Negotiate insurance rates

Shopping for car or home insurance can be a long and expensive process if you're not sure where to begin. Further, many people are unsure of the price range they should be paying and thus settle for the first offers that are made by their insurance agents. This approach can be self-defeating because insurance rates change so often, and it's easy to find better deals if you know where to look.

People tend to put insurance on the back burner after they've purchased their policies. That's because insurance is a particularly tricky subject to grasp, and when it comes to filing a claim, drivers and homeowners dread spending hours trying to figure out deductibles, expenses and repair costs. Let alone, after they've filed a claim, their insurance rates may increase.

However tedious it is to find a rate that works for you, it's worth it in the long run. Having cheaper insurance can save you tons of money, which can be used to update safety features in your home or car, potentially leading to insurance discounts.

So before you sign your name on that insurance agreement, make sure you're at least trying a few of these steps:

Come prepared to ask questions
If you accept the first or even second offer from the first insurance company you speak with, then you could be missing out on potential savings. In many cases, insurance providers will only notify you of eligible discounts if you ask beforehand. Ask what makes their service different than any others. Also, do some background research into comparable rates from other companies and ask how your providers plan to offer better rates. The more you have a conversation with an agent, the more likely you'll be able to get to the bottom of some kind of agreement.

Be aware of hidden fees
One of the problems with insurance rates is that they may not always be provided to you in an upfront manner. That's because some packages increase over time or contain small fees you may not notice when you first sign. Look out for administrative fees, recurring costs that don't really mean anything and additional expenses on top of deductibles and premiums. These add-ons can make your total costs too high for the type of coverage you're getting.

Watch for gradual rate hikes
Even if you're a valuable and loyal customer, insurance companies may use that to their advantage. Staying with the same company for a long time means you're likely to do so in the future as well. Your provider could be slowly raising your rates over a long period of time simply because it knows you probably won't leave. It realizes canceling a policy and moving to another provider is a hassle.

Check back in regularly
Many policies should be updated every six months because that's how long most packages are sold for. Even though you may have paid the entire six-month rate upfront, you should check your policy terms routinely so that you're avoiding unnecessary coverage or costs. This could also be a good time to ask for discounts and see about annual savings specials.

Look elsewhere
When it comes down to it, if you're not satisfied with your rates, the best thing you can do is find a different insurance company. There are typically several different providers in any given area and you should use this to your benefit by shopping around and comparing quotes.

Insurance rates are not set in stone and can be changed fairly easily. Get the most out of your coverage by securing the best rate.

CoverHound can help you find insurance quotes online.

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