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With Homeowner and Auto Rates on the Rise, What Can You Do?

Just because insurance rates are rising does not mean consumers are powerless. According to a year-over-year report from MarketScout, automobile premiums climbed 3 percent while homeowner's insurance increased between 4-5 percent, depending on the value of the home. 

Between the first two months of Q4 2012, the researchers also tracked the greatest month-on-month increase in 11 years for the "high-net-worth" home market. Rates went from plus 2 percent in October to plus 5 percent in November.  

Your insurance broker may be able to negotiate a lower rate for you if your history of claims and your credit rating are both strong. Insurers sometimes reduce rates or grant credits on a case-by-case basis, so start conducting an assessment of the steps you can take to ease the pain of insurance costs. HUB International has a few suggestions:

Bundle your coverage

Placing coverage with one insurance company often reduces the premium for both policies, simplifies claims settlements for losses that involve automobile and property and can provide account billing for both lines of coverage.

Indeed, when it comes to insurance, loyalty pays. According to government-reviewed advice from The Insurance Information Institute (III), some consumers who have stayed with the same insurer for a long time may be able to earn discounts as a result. If you are thinking of consolidating your coverage, or are considering moving some or all of your policies to a new company, be sure to check the rates and inquire with your current insurer whether it can offer you any incentives to stay.

Review premium saving features with your broker

When your insurance rates rise, it's a great time to talk to a HUB broker and go over any changes you can make to positively impact your plan:

  • Raise your deductibles to the dollar amount you would be able to pay on a property loss. Smaller, more frequent claims can hurt you, so paying the higher deductible can lead to lower premiums.
  • Review security credits for alarms, water flow protection, back-up power and gated communities.
  • Similarly, review credits for updating utilities or your roof. Investing in your home can provide the added return of lower insurance bills.

If you have young drivers

Premium rates for personal auto insurance are rising. Add to that the fact car insurance costs have historically been higher for younger drivers and it's wise to exhaust all options for slashing the price tag on your family's coverage.

By confirming whether you are eligible for good student credits or for student-away-at-school credits, you may be able to significantly reduce how much you pay for younger family members' car insurance. Talk to your broker about whether your student's grades are high enough to qualify for a price break. For young family members who spend much of the year away at school without a car, you may also be able to earn a discount.

Check if your personal property coverage is adequate

Hurricanes, floods, and a slew of other natural disasters have taught us that property coverage is not always what it seems. Understand what your policy does and does not cover in order to prevent unpleasant surprises. Your HUB broker can help you determine what supplemental coverage you may need.

  • Utilize scheduled articles endorsement. This option enables you to secure additional coverage for certain items or broaden limits and coverage at a lower rate than what you would get by increasing personal property coverage.
  • If you own multiple homes, coordinate property limits between properties for potential savings.

Review Liability Limits - Is an umbrella policy right for you?

Take a look at your current liability limits. Talk to a HUB broker about whether opting for an umbrella policy may enable you to increase limits across all exposures.

Again, even with the steady increases on insurance rates, homeowner and auto insurance customers can take matters into their own hands to earn discounts and save money. Reassess your current policies to find areas where you can cut costs without cutting coverage.