How I Saved $308 on Insurance and my Alarm in 31 minutes.

My home insurance has been steadily going up every year. Then I got the most recent statement where it went up 15%. That’s crazy! I’ve never even made a claim. I know extreme weather events are on the rise, people’s homes cost more than they did before, but a 15% increase in one year is insane. Now insurance companies get away with this all the time because they simply increase the price, send a letter and then automatically renew if you don’t say anything.

But I decided enough was enough so I called my insurance company and what a marvelous experience it is to negotiate your rates down. Now, all of these companies have a loyalty team that is allowed to give you discounts, treat you with the utmost respect and basically try to keep your business. But here’s the thing, you don’t even need to leave. So I was directed to my insurance companies loyalty team and Colin, in the most cheery voice possible, started going through my policy. They walked through all of the details of my policy to make sure everything is correct.

“Do I have smoke alarms?”

“You bet, four of em.”

“Vinyl siding?”

“Absolutely.”

After going through all this we went over the coverage, I was happy with the standard level of coverage with sewer back up added that I already had, so onto the next step.

Should I increase my deductible?

Here’s the tricky part, it’s easy to reduce your fee if you increase your deductible. But even though you shouldn’t use your insurance for small claims, bad stuff does happen and you’ll likely pay a deductible someday.

So you have to do the math, but don’t worry it’s easy. For example, let’s say increasing your deductible from $1,000 to $2,500 reduces your deductible by $100 per year. To see if this is good you take the difference in deductible ($2,500 - $1,000 = $1,500) and divide that by the savings per year ($100) so $1,500 / $100 = 15 years. So do you think you’ll make a claim within 15 years? Likely better to stick with the low deductible. Or if the higher deductible would be hard to raise if you had to make a claim, then you’re likely better off just staying with the lower deductible.

Side note - Some of you may be outraged that I didn’t include time value of money in the calculation. I agree, time value of money is important, but the above math is just for a thumb in the air while you’re on the phone.

I decided to leave my deductibles where they were. And so Colin made the best offer he could which cut the increase in half on home insurance. After that, we discussed auto insurance and he was able to lower those as well, even though I increased my coverage.

The whole call took 22 minutes and I ended up saving $140 per year.

That’s the equivalent of making $380 per hour (with just the first year of savings!). Where else are you making over $100 per hour?

You can also quickly check out insurance rates at Geico, which is owned by Warren Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway or State Farm or Progressive who are also known for low rates. I’d suggest doing this before you call your insurance company so you have an idea of what you could get if you switched.

So I was inspired. Dialing for dollars was easier than I thought so I called up my alarm company, ADT. Now my alarm system is paid off and the bill has been going up. I expected this as they were bought out in 2016 by Apollo, a private equity company. These companies typically move in and quickly cut expenses and raise prices so they can create value quickly. But heck with that, I have a phone. So I call, route myself to the cancellation line and just ask if my smoke detector is linked to the alarm system. Why? I wanted to confirm this based on my home insurance phone call and heck the cancellation line is always the quickest to answer. Then I just simply said “my rate’s been going up, what can you do?” A ridiculously quiet voice (seriously ADT, what type of headsets have you given them) asks for a minute and comes back “We can lower your monthly rate from $36 to $22.” I was stunned, I didn’t even have to try hard. But, as you should always do in negotiating, never accept the first offer so I asked “Is that the best you can do”… It was.

But I wasn’t disappointed, it took 9 minutes and I’m saving $168 per year. Just on the first year savings that’s $1,120 per hour. Where do you make over $1,000 per hour? I’m guessing nowhere.

So call your insurance, alarm, phone, internet, etc. right now and just ask for a discount. Then do it again every year. After all...

Negotiating is the only place where you’ll likely make over $100 an hour, maybe even $1,000 an hour from the comfort of your home.

 

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