Homeowners Guide to Home Insurance Discounts, Reduced Rates and Savings

In today’s economy, many homeowners are juggling higher bills on less earnings — facing tightened family budgets in the wake of rising costs, credit limits or even job loss. Yet there’s no need to struggle with the cost of home insurance. Despite industry increases, homeowners may be able to reduce their insurance rates by as much as 30 percent.

Nevertheless, many homeowners aren’t using insurance discounts to lower rates — even those who apply discounts may qualify for more savings than they’re getting. And lowered rates are still possible, even in today’s economy.

Consider the findings reported by independent insurance agent association, Trusted Choice, in a 2009 national survey:

“53 million household respondents ‘admitted they are probably not taking advantage of all homeowners insurance discounts or said that they simply didn’t know’ about policyholder discounts they likely qualify for.”

The survey also found that the largest percentage of respondents, about 26%, estimated they save 6-10% on their insurance premiums by using discounts. In fact, many insurance consumers could be saving significantly more-as much as 30%, according to independent insurance agencies, which often shop on behalf of consumers and help them find discounts and compare rates.

Homeowners are usually aware of the more common discounts — such as a multiple policy discount to insure both home and auto under one carrier. But there are other discounts and savings they miss.

How savvy are you as a homeowner and insurance consumer?

Find out using this quick list to explore or measure your potential for insurance discounts. It’s also the knowledge you and your insurance agent need to reduce rates for savings:

  • Dual duty — Don’t overlook the most common discount available: multiple policy discounts. When the same company insures your home and car, you can probably reduce your overall insurance costs by 10 to 15 percent.
  • New home, new homeowner? The same criteria used to qualify your home for a specific mortgage is often the same that qualifies your policy for discounts.
  • Living in a gated community? Then you may be eligible for discounts. Be sure to ask about auto insurance discounts if your car is equally ‘protected’ to boot.
  • Rooftop savings — Some insurance companies offer hail resistant roof discounts for Class 4 roofs — naturally these credits may vary with locale. Moreover, be sure to ask your insurer about potential discounts before putting a new roof on your house — you’ll probably want to capture savings if available and a flat roof without roof warranty may disqualify you from your current coverage altogether.
  • Be a new policyholder — You may find additional savings extended to new customers based on new rating models that offer a ‘sign up’ discount. If your insurer extends this discount, your insurance agent might be able to capture it by applying for a new policy with the same company.
  • Your track record counts — make sure you explore discounts for home insurance customers who have a claim-free track record… when was the last time you filed a home insurance claim? A 10-year history usually qualifies you for this discount; if you’ve never filed a claim, you may save as much as 20 percent.
  • Risk reductions — Ask your agent to identify risk reduction discounts addressing a range of interior and exterior factors: fire and smoke alarms, electrical wiring, fireplace / chimney safety, heating apparatus, burglar alarms, curb and gutter system and landscaping elements. Proximity to a fire hydrant and your community’s fire department also applies.
  • Preventive maintenance and home security – Make sure your insurance agent is aware of any alarm systems or preventive measures you take to secure property and to keep your home safe. Though discount criteria varies, you may be able to get a savings of 10 to 15 percent for a combined system that may include two or more measures: deadbolt locks, lockable garages and storage buildings, fire alarms, fire sprinklers, fire extinguishers, a burglar alarm or home security system.
  • Good breeding gone bad — Like it or not, some pets have a reputation. You may adore your family pet but if Fido is a dog breed considered bite-happy or dangerous, your insurance rating may be affected or your coverage in jeopardy. Choose your pet wisely — be aware of the little issues that can turn your insurance into a big issue.
  • Score card — Expect your credit score to impact your home insurances rates. If married, you may be able to reduce your rate by listing the top scorer as the first named on the insurer’s application. Plus, if you’ve had a less-than credit score and recently improved your numbers, let your insurance agent know. You may be able to get a policy adjustment: a lower insurance rate is still possible without the need to write a new policy.
  • Raise the limit — consider the difference a deductible makes. You can probably lower your rate by raising your deductible — $2,500 is the standard deductible and you can expect a lower rate if you raise it to $5,000.
  • Agent vs. agent and the extended marketplace — Is your insurance agent an independent who can tap a broad product range? Or an agent affiliated with a name-brand company? Know the difference. Independent agents can shop around — explore options across the marketplace. Brand agents don’t usually have the same agility — they’re usually confined to the company practice or limited to brand products. Loyalty counts. Still, if you’re committed to one company brand you may be just as limited as the insurance agent who is equally missing rate reductions, discounts and savings offered by the brand’s competition.
  • ‘Home pride’ and stewardship are vital — Even many insurance agents don’t understand the role that stewardship plays in harnessing the broadest range of discounts possible. Why? The better care you take of your home, the more attractive you’ll look to insurance carriers. And the best way to harness discounts is to identify as many discounts as possible — it stands to reason that more companies mean more potential for discounts.

