MADISON, Wis., May 22 -- The Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance issued the following news release:
Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel offers some tips to consumers who are looking to maximize their insurance premium dollars.
"Saving money on your insurance premiums is an important part of a sound financial plan," said Nickel. "Just as someone would periodically compare mortgage interest rates to their current rate, they should also be reviewing any available options to lower their insurance premiums."
Reviewing your insurance coverage annually will not only ensure that you have the right amount of coverage, but it will help you spot ways you can reduce your overall premiums. Commissioner Nickel offered the following suggestions:
* Make sure you are receiving all the discounts to which you are entitled. Discounts are typically given to people who have more than one policy with the same insurer; have security or safety systems, such as smoke detectors, deadbolts and fire alarms; are 55 or older and retired; or live in homes located in eligible homeowner's associations. Some insurers even offer discounts if all residents of the home are nonsmokers.
* Consider increasing your deductible. If your deductible is $250, raising it to $500 should decrease your premiums. Raise it to $1,000 and you could save even more. Just two caveats: 1) make sure you can pay the higher deductible if disaster strikes; and 2) check with your lender as some home loans have a clause that specifies a maximum property insurance deductible.
* Make home improvements. Upgrading your electrical, plumbing and heating systems could improve the safety of your home and, therefore, reduce your premiums. Plus, certain energy saving improvements may be eligible for federal tax credits. Repair or replace your older roof since insurance policies do not cover losses resulting from wear and tear. Plus a newer roof is more likely to protect your home from storm damage.
* Don't over insure. If you drive an older, less expensive vehicle, consider eliminating collision and/or comprehensive coverage.
* Maintain a good credit history. Insurance companies are increasingly using credit information to price homeowner's insurance policies. Protect your credit standing by paying bills on time and keeping your credit balances low. Check your credit report on a regular basis and have errors corrected promptly.
Nickel said the number one piece of advice he gives is: Shop around. He suggests consumers work with an independent insurance agent to make sure their insurance coverage meets their needs for the spring, summer and beyond.
"Wisconsin has a vast network of independent insurance agents and a large selection of insurance companies," said Nickel. "Independent agents will be able to help find the coverage you need to help make your financial plan work for you."
OCI offers a number of publications on insurance for consumers on its Web site at oci.wi.gov. Those publications include Tips for Saving on Auto Insurance, Tips for Saving on Homeowner's Insurance, Tips for Buying Insurance on the Internet, Consumers Guide to Insurance, and many others. Visit www.insureUonline.org for more insurance-related tips and information.
The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) offers a number of publications on insurance for consumers on its Web site at oci.wi.gov. Those publications include Tips for Saving on Auto Insurance, Tips for Saving on Homeowner's Insurance, Tips for Buying Insurance on the Internet, Consumers Guide to Insurance, and many others. Visit www.insureUonline.org for more insurance-related tips and information.
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