Do you shop for insurance the same way they shop for everything else? Some people will pay extra for a trusted brand, others search high and low for the best deal, and many just take the good-sounding cheapest and easiest option. Why is it that with homeowners insurance, people sometimes throw their good habits out the window and shop purely on price?
There are two sides to this topic, one is obtaining savings that are beneficial to you and the other is saving money now with greater risk later. Getting the cheapest insurance possible is like buying a pair of scissors to mow your lawn. It's cheap in the short term but wont do you much good when you need to cut a half acre before the in-laws come over. It also wouldn't make sense to buy the kind they of mower they use at Yankee Stadium when you only have a tenth acre lot. So there should be a middle ground, a mower that doesn't have 150 horsepower but accomplishes what you need it to.
Bad Idea #1
The first and worst way to save money is to lower your coverage. If you are looking at two prices from the same company, the difference is usually in the coverage. Insurance companies are required to offer all of their agents the same price for a product, no agent has a special deal with the insurance company to get better rates than the guy down the street. How competing agents get ahead is by offering prices from different companies or being the first to offer the right one. Be wary of quotes will little detail about coverages.
Bad Idea #2
Another bad way of saving is to use an insurance company that is financially weak. Think of it like a local bank back in the pre-FDIC days. If everyone rushed the bank at once looking to withdraw their money, the bank would collapse overnight and nobody would get their money back. Insurance companies are a lot like banks, if they don’t have enough reserve one big rush could wipe them out. One big rush is pretty likely to happen in our area, in the form of a hurricane or flood, so it's not if they collapse but when.
In our digital world, it's easy for a small company to put up a legit website and look like a multinational conglomerate, so you'll probably never know the financial stability of a company unless you ask. Companies with a B financial rating carry less reserve, which keeps them from qualifying as A rated but allows them to undercut rates. Be wary of B rated insurance companies, a single localized storm could wipe them and your property out. Check out this recent blog post for more about financial strength.
Bad Idea #3
One final bad way to save is to misstate something about the property, even if it is innocent or unintentional. Maybe you say it's a second home when really it's a rental, or that it has brick walls when it's really a veneer, or that the windows are impact resistant when really they are double pane. These seem like small things that are easy to hide in the beginning but it gives the insurance company a perfectly good reason to deny a claim. Be wary of quotes that are based on guesses.
There are good ways to save on insurance and trade in that monster mower for a smaller one that still gets the job done. Honestly, we could match almost any price out there, but we are not the place to buy scissors because we know they won't do you any good. It's a good idea to regularly quote your insurance. We provide quotes for free and are committed to selling home insurance, flood insurance, and property insurance that fit your needs without going over the top . There may be things on your current policy that you just don’t need and there may be a better company out there for you.
Give us a call or submit a request on our website today to find out more about homeowners insurance, condo insurance, and our other commercial property insurance programs!
The views expressed here are the opinion of the author and do not attempt to make any recommendation for insurance coverage. Eligibility is determined by the insurance carrier and not all applicants will qualify. Please contact your licensed insurance agent regarding your area's coverage and eligibility.