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10 Ways to Save Money on Your Car Insurance- Tips From an Agent

Let’s face it, no one wants to pay higher fees for their car insurance.  I’ll be even more honest, my rates go up too.  It annoys me too, but I have several ways to keep my insurance down and if you communicate with a GOOD agent they will be more than happy to help pass the savings along to you.  If they’re not willing to help you, go find someone who is willing to sit down and explain everything you need to know.  A GOOD agent cares and doesn’t just consider you another file in the cabinet.  Besides, we really don’t want to get our hineys gnawed on when you’re unhappy with your coverage and have a claim.

Disclaimer:  First things first.  I am a licensed insurance agent in the state of Arkansas.  Each state varies as far as law suits and actionable offense occur.  It is ALWAYS best to check with a licensed agent in your state to make sure you are covered according to your laws.  Any examples I give, are just examples-again check with your local licensed agent.

10 Ways to Save Cash on Auto Insurance- Tips from an Agent

 

1.  When it’s possible, put your home and your auto insurance with the same company and use an Independent Agent! 

Companies want ALL of your business, so they give discounts for putting more than one type of business with them.  Independent Agents are able to access many companies at once, so when you get a quote, you know you’re getting the BEST of several quotes in one shot!  They also know what companies are BEST suited to YOUR needs.

2.  Purchase higher liability limits! 

Believe it or not, sometimes you can double your coverage for less money than you’re already paying or have a small increase.  Either way your coverage is better, and better coverage protects your assets.  Speaking of liability limits, here is a state by state listing of what is required by law.  You guys, some of these are PATHETIC.  If you look at the listing, the 3rd number is for property damage.  That’s how much pays out if you damage another vehicle.  Look at California…$5,000 is ALL their state minimum requires if you hit someone.  So, if I am driving a Cadillac Escalade in California and you total my vehicle, I am going to sue you for $45,000 or more!  Insurance is there to protect you and your assets.  Please make sure you’re smart and buy proper coverage instead of the “cheapest” coverage out there.  Liability is not about YOU.  It covers who or what you damage!

3.  Raise those deductibles!

I know no one wants to pay more out-of-pocket when there is an issue with your vehicle.  However, many companies offer different ways to cover smaller expenses, like glass damage, without having a super low deductible.  Call your agent and ASK!

4.  Make sure you’re not doubling your coverage!

I have people who regularly call in and want “full coverage”. Ok, tell me what “full coverage means to you”?  I ALWAYS ask, but there are many agents out there who are in such a hurry to quote you, that “full coverage” to them means everything they possibly offer.

Many times people have already purchased some of those coverages from the dealership when they bought a car.  Do you REALLY need that extra $5,000 life insurance policy included in “full coverage” or do you have a better life insurance policy elsewhere?  Do you already have roadside assistance from your cell phone plan or with another company?  Do you need $50,000 worth of liability insurance or$500,000?  Don’t use the term “full coverage”.  Ask your agent what is available and then decide what you need!

5.  Find a company that will sell you a year-long policy. 

I have worked in insurance for 6 years.  Not ONE time in SIX years have I seen a policy that is cheaper every 6 months than a year-long policy.  The only exception to this is if you’re able to pay your policy IN FULL every 6 months and it’s not guaranteed to save money.

However, if you’re paying monthly, swap to a year-long policy and save some money.  In addition to this, there are some companies out there who will consider you as paid in full if you pay 6 months at a time on a 1 year policy.  You will also receive a discount for paying a year long policy in full.

6.  Make sure your vehicle is rated by how often you drive it.

If you’re retired, disabled, work from home and/or generally do not drive that much make sure you give your agent an accurate reflection of your yearly mileage. Your bill will be lower if you drive less than 8,000 miles a year.

7.  Do you really need a V6, V8 or a sports car?

There are a ton of factors that go into rating car insurance.  However, big engines and sports model vehicles will always raise your rates.  ALWAYS.  When you’re car shopping if you’re considering a model that has Sport, S, SL or LS in the model you’re going to pay higher premiums.   Also, please get a quote on your insurance before you buy a vehicle; your agent didn’t buy the vehicle, you did, so don’t take it out on us when you get a surprise!  By the way, we don’t care what color your car is anymore, so if you like red, BUY IT!

8.  Get a quote for GAP coverage, roadside assistance and those extras from your agent before you buy a car and add it onto your payment!

