Archives for Insurance

Understanding Factors Affecting Your Home Insurance Premium

Homeowner’s insurance can be a confusing topic. Because of this, many homeowners don’t fully understand why insurers charge the premiums they do, and as a result, premium charges often go unquestioned by policyholders.

But when you know how insurers determine your premium, you can work with those factors to lower your premium and say goodbye to expensive home insurance rates!

How Insurers Gauge Your Risk

When an insurance company determines your rates, they’re really determining your risk. And according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), insurers consider some of the following to determine exactly that:

  • Where your home is located. Living in high risk areas like the Gulf coast or in crime-riddled neighborhoods drastically increase the chances that your home will be significantly damaged, ruined, vandalized or stolen from. It’s for this reason that you’ll pay more to insure your home in a high risk area.
  • The cost to build in your area. Some insurers will look at the construction costs in your area to see how much it would cost to rebuild your home if it were destroyed. The higher the construction costs are in your area, the higher the likelihood that you’ll pay for it in your home insurance rates.
  • The materials used to construct your home. Materials like brick and other stone tend to better withstand the high winds that come with tornadoes and hurricanes. If your home is constructed (or partially constructed) from these materials, you’ll probably see a dip in your homeowner’s insurance premium.
  • Other risk factors on your property. Insurers will also want to know if you have any swimming pools, hot tubs or trampolines on your property, as well as the kind of breed the family pooch is. All of these factors increase the risk of injury on your property and insurers may increase your rates accordingly.

Saving Money on Home Insurance

With all these factors, how can you save money on homeowner’s insurance? Aren’t some of these factors out of the hands of homeowners?

Yes and no. While you may not be able to control the weather or the actions of others, you can do the following to save money:

  • Make upgrades. While you may not be able to change the location or construction of your home, you can lower your premium by upgrading plumbing and heating systems, installing sprinkler systems, additional smoke detectors and deadbolt locks. While these upgrades may take a little elbow grease and money on your part, it’ll lower the risk for insurers–and your home insurance rates.
  • Make your home safe. If you have a pool or trampoline, fencing can keep children away from these areas without your supervision. If you have a dog that fits into a “high risk” breed category (like a pit bull), there may not be a lot you can do, and some insurers won’t cover dog bite liability; ask your insurer for details regarding your pooch.
  • Insure for the replacement cost. Your home would probably cost more to rebuild or replace now that it did when you bought it. Insuring your abode for the replacement cost will help you avoid any large depreciation if you need to file a claim.
  • Review your policy annually. If you sold grandma’s expensive china last year, you no longer need coverage for it. Reviewing your policy annually will ensure that you have the coverage you need–no more and no less.

Start Saving on Home Insurance Today

While you may not be able to control how insurers determine your homeowner’s insurance rates, you can make adjustments to your home to combat premium hikes. In addition to these money-saving tips, always remember to ask your insurance agent about any discounts for which you might qualify. Doing so will get you the affordable home insurance you need to save money–without having to skimp on coverage.

Seven Shopping Strategies For New Car Buyers

New car shopping can be a lot of fun, especially if you’re a car enthusiast. But others can find the experience stressful and tedious. Either way, there’s a lot to think about. According to a survey of car shoppers, overall purchase price is the most important factor when shopping for a new car (46 percent), followed by make and model (31 percent).

Safety and performance come in a distant third, tied at seven percent. But whether you’re turned on or turned off by the dizzying array of car choices, trim options, “expert” reviews, incentives and other deals, it definitely pays to approach car buying strategically.

So if you’re in the market for a new vehicle and you find yourself having trouble keeping a clear head, just keep these strategies, courtesy of J. Peter & Associates in mind:

1. Decide how much money you can spend and what type of vehicle best suits your needs. Just looking for the basic transport capability of a small or medium sedan? Or do you need the hauling capacity of a van or SUV? Something practical? Something sporty? Something in between?

2. Research crash tests and accident data available from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

3. Shop around for financing. If you can, apply for and get approval for a loan from a bank, credit union or other financier before you even visit the dealership. Being a “cash buyer” gives you an advantage when you do finally meet with the dealership’s financing person.

4. Test drive the car. Try to drive in conditions that will be similar to those under which you’ll drive every day.

5. Check pricing for your desired make and model at two or three dealerships and use that information to help you negotiate the best deal.

6. Get a firm quote, in writing. This should include not only the cost of the car, but any fees and the sales tax.

7. Inspect your new car carefully before driving off the lot. Make sure all the options you’ve ordered are included and that the body and paint are free of scratches or dents.

Finally, it’s important to consider the cost of auto insurance, although it seems that few people realize that what they pay for insurance can add significantly to the vehicle’s total cost.

Wise car buyers know to shop around for insurance and find out how costs compare. They also know to visit an independent insurance agency – like J. Peter & Associates .We can check with several companies to find the best combination of coverage and price.