So, you’ll want to make sure your home qualifies for coverage from every company that offers coverage in your locale since increased competition generally decreases rates and opens your access to discounts.

In a nutshell, homeowners applying the discounts above will soon realize the many ways they can save on their home insurance — even when times are tough.

Get started on discounts for savings….

  • Shop around to compare insurance company providers and rates — what companies provide home insurance in your community?
  • Get guidance on the details — an independent insurance agent isn’t tied to one brand, so these agents can help you see the whole marketplace and get the apples-to-apples lens you need to compare products, coverage and rates.
  • Identify discounts — make sure you identify the common discounts most homeowners hit, along with other discounts that frequently miss.
  • Do the ‘homework’ — the work at home that demonstrates stewardship makes you eligible to select from the broadest insurance product range possible.
  • Optimize selection, and then maximize discounts to benefit from reduced raters and savings.

Investing In Quality Auto Repair Services – Is It Worth It?

Auto Repair Services- Why You Should Invest In Quality Auto Repair Services?

Investing in quality auto repair services can help you enjoy a safe and smooth drive. While you can always take a DIY approach for the general car maintenance services such as an oil change, tune-ups or diagnostics but always hire a professional for the complex car problems. If you want to get a better value of your car in future then you should know how to take care of your car.

Choosing A Quality Repair Shop

Always get referrals/recommendations from your friends, relatives, coworkers and other people you trust. Co-workers can help you find a good repair shop in your locality. It is always a good idea to find a good repair shop before you need one. This way you won’t have to pick someone randomly.

Thanks To The Internet!

Look online to learn about the top repair shops operating in your locality. Compare the different quotes to choose the best deal. Ask them to show the license and also check whether it’s an updated license or not.

Consult local consumer protection agency to see if there is any complaint against the repair shop from the old or existing customers. Above all, you should make sure that they can fix the problem easily.

Tips

Have a look at some of the following tips to consider before you start your search for the best repair shop:-

Tip 1

Read The Car Manual

You should always take time to read the manual and understand the specific instructions mentioned in the schedule. A manual has all the necessary information. So you should go through all the instructions carefully before choosing any repair station.

Tip 2

No Quick Decisions

Remember, it’s always a good idea to shop around for the best deal before you meet a breakdown. It will help you to make the right choice because you are not choosing someone randomly. Never ever choose a repair shop/repair mechanic without checking the testimonials. A little bit of research can help you choose the right service provider for your car.

Tip 3

Word Of Mouth

It is always a good idea to get referrals/recommendations from your friends and family. Word of mouth is still considered as one of the best ways to find a reliable professional.

Conclusion

Put a little bit of effort to find quality auto repair services. It will give you many benefits in the long run.

Happy Driving!

Micro Entrepreneurs

Micro entrepreneurs are the owners of small businesses that have fewer than five employees and have startup costs of less than $35,000 and annual revenue of less than $100,000. There are nearly 21.5 million micro entrepreneurs in the U.S. Examples of micro entrepreneurs are owners of bakeries, beauty parlors, child care facilities, repair shops, arts and crafts shops, painting businesses, contracting businesses, family-owned shops, auto body shops, small-scale restaurants, and small-inventory trading businesses.

Micro entrepreneurs face many hurdles in getting startup financing, and they sometimes lack the skills necessary to manage the financial aspect of their business. As a result, many micro entrepreneurs cannot grow and develop their business beyond a micro enterprise. Various micro enterprise development programs have helped micro entrepreneurs achieve great success and growth. These micro enterprise development programs have immensely helped micro entrepreneurs who lack collateral needed to secure a loan or those who have low or no credit by providing them with training, support, help in developing a solid business plan, and assistance in building their businesses. Successful micro entrepreneurs have contributed much to society by creating wealth, economic assets, and jobs.