Your insurance agent will likely beat any car dealership for the same coverage, or better, than what you’re being offered.  Don’t fall for those emotionally driven sales pitches from the dealer without talking to your agent.  They won’t sell the car out from under you while you make a phone call, I promise!

9.  Drive Safely!!!

There is nothing that will keep your car insurance premiums lower than driving with care and caution.  Go hands free if you must talk while in the car, and whenever possible don’t use your phone.  Do I even need to mention texting while driving?  Most importantly, be aware of your surroundings.

I am not exaggerating when I say I avoid at least 5 accidents per year by paying attention to the other drivers around me.  Leave safe distances between your vehicle and the one in front of you.  Keep an eye out for people who pull out in front of you. I personally look at every other driver on the road and am prepared for them to be the one person who is going to cause an accident.  Don’t speed and wear those seatbelts!

10.  If you get a ticket, GO TO COURT!

I have received 3 tickets in my lifetime.  I have never had ANY of them go on my Motor Vehicle Record.  While it can be a hassle and cause you time off of work etc., to go to court once or twice to avoid a mark on your driving record, you will save money if you go to court and ask for probation.  I have never been denied probation and if you’re generally a safe driver with no marks, it’s likely you will be given 6 months to 1 year of probation.  In fact, I have had the Prosecuting lawyer pull me to the side before ever even seeing a judge and say “You’re record is perfect, how about 6 months probation?” I say “thank you” and skip back to my car knowing I am good to go!  Don’t let fear keep you from saving yourself A LOT OF MONEY!

 

I hope this gives you a few insights into the insurance world.  If you have any questions I am happy to try and answer them for you, although you should note my disclaimer.  Also, if you missed it before, here is a post on how to save money on your homeowners insurance.

 


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Sick of Pet Hair? I GUARANTEE THIS STOPS SHEDDING!

Before you read another word know this:

I am NOT getting paid to advertise this product and I do not make money from the sale if you click the link below.  I’m all about stopping the shedding madness.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A little known fact about me is I used to be a dog groomer.  I HATED spring.  Every owner who didn’t know how to handle pet hair brought their dogs to us and said “Fix it”.  Well, we did.

Covered in Hair

This is what my husband looked like last night after a serious play session with our little dog, Pip.  If you think that’s bad, you should see the back of my car right now.  Our dogs LOVE going for rides in the car.  Unfortunately, it leaves THAT mess of hair behind and doggie nose art on the windows.

The Best Way to Stop Shedding!

Luckily, I still have the MOST AMAZING shed stopping tool in my grooming arsenal.  It’s made by Kong and it’s called a Zoom Groom.  I bought his beast of a tool when I had a Great Dane/Lab mix.  I’m sure you can imagine what 120 lbs. of shedding dog looked like at the time.  This brush left PILES of hair in the yard and kept me from having dog hair tumbleweeds blowing through the house.

Kong front

This is my very dirty and well used Zoom Groom.  I paid about $8.00 for it 15 years ago.  Yes, I said FIFTEEN years ago.  It also might have been left on the back porch once when it rained and developed a bit of a mildew problem, so no, they don’t look all icky when they’re new.

Kong back

This is the actual brush.  You can buy them in a harder or softer material.  I prefer the really stiff brushes because they get into the coat really well.  However, if you have a smaller, less sturdy dog you might want the softer bristle brush.  Also, DO NOT use the brush for dogs on a cat unless you rub VERY gently…or you might accidentally brush a bald spot on your cat that takes over a year to grow back.  Not that I’ve ever done that.  *cough*

This brush really works on short-haired dogs without an undercoat such as Labs, Great Danes, Rat Terriers, Jack Russell Terriers etc..  If you have a Husky, Chow, Malamute etc. type breed or any breed with really thick hair you will need an Undercoat Rake for their hair.  Please be gentle with Undercoat Rakes as they are SHARP and you can cause an irritation on their skin if you’re too rough.  I also prefer this type of brush for dogs with thick layers of hair, again be gentle on sensitive body parts.

Back Hair

The key to getting a Zoom Groom to work well is a vigorous brushing in the direction of the hair growth.  Make sure you get under the collar area, the front of their necks and down the front of their chests.  You will also pull a ton of hair from their thighs and don’t forget the tail!  The AWESOME part about brushing them like this is THEY LOVE IT.  It’s like getting a massage!  The worst part is if the wind is blowing you’ll end up covered in hair.  Do not do this inside.  EVER.  Trust me.

