it, and how much money you could potentially save — you’re ready to get started, right? The resources below will make things even easier. You may not need them all… simply investigate whatever sounds helpful:
- Learn about replacement cost value. Some coverage uses actual cash value (ACV), but replacement cost coverage is crucial in certain areas.
- Learn about the different parts of a homeowners insurance policy. Better understand exactly what you’re purchasing and why.
- Learn about common exclusions to homeowners insurance. Given the hazards and location of your home, do you need to purchase additional endorsements or policies?
- Learn about common discounts. After all, aren’t you looking for the best deal possible?
- Make sure you’re not underinsured. While I was clearly over-insured, it’s beneficial to review some of the common items homeowners tend to overlook.
- Review any insurance basics you’re still unclear on. Covered’s ultimate guide to homeowners insurance lays out all the basics in simple terms.
- Figure out the replacement cost value for your home. This requires a little footwork, but it’s absolutely worth the effort.
- Estimate the value of your personal property. That detailed home inventory will also come in handy if you ever do need to make a claim.
- Look over these 10 questions to ask your agent. These questions will help you make sure you have the right coverage in the right places.
- Request new quotes from Covered. They really will make it painless!
- Reach out to a Covered insurance advisor. Covered’s expert advisors will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
In closing, I beg of you: Don’t wait years to see how much you can save. While I’m not someone who makes a habit of regretting things, I absolutely wish I’d revisited my own homeowners insurance policy much sooner. I could’ve found countless ways to spend or save all that money. And I’d wager that you, too, will make excellent use of any savings you find. So stop dragging your feet. Get started today.