How To Become A Micro Entrepreneur

It is essential to study the market thoroughly and understand that market’s customers before deciding on the type and kind of product or service to be offered.

Here are some suggestions:

Work out a sound business plan by doing extensive research and seeking help from the various micro enterprise development programs.

Make arrangements for the startup capital by using savings, opting for a micro loan program, or applying for a grant.

Do extensive market research, get the necessary training and skills required, and learn how to use technology to help run your business easily.

Study the competition and analyze how you can better them.

Get a good retail space to run your business as well as decide on the price, making sure it is right and has a profit margin; decide how to utilize the profit, whether you want to save it or reinvest and expand your micro business.

Make sure that the quality of the product is never compromised and that your customers are happy, ensuring customer retention.

Assistance for Micro Entrepreneurs

Micro entrepreneurs in the U.S. are in need of training and skill development workshops as well as help in utilizing technology to help run their business. Some micro entrepreneurs need access to easily available funds for startup and growth. In order to encourage more people to become micro entrepreneurs, state, federal, and private sectors should make available ample funding for such enterprises.

With a little effort, you can find firms that sell their services as well as products to help run successful businesses. You can even seek professional help to arrange business credit for micro enterprises.

Do You Know What EQ Means?

How many times have you seen the term “EQ” on your car radio or CD player, or your home entertainment system? If you are just learning audio production, no doubt you’ve been bombarded with references to different kinds of EQ (parametric, dynamic, etc.). But has anyone ever just broken it down for you in terms anyone could understand? Let me see if I can do that for you in this article.

Some people just take in information better if it is explained with very few technical terms, regardless of education or intellect. Heck, I have a bachelor of science degree and a masters degree, and I still hate reading overly-technical descriptions. So in that spirit, let’s talk about something that is bafflingly called “equalization,” or “EQ” for short. See, the name itself is not very descriptive, I don’t think. Here is what it really is. Ready for this?

EQ is turning volume up or down. That’s pretty-much it. Too broad? OK, let me add one more thing. EQ is turning volumes up or down on bass and/or treble knobs. I happily use those last two terms because you seen them on your car stereos all your life, so I am making an assumption you’ve played with them and kinda know the difference between bass and treble.

Wasn’t that an informative article? Oh, you need a bit more? Ah, you’d like to know why it’s useful, or at least why you should care. Oh, alright; if you insist. Let’s take probably the easiest example I can think of…your car stereo. The most basic EQ controls are bass and treble. If you’re listening to hip-hop, you may enjoy turning the bass knob (or slider) up because it will make the kick drum and bass synth or guitar much boomier. You can actually feel that bass now. On the other hand, let’s say you just want to listen to a basketball game on the radio. If your bass is turned up, the voice may sound muddy and hard to understand. Turn the bass back down and maybe bump the treble up a little bit. Bingo, you can now hear the voice much better. It will be more clear and easier to understand.

Are you getting the idea? Sometimes people turn both the bass and treble knobs all the way up. Well, this didn’t really accomplish anything except to do exactly what turning the “volume” knob up would have done! Now are you getting it? The difference between the main volume control and the EQ control is that the EQ adjusts ONLY the bass or the treble independently, while the volume turns EVERYTHING (bass and treble) up or down.

Now I sense you can handle a new term…”frequency.” When we say bass, we mean the sounds in the low frequencies of a song. Treble means the higher frequencies. More sophisticated EQs allow you to control more than just the bass and treble, adding a few more frequencies between the two, like “middle” or “low-middle” and “high-middle“. Obviously this gives you more control over what parts of the sound you turn up or down.

There is quite a lot to learn about EQ and frequencies. But for now, take this useful lesson: if you want to impress your friends with what an audio-geek you are, never turn all the EQ knobs or sliders all the way up or down at the same time, or else all you’ve done is turn the master volume up or down. Try turning one up and one down to see how that sounds. Or try moving just one control up or down and leaving the other one alone. That will make you seem much cooler;). In the mean time you can learn more about audio at Home Brew Audio. Come on by for a visit!