By: Blake Wimsey
Special to Guthrie News Page
Blake Wimsey operates Foundation Insurance in downtown Guthrie.
We’ve all heard the term “bundling” your home & auto, but insurance discounts go way beyond that. Before I explain some of the more obscure discounts, YES you should be bundling your home & auto. If you don’t have your home and auto with the same insurance company, chances are you are paying too much. Very rarely is it advantageous for you to split them up. If your current agent has them separated, I would ask for an explanation as to why that’s your best option.
One of the biggest discounts insurance companies give is the Advanced Quote discount. This basically means you’ve quoted your insurance with that company a week or more in advance before you intend on actually purchasing the insurance. Insurance companies offer this to help fend off some of the more irresponsible drivers who simply need to show proof of insurance immediately, only to cancel their insurance a week later.
Paid in full is another great discount if you’re in the position to take advantage of it. Any time you can pay your insurance in full, you’re going to save more money. The insurance company has to build entire billing systems around people who want their bill in the mail or want to call and make a payment every month. They also have to hire a certain amount of staff just to take payments and keep up with billing issues. If you pay in full, you’re saving the insurance company money, and in turn saving yourself money.
Protection Class is an underwriting factor that is often misunderstood. While it’s not actually a discount, insurance companies charge less to homeowners who live in a lower protection class. Protection class is calculated by how far away your home is from the nearest fire station, and whether or not there is an adequate amount of fire hydrants in the area. If your house catches on fire and you live far out in the country, the damage that occurs to your home will likely be much worse than if you’d lived in town, 1 mile from the fire department. The insurance company’s potential claim will be much higher in that case, and they’ll charge you more for that increased risk. Protection classes can also change over time as your area’s infrastructure changes.
Telematics is a newer discount that insurance companies have started offering. Many companies will offer to send you a computer device that tracks your driving habits for a certain period of time. The device will tell the insurance company how risky of a driver you are, and after your trial period of using it, you could possibly be eligible for a very large discount. The biggest one I have seen is 24%. Many people don’t sign up for these discounts because they feel like it’s an invasion of privacy. I totally get that, but consider this—your insurance cannot go up after your trial period, even if you’re a terrible driver. And if you could achieve a 20% discount, and you pay $100/month for auto insurance, that’s $240/year. That’s basically like getting 3 months a year in free insurance!
These discounts are available to almost everyone, so ask your agent to help you find as many discounts as you can so you aren’t leaving money on the table!