There are several ways you can save on insurance costs. But be careful not to make one of the biggest insurance mistakes by cutting coverage that could create an insurance coverage gap.
An insurance agent is often your best resource when it comes to figuring out what coverage you really need. Erie Insurance Agent Justin Sonon with the Lowa Group in Pottstown, Pa., shares five of the biggest insurance mistakes that customers may make when they do not work with a licensed insurance agent.
Biggest insurance mistakes
1. Only purchasing the legally required amount of liability insurance coverage for your car.
Chances are you’ll need more liability insurance than the state requires. That’s because you could be on the line for much more than the limits on your policy. That could expose personal assets like your home or savings.
“Keep in mind that when you only buy the minimum amount of liability, you’re also likely to pay more out-of-pocket for losses incurred after an auto accident,” Justin says.
A better solution: Insurance industry experts generally recommend a minimum of $100,000 of bodily injury liability protection per person and $300,000 per accident.
2. Not buying a life insurance policy because you have coverage with your employer.
Even though your employer may have a top-notch life insurance program, it’s worth asking yourself the following questions:
- How long do you have to pay for the life insurance policy?
- If you retire or lose your job due to a layoff, what happens to your protection?
- Do the costs go up?
- If you leave the company, does the life insurance coverage go with you?
- Do I have enough coverage?
A better solution: Talk with an insurance agent about buying a separate life insurance policy. It’s often a more effective way to cover costs and protect loved ones left behind.
3. Having an “it-can’t-happen-to-me” mentality.
Unfortunately, bad things happen from time to time. And sometimes really bad things happen—a horrific car crash or a tragic accident in your backyard. These types of catastrophic losses could wipe you out financially.
A better solution: “Don’t wait until the crisis hits to try to figure out what to do,” Justin says. Get an extra layer of liability protection over and above your auto and homeowners policies in case you (or a covered family member) are sued because of an accident. Ask your agent about a personal catastrophe liability policy. The coverage is affordable and offers additional protection starting at $1 million with higher limits available.
4. Not purchasing accidental death and disability benefits because it’s optional auto insurance coverage.
A crumpled fender is one thing. But when a car accident results in the death or disability of an insured, it’s a whole different level of loss.
A better solution: Death and disability coverage provides benefits should an insured die or become disabled as a result of an auto accident. The amount of coverage varies depending on the nature of the accident and the injuries.
5. Selecting an insurance company by price alone.
It is important to choose a company with competitive prices. But you also want one that is financially sound to back your claims and provide good customer service.
A better solution: Check the financial health of a company with independent rating agencies like the A.M. Best Company or the Ward Group. You should select an insurance company that will respond to your needs and handle claims fairly and efficiently. A licensed insurance agent can also advise you about the coverage options and what protection you may need. Think of your agent as your insurance advocate.
“Don’t wait for an insurance claim to uncover an insurance mistake, leaving you without the coverage that you may need,” Justin says. “Be informed about your insurance decisions and turn to licensed insurance experts for help.”