Yippee, it’s time to shop for new insurance … said no one, ever. Comparing insurance quotes might not sound like a fun way to spend an afternoon, but you could be throwing away good money if you don’t shop around for your policies at least occasionally.
Fortunately, there is a whole slew of new tech-powered companies committed to making the process of insurance shopping as simple as possible. Known as insurtech companies, they offer comparison tools and innovative insurance products to help consumers cut costs.
Here’s a look at some of the latest tools to save on all your insurance needs.
Every state in the nation minus one (looking at you, New Hampshire) requires drivers to maintain auto insurance, and laws regarding minimum coverage requirements vary. Insurers typically offer plans ranging from basic coverage that provides only personal injury protection to comprehensive coverage that will replace a vehicle if it’s stolen or destroyed in an accident or natural disaster.
Raising your deductible is an easy way to save money. You can also compare rates on a website like Squeeze. Or consider using one of the following companies.
- The Zebra: You can peruse quotes from more than 200 insurance companies using The Zebra’s real-time comparison engine. The website also offers an InsurabilityScore that calculates how easily you can find coverage, and a RateAnalyzer to pinpoint which factors are most likely to drive up your premiums. In addition to car insurance, you can search home, renters and recreational vehicle insurance products on The Zebra.
- Gabi: With Gabi, you send in your existing car insurance policy, and the company will search for a better deal. The free service says sign-up takes a minute and users can save as much as 30 percent off their auto, home and renters policies. Money Talks News’ CEO recently gave the service a test drive, with a remarkable results. Check out: “How I Saved $546 on Car Insurance Without a Single Phone Call.”
- MetroMile: Currently available in eight states, including California and Illinois, MetroMile is an insurance solution for low-mileage drivers. Customers pay a low base rate — starting at $29 a month — and then an additional price per mile driven. The company tracks mileage using a device installed under the dashboard, and monthly bills can change depending on how much you drive.
Mortgage companies require homeowners insurance as a stipulation for their loans. Unless you plan to live in a tent after your house burns to the ground, you’ll want to maintain your coverage even after you pay off your mortgage.
Depending on the plan provisions, homeowners insurance will pay not only to rebuild your house but also to replace contents and put you up in a hotel or temporary housing after a natural disaster. However, be aware that standard coverage may not cover damages related to some events such as flooding or lava flow.
Here are a couple of options to find the best plan at the best price:
- Lemonade: There’s been a lot of buzz about Lemonade, which brands itself as an insurer powered by computer algorithms, helpful bots and behavioral economics. The company takes a flat fee out of premiums to pay for its expenses, and whatever it doesn’t spend on claims by the end of the year is donated to a charity chosen by the customer. Best of all for consumers, homeowners coverage starts at just $25 a month. Lemonade also promises claims payments in minutes and offers zero deductibles for some products. Lemonade policies currently are available in 20 states and the District of Columbia, and the company is working to expand to other states.
- Clearsurance: This website isn’t selling insurance, but it will let you compare companies based on community reviews. You can look for the best companies nationwide or search by state. Then you can double-check whether the company offering you a sweet rate also has sweet service. Clearsurance currently offers reviews for homeowners insurance, renters insurance and car insurance.
- HoneyQuote: Available only in Florida, HoneyQuote promises a painless shopping experience. You simply upload a copy of your current homeowners policy, and the company provides quotes for comparable coverage from other Florida insurers.
Living in an apartment or other rental unit doesn’t mean you can skip insurance. Your landlord may have a policy, but it only covers their structure and won’t pay for your possessions in case something happens.
What you need as a tenant is a renters insurance policy. Fortunately, these plans are relatively inexpensive — premiums through Lemonade start at $5 a month. For that small price, the insurance company will pick up the tab if your possessions are damaged, stolen or vandalized.
In addition to Lemonade, here are two other resources to use when shopping for renters insurance:
- Squeeze: Squeeze promises to make it easy to find the best deal on all sorts of products from streaming services to student loans. For insurance, you can use it to search for renters insurance quotes as well as homeowners and auto insurance products.
- Sure: Here’s another insurtech company to use for renters coverage. Sure says it offers instant, hassle-free insurance for as little as $8 a month. Renters insurance is one of nearly a dozen products offered on the site. Others include baggage coverage for travel, wedding insurance, pet insurance and fine art insurance.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 eliminated the financial penalty for failing to have health insurance established by the Affordable Care Act. However, that doesn’t mean health coverage isn’t still a smart idea. Have you seen the cost of a broken leg lately? We’re talking $17,000 to $35,000 if you need surgery.
