How to fight rising insurance rates

Don't Waste Your Money

Insurance rates -- for both homes and cars -- have been going up and up, mostly due to all the natural disasters in the country in recent years.

But some simple steps could lower your insurance costs.

Decade of Disasters

The March 2, 2012, tornado outbreak is turning into the latest billion dollar disaster in a decade of hurricanes, floods and windstorms.

It all means higher insurance rates for both homes and cars for all of us.

Jim Myers, however, decided enough was enough.  

"I got my car insurance bill and it was about 8 percent higher than the year before," he said.

After reading a recent New York Times article called " Car Policy For Less, But Only if You Call," he decided to follow its suggestions for lowering his soaring rates.

What He Did

"I called an independent agent and got a quote for the same amount of insurance for about half," Myers said.

He was stunned. So he tried again.

"I called another agent, and got an even lower quote," he said.

The New York Times says insurers have been quietly raising rates everywhere to make up for all the recent disaster losses.

But it says they are not required in most states to immediately tell you when you qualify for a reduction, such as turning age 40 or 50, or having a string of claim-free years.

Myers got back to his insurer, and was rewarded.

"We got the insurance for about $850 instead of $1,680," he said.

He also found that raising his deductible a bit, such as from $250 to $500 also made a difference and lowered his premium.

He just wishes he called earlier.

"Every year for 26 years they sent me a bill, and I sent them a check, and never thought about it much," Myers said.

Remember, it never hurts to ask, whether its your home or your car. And if you haven't spoken with your insurance agent in a few years, you may be missing out on some discounts you don't know about.

So make some calls so you don't waste your money.

Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.

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