Full Brush

When the brush gets full simply flick your wrist and the hair falls right out.  In about 5 minutes of solid brushing on Pip (23 lbs Rat Terrier mix) tonight we had about a softball sized amount of hair.  We usually try to let it float off for birds and squirrels to use for nesting.  In order to keep the shedding to a minimum you need to brush the dogs at least twice a week for 5-10 minutes.  It’s an easy chore kids can do as well and keeps your house almost completely hair free!

I hope this helps and if you have any other grooming related questions, please feel free to ask!

Pssssst! Hey you there! I have a goal to reach 100 Facebook and Blog followers by the end of April! Would you help me out with that? Just look to your right and click the links to follow me by email or on Facebook! I would love to see you there and to meet this goal! Thank you for helping out!

 


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Stop Waiting Until the LAST Minute to Pay Your Bills!

Bill Prep

As a child, we very rarely went out to eat.  My mother stayed at home with my brother and me, and Dad was a full-time police officer.  When I grew up a bit, I started noticing that going to eat was directly related to days my Dad received his paycheck.  I remember getting excited on a particular Friday because I knew I figured out the secret to getting a trip to Western Sizzlin’.  It was PAYDAY!  I looked at my mom and asked her if we were going to go out to eat that night.  When she told me no, I remember looking at her very confused and asking why not.  She bluntly stated that there were bills to pay.  In my ever curious state, I asked as only an eight year old would “But, why do the bills ALWAYS come on payday?”

Obviously, at 8 I was not a budgeting guru.  At 35, I am still not a budgeting guru, but I am getting better.  It’s taken a lot of time, practice and patience to get a budget as close to perfect as possible.  It’s still not 100%  and it probably won’t ever be 100%, but on the whole I am comfortable with our budget as it is and confident that I can pay bills when they’re due.  I have noticed however, that on many personal finance blogs, there seems to be a trend of holding on to that money “just in case” instead of paying bills first.

Uhhh why?

If you are being honest with yourself, your budget, and YOUR SAVINGS you should easily be able to sit down the night before you’re paid and write out your bills in advance, or schedule them for online payment.  There may be a few that you absolutely have to prep on payday or after, but there is no reason to sit around hoarding money until your next payday if you have properly budgeted.  The exception to this is possibly people who are on a flexible income and don’t necessarily know what they will be receiving from check to check.

My bill paying process became much more complicated recently.  In the past, I was able to hop online and pay everything but 1 bill.  I wrote 1 check to the water department and dropped it off.  BAM AND DONE.  Recently, I have started tackling our medical debt.  My check writing has increased from ONE to NINETEEN.  Yes, out of 22 total debtors 18 of them are for medical bills.  EIGHTEEN.  (Memo to me:  That book of checks is not going to last 5 years again.  Order more.)  I cannot pay these bills online.  Can you imagine the stress that would be added to my next payday if I held on to 18 bills “just in case”?  Aside from that, what if the “just in case” happened and I spent another month not paying those bills?  MAKE YOUR BUDGET ACCURATE!

I sucked it up and started streamlining this process:

  1. Review the budget
  2. Write out all of the paper bills and mark them on my debt snowball list with the check number and date it was paid.  Each debt has its own page for notes etc.
  3. Schedule all necessary online payments to clear the bank AFTER our checks are deposited.

After we actually receive our checks, I finish up the process by:

  1. Verifying that all bills have been paid for the week
  2. Pulling out cash for our groceries and gasoline
  3. Transferring money to our savings.  (Our emergency fund is not fully funded.)
  4. Moving paid off medical bills to a “dead file” in the back of the filing cabinet along with its debt snowball page from my binder.

That’s it.  I’m done until the next payday.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to worry about the “just in case” situations.  I don’t want to have that little nag in the back of my head telling me I haven’t mailed something, or that a bill is due.  Bill paying is not a chore I like, and I want it done and gone ASAP.

Are you a “just in case” bill payer?  If so, why?

If you enjoyed this post, please look to the right of your screen and sign up for email notifications or follow me on Facebook.  I would also love feedback from you on this post and whether or not it helped you decide to change how you are paying your bills.


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Liebster Award

In many different ways, I have been linked to some web community since I discovered the internet.  Anyone else remember telnet chat rooms?  No?

Get off my lawn you YOUNGIN!