Fortunately, about half of you get coverage through your workplace benefits. Others may be eligible for government Medicare or Medicaid coverage. Everyone else needs to find their own plan. Healthcare.gov is a good place to start since that’s the official federal Health Insurance Marketplace. If you buy your coverage there and earn less than 400 percent of the federal poverty limit, you can get a subsidy to bring down your premiums.
If the marketplace isn’t for you, here are some other health insurance options to try.
- Joany: If shopping for health insurance makes your head spin, Joany can help. The free health concierge service can help you find a plan with the right doctors and the right coverage. Not only can Joany help you find a health insurance plan, but it can also help you understand your medical bills and find hidden benefits.
- Oscar: You can do everything with an app, including buying and managing health insurance. Oscar is a health insurance company that says it’s different from the rest of the crowd. For one thing, it offers free, unlimited phone calls to doctors 24/7. You also get a concierge team to help you navigate benefits. In addition to classic plans, you can buy a Simple Plan or Backup Plan that comes at a lower cost. The company is not yet available everywhere but is expanding rapidly.
- Clover: For Medicare beneficiaries, Clover boasts a convenient way to bundle outpatient services with vision, dental and hearing care. Unlike some other Medicare Advantage plans, Clover includes perks such as check-ups at home, gym memberships and wellness rewards.
Among the major insurance categories, disability may be the least known. This is the type of insurance that will help pay your bills if you become sick or injured and can’t work. Many policies have an exclusion period, meaning they will only kick in after you’ve been out of commission for a certain period of time. That could range anywhere from 90 days to six months. Disability insurance won’t replace your income entirely, but it should help.
Most people get disability insurance through their workplace benefits package. Group coverage through an employer is the cheapest way to buy it. If that’s not an option, try looking here:
- PolicyGenius: This company offers free quotes for several types of insurance, including disability, life and renters insurance. For disability insurance, visitors can get a quote in minutes. The site is set up so you can adjust factors such as the waiting period to quickly see how different provisions will affect your policy premiums.
You really don’t want to use your life insurance. After all, when a claim is filed that means someone important (that would be you) has died. However, if and when that time comes, your loved ones will be glad you had coverage.
(Wondering if you should have this coverage? Check out: “7 Questions You Need to Ask Before You Buy Life Insurance.”)
To get the cheapest policy, look for term life rather than whole life (also known as cash-value) insurance. Term life insurance covers you for a fixed period of time and pays a death benefit if you die during that period. That money is tax-free, and your beneficiary can do whatever he or she wants with it — paying off debt, saving for a rainy day or starting a college fund for the kids are some common options. Whole, universal and other permanent insurance plans can’t be canceled so long as you pay your premiums. They typically have an investment component and cost more.
If you’re in the market for term life, you can check out PolicyGenius for quotes or try here:
- Ethos: Millennials might not think they need life insurance, but Ethos is making it easy for them to get coverage. Sign-up takes 10 minutes, and no doctor’s exam is required for most plans. Ethos says a healthy 30-year-old woman can get a $1 million policy for as little as $1 a day.
Outside the previously listed categories, there are all sorts of specialty insurance products. You can buy a policy to protect your pet, your phone, your art or your collection of old pennies. For all of these, Sure is a good place to start searching for policies.
Your credit card may also, surprisingly, be an avenue for some coverage. Some cards have travel insurance as a perk while others have purchase protection that will pay for items that are lost or stolen.
Plus, these insurtech companies are other options to consider for affordable specialty policies:
- SquareTrade: This Allstate company will protect most of your electronic devices — from iPhones to appliances — at a cost that may be cheaper than buying an extended warranty or an insurance plan through your wireless carrier.
- Trov: This product is currently available in Arizona, Delaware, Nevada, South Dakota, Georgia and Wyoming and the company is rapidly expanding to other states. Using an app, you create an inventory of your most valued possessions. These can include electronics, musical instruments, photography equipment and clothes. You decide when you want to insure specific items and, using the Trov app, turn insurance coverage on or off at any time.
Have you reviewed your insurance rates lately? Any surprises? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.
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