Mom's Guide to Buying Insurance

Fran
Fran Majidi
May 6, 2019

Moms do much more than we think they do. You probably already knew this, but did you know that over 85% of moms today handle home expenses including insurance payments? Even if you live in a traditional household in which the husband is the primary breadwinner, chances are that mom’s the one choosing insurance for the car and home and taking care of all household expenses. In honor of Mother’s Day 2019, we decided to give mom a hand by simplifying her job of protecting the entire family. Here are some tips for you, mom!

Credit Cards:

Did you know that your credit affects your insurance? Unless you live in California and a handful of other states, your insurance is going up if you don’t keep your credit in good shape. Yes, that means paying your credit cards on time and using them as little as possible. You may want to contact a credit bureau like Experian to see how you score and to see what’s on your record.

The Kids:

Are your children all grown up and already asking for a car? Beware that new drivers have the highest insurance rates around. Enroll your kids in a defensive driving or driver safety class right away for a discount. Distracted driving is common for young drivers so make sure they are aware that they need to stay off their phones when behind the wheel. Your best bet, if you’re on a budget, is to hold off on buying the kids() a car unless they are paying their own exorbitant insurance payments. Chances are that young drivers living in the house will probably raise your rates unless you exclude them on your policy, but that’s better than lending a young driver the car and not having coverage if they get into an accident because they were excluded. There are a few things you can do to offset the high rates, like a good student driver discount.

Multi-car Policy?

If you and your husband have separate car insurance policies you should combine them one on one policy to save anywhere between 10% and 25% each month. Most car insurance companies cap the multi-car policy at four or five cars so put the kids on your policy if the insurer allows it. That way, they pay less and you get a discount. Some car insurance companies will not allow you to add cars onto a multi-car policy if you do not live in the same household or are not related. Some only require that you all live in the same household. Keep in mind that it’s a good idea to have the same liability and uninsured motorist coverage on all vehicles to avoid confusion if there ever is an accident. Remember that insurance follows the car, not the person, so if you have collision and comprehensive insurance on one car under your multi-car policy, but you get into an accident in the second car, your collision and comprehensive insurance would not apply. How much easier will your life be with one payment, one renewal date and one big discount? In states that allow stacking, you can also stack insurance coverages on multiple cars with a small charge. Stacking effectively raises limits to a combined amount.

College:

If your child goes away to college, you may still be able to keep him/ her on your car insurance policy if (s)he is still living in the same state. However, if your child is going to school out of state, you may not be able to keep that car on a multi-policy discount. Make sure your child’s insurance policy meets that state’s minimum requirements. Certain factors will also affect his/her rate. For instance, if your child is attending school in an urban area, you’ll be paying more in insurance premiums. Whatever you do, do not exclude your child on your policy if (s)he plans to use your car when home for the holidays. Make that mistake and you’ll be paying for an entire accident completely out of pocket (gasp!).

Home and Auto Bundle:

Most insurers will let you bundle home and auto insurance in addition to a multi-car discount. All you have to do is to insure your home with a homeowners insurance policy from the same car insurance carrier. You can save about 8%. If you have separate policies with different carriers, call each one and see which gives you a better rate for a bundle. Even better still, use SmartFinancial to compare many rates at once.

Comparison Shop Auto Insurance Annually:

Your car insurance rate changes all the time, especially when you experience life changes, like moving homes or changing jobs, getting divorced or getting into an accident. Regardless of shifts in your lifestyle, certain factors will still impact your insurance so it’s important to compare rates each year to make sure you’re not paying too much. A company like SmartFinancial.com will do the footwork for you after you share information about your car and driving history. You will then be put in touch with an agent who can customize your auto insurance policy.

Check for Discounts:

You won’t get a discount unless you ask for it unless your agent is having an especially good day. Not only are good student, bundling and multi-car policies discounts you’re eligible for, but there are others too:

  • Early renewal
  • Low income
  • Senior
  • Affinity (i.e. alma mater)
  • Military
  • Accident free
  • Good (or safe) driver
  • Low mileage
  • Defensive driver
  • Driver training anti-lock brakes
  • Anti-theft
  • Green/hybrid car
  • Safety/restraint
  • Auto-pay
  • Pay-in-full
  • Paperless

Adjust Your Payments:

You can adjust your monthly payments to make them more affordable by raising the deductible (both for your home and car). The deductible is what you have to pay before your collision or comprehensive pays towards repairs or a loss caused by a car accident. So, if you choose a $1,000 deductible, you have to have to pay that amount first before insurance kicks in to cover the rest. Do you have that much in an emergency fund? The deductible works in a similar way with homeowners insurance. If a storm rips off your roof, you will be covered for that repair after you pay the deductible. The higher the deductible is, the less you pay each month.

Don’t Confuse Warranties with Insurance:

They seem almost the same and have the same confusing fine print. Basically, warranties are meant to cover any and all repairs whereas insurance is really meant to be used as sparingly as possible and only pays for repairs and replacements when the loss happens due to a fire, storm or some type of disaster that is explicitly covered by homeowners insurance. Never file a claim for anything small because you have to pay a deductible for insurance to cover the repair. This goes for a car and home. You may end up spending less money reaching into your pocket. You also won’t get dinged as being high risk. Using your auto or homeowners insurance too often (more than once or twice and for serious situations) could get you dropped by your carrier. Finding another one after getting dropped will be difficult and expensive.

Get Life Insurance for Everyone:

While a term life policy may not make sense for a child, a whole or universal life insurance coverage for a child may be just what you need if you’d like to start a safe savings account for your child. While it may not pay entirely for college, it will be enough for a down payment on a first home. It’s one of the safest savings accounts out there. Also, most families think of the main breadwinner in the home as someone to insure, but mom, you should be covered too! Life insurance only gets more expensive as you get older so shop several carriers at once for the most competitive rate. SmartFinancial can shop those rates for you without making your phone ring off the hook for the next few weeks.

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