What I have generally loved the most about blogging communities, first at Xanga, and now here among other WordPress blogs is the companionship you find.  I’m pretty quick at reading a blog and knowing whether I am going to like it or not, and whether or not I am generally going to enjoy the posts.  It was my lucky day when I stumbled across Life in the Orchard.  I’ve enjoyed her blog immensely and now I have to tell her thank you for nominating little ole me for a Liebster Award. So THANKS! 😀

liebster-award

The Liebster Award is an award people use to pass along new blogs the enjoy or to share older blogs you might not have discovered.  I kind of fall into both categories since I did upload my older content from Xanga, but I have been around here for a month or two.  There are a few guidelines for the award and they are as follows:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog. 2. Show off your award on your blog (in a post, widget, etc. like I did). 3. Answer 10 questions given to you by the nominee before you. 4. Create 10 questions of your own. (Don’t worry, you can use mine if you want). 5. Nominate 5-10 of your favorite blogs with fewer than 200 followers and notify them of their nomination. 6. And of course, tell them about it and provide a link back to your website so that they can know more about the award!

My questions from Life in the Orchard were:

What is your favorite thing about yourself?     

Personality wise my sense of humor. Physically my nails.

What is your greatest accomplishment?    

This is actually the hardest question for me to answer. I’ve stared at it for like a week trying to figure out exactly how to answer it. I won awards playing sports when I was younger, and I won awards for playing flute in High School. So, if you go by accomplishments other people recognize I would say my flute playing when I was younger. If I look at adult accomplishments, it would be a happy marriage and managing to keep a roof over my head and lights on during some really tight financial situations.

If you could do anything for a living and money wasn’t an issue, what would you do?

I would open the most awesome coffee shop ever in my home town.

What in life is holding you back from living your dreams?

Money and fear

If you could take the vacation of a lifetime where would you go and why?

I would love to buy a small motorhome and spend several months traveling to all 48 continental United States just to say I’ve done it. I would love nothing more than to load up the hubby and the dogs and take the longest road trip EVER. Hahaha.

Where is the best place you have traveled?

I loved Flagstaff, Arizona, but Scotland has been my favorite trip.

What inspires you to blog?

Truthfully, I blog because I don’t always know how I feel about something until I start writing. I also use it to hold myself accountable and to hopefully be a tiny bit inspiring to others. I love to make people laugh, but my sense of humor is one where you either get it or you don’t…and if you don’t it’s not funny when I have to explain it.

When you first started your blog what was the purpose of creating it?

The About Me section on my page sums it up fairly well, but basically, there were areas in my life that were absolute crap and they needed to be fixed like a flat tire. Life was bumpy. I needed a way to get it out and to explore who I am again and find a hobby that is all for me- something that brings me joy.

How has blogging enhanced your life?

This time around? It’s introduced me to Pinterest. Dear good, sweet, Pinterest. It’s my prrrrrrrrrecious. I’m also meeting some new people from the internet, but you’re not prrrrrrreciouses yet. 😉

If you won a million bucks what would you do with it?

A million dollars would be halved due to taxes, so $500k. I would pay off ALL DEBT with the rest. I would probably remodel our current home and send the olive green and gold 70’s flooring to the dump where it belongs. I think both my husband and myself would probably take at least 1 year off from work while the house was being worked on and travel. He’s due for a trip to Scotland and the RV sounds like a good idea! I would open my coffee shop business and see if we could get the hubs into nursing school. I would also make him use that year to get his drivers license. I would probably get my mother debt free. The rest would be invested as much as I could.

And now, in keeping with the guidelines for the award, I am nominating the following blogs.  Let me tell you, it was a challenge to find some new people out there who I enjoy because most of them were already nominated. 

Simply Crafty Life for her awesome garden and adorable craft projects!

The City Hippie because she has been around WordPress about the same amount of time as me AND she got excited over a Martha Stewart how to clean book.  AND because I just discovered she also plays World of Warcraft even though she is MIA at the moment.

Anaventures because the song Jolene is now stuck in my head and it should be stuck in yours too.  Oh, and she’s pretty funny.

Reasons Why I’m Single because there are 3 posts and I like them all!

White Outs because the cartoons make me giggle!

Your 10 questions are:

1.  What makes your blog different?

2.  What do you want to accomplish by blogging?

3.  Dogs or cats?

4.  What is your favorite TV show?

5.  What is a weird talent you have?

6.  Is your blog a secret from family and friends or do you share?

7.  What household chore do you hate the most?

8.  What kind of future posts can we expect to see from you?

9.  If you had to move to another country RIGHT NOW what country would you pick and why?

10.  Do you have a passport?  If so, what stamps are in it?

I’m looking forward to reading your replies!  Thank you for bringing YOU to WordPress!