This is not a catchy title nor an exciting blog but it is an important one and perhaps it will save you some money. If you have not gotten your annual renew for your home and auto insurance yet this year, you may want to brace yourself for pain when you open that envelope. Rates in Georgia are going up 25% to 50%! My car insurance went up 53%! I already had an atrocious premium given 3 teenage boys driving, so wow, was that a jolt when I saw the new number.

According to an agent friend of mine, Meredith Murray, gone are the days of parking yourself with one company and staying there for 30 years. She told a group that she spoke to recently that the mindset needs to shift to requoting every 2 or 3 years. She helped me save almost $2,000 on my home, auto, and umbrella policies. That is big money in my budget!

If you want to be prepared, do this:

  1. Pull out the most recent policies and check your renewal dates (really, in a perfect world, you have all of your insurance information in a nice spreadsheet with all of the relevant information so that you can see it at a glance). This might be a good time to set that up if you don’t have it.
  2. About 6 weeks prior to the renewal date, reach out to an agent who is not “captive.” (A captive agent can only sell for one company.) You can reach Meredith at if you need someone, but there are many who have the ability to quote from different companies.
    1. Note: you can switch companies in the middle of your year. If you prepaid the entire annual premium, you will get a refund.
  3. Have the agent review your coverages, your deductibles, and your current risks to be sure that you have the insurance that you need. Higher deductibles mean lower premiums but also more out-of-pocket if you have a claim.
  4. As soon as you get your renewal information, do a comparison on the rates.
  5. Consider paying the whole premium up-front. It saved me quite a bit on the total cost of the policy but it was a bit bite that I was not really planning for.
    1. If you do this, set up a monthly transfer for the first month of the policy to save 1/12th of the policy cost to your savings account so that you are ready for it next year.
  6. Auto-debits will be cheaper than pay-by-check premiums so review all of your options and find what will work for you.
  7. If you plan to switch, make sure that you contact the new agent and get the coverage in place, with the correct effective date, before you cancel the old insurance.
  8. When you cancel, be sure to use the correct effective date.
  9. If you do not have an umbrella policy (provides extra liability coverage on top of your home and auto liability coverage), you really should have one that is at least 1 times your net worth. This is critical coverage if you have teen drivers!
  10. If you have children in college, make sure that your homeowner’s policy extends to the dorm room/apartment. It should cover both belongings and liability in the event they start a fire/cause water damage, etc. to the building. I have seen policies where I had to specifically add the apartment and pay a small add-on premium and policies where it “extends” without specifically noting it so confirm this with your agent.
  11. Don’t put this off. It is a pain, you don’t have time to do it, it is a hassle and you may save yourself a significant amount of money!

Insurance is not a fun topic, not a fun payment to make, and it can save your world if you have the worst thing happen. Schedule some time today to take care of this important task.

To your financial success,