Saving Money on Personal Car Insurance

I was recently interviewed for an article on saving money on car insurance by Newsday (NY). They were asking insurance experts on the best strategies for saving money. I will share my response with you for your benefit…

My strategies on saving money on car insurance:

  • Increase your physical damage (comprehensive and collision) deductibles, especially for luxury and high-priced vehicles. The premiums are based on the value of the vehicle, so the higher the value, the higher the premium. Increased deductibles ($1000 and up) will save on insurance premiums.
  • Avoid moving violations and at fault accidents. I know this might seem obvious, however driving behaviors can be modified to reduce the risk of tickets and accidents. Insurance companies do experience rate and even two tickets can have a dramatic impact (negatively) on your premium. Bottom line – have a “clean” driving record and your premiums will be optimized.
  • Competitively shop your insurance at least every 3 years. This can either be done on your own or through your insurance agent. Jumping ship from your current insurer for a few bucks is a bad practice. However, it is important to see what the market is doing based on exactly the same coverages. 2-3 years is a good timetable to do this.
  • If you have young drivers, make sure they have a good grade-point average (3.0 and better). Good student discounts can be as significant as 30%.
  • Don’t double spend. If you have a service like AAA, you don’t need to purchase towing on your vehicles. You may not even need rental reimbursement if you have several cars. Even though the premiums might seem low, if you’re never going to use them, why buy them?

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

How’s Your Personal Insurance Fitness?

How’s your personal insurance fitness?

Dan Weedin
Dan Weedin

In my experience as an insurance consultant, 8 out of 10 individuals/families suffer from one of two maladies. They are either obese (overpaying for insurance) or they are weaklings (inadequate protection).  In about 60% of the cases, they are both. And, just like your physical fitness level, being one or both of these can cause chronic pain, loads of lost time and frustration, and sometimes even total collapse.

I know you’re besieged in the media by NFL star “discount double checks;” Progressive Flo’s kooky plugs; and graduates of company universities trying to protect you from things that go boom! The thing you must remember is that they are all trying to sell you a policy.

I’d like to offer you a special opportunity to makeover your insurance fitness this week. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day this weekend, I want to help you find some more “green” out of your insurance. I have no ulterior motives – I don’t sell insurance, won’t harm your relationship with your agent, and only want to find ways to transform your “fitness” level to protect your most valuable assets.

Here is how this special offer works…

Through 5:00 pm Pacific time on Friday, March 15th, you can get a personal insurance fitness exam up to three insurance policies for a ridiculously low investment. I normally charge $350 for a complete exam. Starting now through Friday at 5:00 pm, you can get this for only $200.

Here’s what you do…

  • You go to my Quick Pay portal on my web site and pay me – – Make sure you write in the comments section “Personal Insurance Fitness Exam.”
  • I contact you and we set up a time to talk and for me to get your insurance policies.
  • Within 72 hours after getting your policies, you will receive an unvarnished diagnostic summary of the good, the bad, and the ugly. It will include suggestions for improvement and recommendations to save you money.
  • You will end up thanking me. And/or your agent will call me thanking me for finding potential problems that they weren’t aware of (has happened three times).

You know you’ve never read your policies. You have put complete trust in your agent and that is fine; but it’s simply negligent to never check and not really know if the one thing meant to protect you and your family from financial ruin isn’t adequate (or if you’re spending too much.)

Rave reviews from happy clients – Read more –

You go to the doctor to check out your own physical fitness and health level. Why not find out how fit you are in your insurance?

Trim the fat, beef up your muscle, and enhance your own peace of mind.


© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Saving Money on your Personal Insurance

I was just interviewed for a story in a parents magazine on how to save money on car insurance. I’m happy to share the tips, strategies, and suggestions with you…

Here are few quick “tips” and suggestions to significantly reducing personal auto insurance costs…

  • Raise physical damage deductibles as high as you can “stomach.” The more expensive the car, the more you will pay and the more you can save with higher deductibles. (Note – this is your comprehensive and collision coverages)
  • Shop your auto insurance policy competitively every 3 years at a minimum. Rates and company appetites change and you need to be current on your options.
  • Deal with a real person. These online programs may appear to save you money, but unless you’re an industry expert, you don’t know what you’re actually buying. You may save money initially and lose it when you are either not insured or underinsured. Use a professional.
  • Make sure you’re receiving all the “credits” you are eligible for. Companies give discounts for good students (your young drivers which really raise your rates), non-smokers, no claims, multiple policies, multi-car, etc. Ask for a list of all available discounts.
  • Make a deal with your teenage drivers. If they don’t qualify for a good student discount, then they don’t get licensed. Seem harsh? Yes, but the cost to insure a student without the discount can be as much as 35% more expensive! I did it with my two daughters and it works.

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Making Your Your Antiques Are Covered

Guest Column from the International Risk Management Institute….

Make Certain Your Antiques Are Properly Insured

Many Americans own valuable antiques, which are often inadequately insured under a standard homeowners policy. Homeowners policies may contain restrictive limits and coverage for these valuable items, and the valuation may only be provided on an actual cash value basis. Even if the personal property replacement cost endorsement is added to a homeowners policy, the endorsement explicitly lists antiques, fine arts, paintings, and memorabilia as ineligible properties. Coverage is also restricted to a limited number of perils. For example, the homeowners policy does not provide any personal property coverage for breakage or accidental scratching. If you possess extensive and valuable antiques or fine arts, the following tips may prove helpful.

