Don’t leave money on the table: Talk to your agent about auto insurance discounts


We’re all looking for bargains, and auto insurance is no different than anything else we buy. You should get enough coverage to protect yourself, but don’t want to pay more than you have to. To keep you auto insurance premiums low, first and foremost, be a safe driver and avoid moving violation tickets. Your past experience definitely affects your rates. It’s also important to maintain a good credit history.

Assuming you are a good driver, there are many discounts that you may qualify for. We’ve offered a list of common discounts but be aware that they aren’t all available in every state and not every insurance company offers the same discounts. The savings potential may be substantial enough to shop around among insurers. A good independent agent will be familiar with and suggest the best potential discounts, but you should be sure to ask- particularly if you have had some life change that affects your circumstances, which your agent may not know about unless you tell them.

Here are some of the most common auto insurance discounts

Low mileage: If you work at home, live in a city where you mostly take public transportation, or drive very little, you may be eligible for a low mileage auto discount. The threshold for low mileage may vary by state or insurer. Generally, under 5,000 miles qualifies for the best discounts, but some insurance companies may have low mileage discounts for up to 15,000 miles a year.

Multiple vehicles in one household. If your household is insuring more than one private passenger vehicle with the same insurance company, you may be eligible for a discount.

Bundling. An insurer may offer a substantial discount if you package or “bundle” more than one policy with them. Typically, this would include bundling your auto and your homeowners, condo or rental policy.

Senior discounts. According to research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, senior have fewer auto accidents per capita than any other age group. If you’ve just turned 65 or just retired, ask your agent about senior discounts. Some insurers offer senior discounts at even lower age thresholds.

Driver training. Taking an approved defensive driving or auto safety course might qualify you for a discount. Typically, these discounts are available to students or seniors, but check with your agent.

Antitheft devices and safety technology. If you have alarm systems, GPS tracking systems, kill switches, disabling technology, or other anti-theft devices, talk to your insurance agent. Certain safety technologies may also earn a reduced rate. If you have anti-lock brakes, passive restraint systems like airbags, or other safety features, let your agent know.

Being a student with good grades. Ask about student discounts. Many states and many insurers make discounts available to student policyholders who maintain good grades.

Prepayments or paperless payments. If you pay for your insurance upfront rather than in installments, you might earn a savings. Some insurance companies also offer a discount for enrolling in automatic E-bill or automated electronic payments.

Loyalty discounts. Have you been with the same insurer for a number of years? Some will offer loyal customer discounts.

Membership discounts and affiliations. Check with your insurance agent to see if they are affiliated with any membership discounts, such as through AAA or AARP, or other affiliate organizations. Also, check to see if there are any discounts available for active members of the military.

Celebrate spring with Easter Egg Hunts, Patriots’ Day and Marathon Monday


This weekend, most of the country’s celebrations include Easter and Passover, but for many of us in New England, it’s also Marathon Monday weekend. In Massachusetts, Monday is celebrated as a state holiday, not for the Marathon, but for Patriots’ Day – which is only celebrated in Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Maine.

Every year, the Boston Marathon has been held on Patriots’ Day, the third Monday in April.  And since 1959, the Boston Red Sox have also been scheduled for a home game.

You can learn more about Why Boston Holds a Marathon on Patriot’s Day at a story that ran in The Atlantic a few years ago.

If you plan to attend the Marathon, the Boston Discovery Guide offers a Boston Marathon Guide featuring maps, schedules, routes, times, transportation, viewing tips and more. But if you prefer to celebrate the historical significance, see their guide to the Patriots’ Day Reenactment Schedule – 2017

Hopefully, none of the marathon runners or patriots will be stepping on Easter Eggs in their travels. Saturday is a huge day for for Easter Egg hunts, with many scheduled throughout the region – a great way to celebrate Spring outdoors with your kids.

Here is where you can find one near you:

Connecticut Easter Egg Hunts – 2017 and 2017 Easter Activities in Connecticut

In Massachusetts, find Easter Egg Hunts Around Boston; 2017 Easter Guide to absolutely every Easter event in Greater Worcester! and the Big list of Pioneer Valley Easter Egg Hunts.

Easter egg hunts and events this weekend in Rhode Island

New Hampshire Easter Egg Hunts 2017

In Maine, find Easter Egg Hunts for greater Portland

Vermont calendar of Easter egg hunts

A rogue’s gallery of insurance fraudsters, 2016 style


Insurance fraud is a crime that we all pay for in the form of higher premiums for our home, auto and business insurance. However, 10% of the population still thinks that “insurance fraud doesn’t hurt anyone.” Nothing could be further from the truth! According to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, fraud steals about $80 billion a year across all lines of insurance. Yikes. And for some people, the cost is much higher than dollars and cents – if you are unlucky enough to be one of the victims of these criminals, you could lose your identity, your good credit, your life savings, or even your life.

Every year, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud issues lists a rogue’s gallery of the worst, most egregious insurance criminals from the prior year. Recently, they named 8 criminals to the 2016 Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame. One of the purposes in publicizing the list is to educate and alert you, the consumer, about the scope and type of fraud crimes that are out there.

Here’s a sneak preview of some of their crimes to give you an idea of the severity – you can read the full stories of their crimes from the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud site.

  • Neighborhood blows up in botched insurance arson
  • Epic crash ring braked after $279-million whiplash spree
  • Lawless libido traps cheater in partner-swap comp romp
  • Oh deer! Mob associate uses deer parts to stage car wrecks
  • Samaritan scammer shotguns legs to steal disability insurance
  • Dad murders infant for $750,000 of life-insurance money
  • Bedridden girl starves to death while nurse shops
  • Doctor peddles $60 million of unneeded drugs to poor people

Reporting insurance fraud

One way to combat this type of crime is to report it. Here are some ways to do that.

 

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The value of working with a local, independent insurance agent


Check out this short video clip on the value of working with an independent insurance agent. We spied it on Twitter the other day, posted by one of our great insurance company partners, Safety Insurance. It talks about the value, expertise and advocacy services that agents provide 24/7.

Joe Harrington of Markham Group, one of our Renaissance Alliance agency members,
made a good case for why you should use an independent agent in a blog post a few years ago. We think he said it well, so we reprint it here:

For some people it does not matter where they buy their insurance. That decision could be costing them money, service and proper protection. Buying insurance is not like buying gasoline at a gas station. It is an important financial decision in protecting those things that are important to you such as your family, home, autos and business.
Independent agencies differ greatly from direct insurance carriers or the internet based insurance companies. In brief, here are the three ways to buy insurance:

Captive Agents: Insurance agents that sell you the insurance policy of one (1) direct carrier.

Internet Based Agents: Agents who potentially represent multiple insurance carriers, but are unable to provide the best customer service and personal knowledge to properly protect you with your changing needs.

Independent Insurance Agents: Agents who represent an average of six – eight insurance carriers. Independent agents are able to research these carriers to find you the best combination of price, coverage and services to properly protect your assets.
Your Independent Insurance Agent:

  • Is a licensed professional with strong customer and community ties
  • Provides excellent customer service and competitive premiums because your agent can access coverage from multiple insurance carriers
  • Because an independent agency represents multiple carriers, the agent can provide flexibility as your insurance needs change. If your insurance needs no longer match your present insurance carrier, the independent agent can easily transition you to another carrier
  • Assists you when you have a claim
  • Is your consultant, working with you to determine your proper insurance needs
  • Saves you premium by looking at the best combination of price, coverage and service
  • Provides full service by offering a full range of insurance products such as home, renters, condo, auto, business, life and health
  • Knows you by name and not by a policy number. An independent agent treats you like a person

We’ve also compiled some articles from other insurance partners and other financial experts who offer more testimony about the benefits of working with your local independent insurance agent.

Don’t have an agent? Find a local, independent insurance agency near you.

 

 

Spring cleaning hacks & tips to make the job easier


Spring is in the air, even if we still have a few iffy weather days to muddle through. It’s time to do a good annual home cleaning and checkup – Bob Vila has a a good home maintenance list and Martha Stewart offers a helpful checklist of spring cleaning tasks (PDF). But as you go about your spring cleaning, remember to stay safe – Paul Davidson Restoration reminds us that home-related injuries cause 21 million medical visits a year and claim many lives – so check out his tips for safe spring cleaning (PDF).

We’ve also hunted down a few videos on helpful hacks to make household spring cleaning a little easier. And if you find them helpful, you might like our prior post on Handy household hacks: creative uses for everyday products.