  • Properly inventory and document your antiques and other collectibles. Videotaping should also be utilized; be sure to videotape the item from every angle.
  • Arrange an appointment with your insurance agent to review your antique and fine arts coverage. Bring as much information about your portfolio as possible, including photos and any appraisals.
  • Consider utilizing the services of an experienced appraiser who specializes in antiques. Some antique and fine art dealers perform free general value assessments online for lesser-value pieces if acceptable photos and descriptions are provided. For extremely valuable items, most appraisers want to personally inspect the piece, which normally involves a fee. All appraisals should be prepared in accordance with the codes and requirements of the American Society of Appraisers and the American Appraisers Association. High-quality appraisals normally include a description and comment on the antique, an auction value of the item, and a replacement value.
  • For valuation assistance on less valuable or more common items, consider visiting eBay and other Internet auction sites to help establish various items’ market value. An examination of the item’s closing price, not its initial asking price, is more representative of its true value.
  • Ask your agent about procuring a personal inland marine policy or endorsement that can be added to your homeowners policy. This policy/endorsement allows you to schedule your items on an agreed valued basis established by the appraisal and gives you much broader coverage than the homeowners policy provides. Note that this special coverage may also have a breakage exclusion, which may be eliminated for an extra premium.
  • Take steps to safeguard your collection, with adequate security precautions and appropriate storage.

Copyright 2011
International Risk Management Institute, Inc.

Long-Term Care Needs Long-Term Planning

My parents who are both 86 years old will be moving into an assisted living facility this week. My dad has been diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer. Both he and my mom are in need of 24/7 care to take medications, deal with medical issues, and basically be available at any time to aid and assist. At one time, my wife Barb and I thought we could make it work to bring them to our house. We quickly realized that Dad and Mom need professional care, something which is way above our pay grade. We also need to take care of ourselves and our family to adequately be there for them.

The process of looking for an assisted living facility has become an education. We’ve found a marvelous one near our home and are very pleased. What’s not pleasing is the cost. This article is not meant to rail against the high cost of the facilities because they certainly earn every penny they get. What they provide in value is worth the compensation. The purpose of this article is a warning. Consider me like the ghost of Jacob Marley in Charles Dickens classic story, A Christmas Carol. I’ve come for your reclamation.

The reclamation I speak of is in the future. It’s the re-claiming of your finances and money you worked hard for your entire life. It’s the re-claiming of peace of mind for your children and family. It’s taking care of business in advance so that the stress of age and declining health isn’t exacerbated by financial burden.

We have been pretty fortunate. Dad did a credible job of saving money his whole life. He is in a financial position to move into assisted living and we are in a position to help as much as possible. However, many are not as fortunate and I guarantee you the cost of this type of facility will continue to rise as will the need for it. (Barb and I have picked out our apartment at this facility already – a perfect view of the bay – but I digress)

Monthly costs for your stay should you need assisted living varies greatly based on your needs. Let’s just say in 2011, the range can be from $6,000 – 10,000 per month. That’s right, per month. Veterans have benefits available, but mostly just for those who have no to low-income. I would anticipate that over the course of the next 10-25 years, you will see an increase in costs and a decrease in availability. Supply and demand at work.

Here’s my plea to you. Get Long-Term Care insurance while you can. I actually purchased the coverage for me 5 years ago at age 41, well before my parents were facing this. Here are reasons why I chose to and why you should do the same for you and/or your parents…

  1. The younger you are, the lower the premium. I’m paying $600 per year for a benefit of $180 per day ($5400 per month). I’m going to chat with my agent about increasing that amount. My company will keep this premium at this level forever if I don’t raise the benefit amount. Basically, like life insurance, if you buy young, you end up spending much less and your premium will always be lower. If you wait until you’re older, you will have a higher premium because you’re closer to using it!
  2. Buy while you are insurable. Many things can make you uninsurable or give you higher rates. Diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, heart problems or even an accident. Heck, the memory test they gave me was hard enough at 41 years old; I can’t imagine I would have done better 25 years later!
  3. An accident now might put you in the unenviable position of needing assisted living now. The late actor Christopher Reeve certainly needed assistance after his riding accident in his 40’s. He had the money. We may not.
  4. You’re lifted a financial and care burden for your family. There is a lot of responsibility that comes to the family to take care of aging parents. Help your family out by planning in advance with your own money. While Dad didn’t have Long-Term Care (I don’t even think he knew what that was), he did his planning on his own and made it easier for us. You don’t have to save all your money. Instead, you can transfer that responsibility contractually to an insurance company by paying your premium now.

If you’re in your 40’s, you may think you’re still too young. Professional financial advisers often tell you to start thinking of this at age 55 or so. That’s decent advice, however I don’t think it’s ever too early to consider. If you have a parent that is between 50 and 65, you may broach the subject with them now. It should be something you discuss as a family now, because it may be too late down the road.

Here’s the bottom line. Assisted living and nursing homes are very expensive and can drain bank accounts quicker than a leaky pipe under your sink. I only see this trend increasing in both need and cost in the future. Medicare and other health insurances don’t cover the cost of rent or aid and assistance. I predict that this will be a severe crisis if our elderly and their families can’t afford the type of care they need. You do have options and they include insurance. Diversify your savings for that time between savings, smart investing, and Long-Term Care insurance.

The money you save just might be your own!

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Home Based Business Insurance – A Case Study

I recently spoke to a business owner who works from his home. He is an architect and is incorporated We found a few gaps in his insurance in just a brief 15 minute talk. To learn what they were, how we solved them, and what you should know if you are a home-based business, then click here to read the entire article…

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved