Here we go again. Every day we see and read ghastly stories about how the economy is in such peril. We are told that we have many concerns to think about. How are we going to pay for this war? The United States is so dependent on oil.
The Dow Jones fluctuates like a roller coaster. The dollar is crumbling and we are constantly being warned about a recession that is here and not here.
I know it sounds bad but we have heard this before. It is not the first time we have seen trouble. Remember the stock market crash of 1987 and the savings and loan crisis in the early 1990s? In 1997 and 1998, our markets were in crisis because of the overseas markets in Asia. The last and most recent was the tech bubble of 2000. So, is it is not all doom and gloom. It is time to think about managing some of your cost.
The first place to look is your insurance. I would suggest your homeowners, health and auto.
Let’s start with homeowners. You should think about raising your deductible. It can make a big difference in your premium. Second, use a broker who can offer you more than one carrier. If you do not know anybody, ask a friend. If you can do it, pay annually because some companies offer discounts that way. Finally, check to make sure you are not overinsured. With the housing market the way it is, it might be a good idea to get a new appraisal just to double check.
With health insurance, again, look at your deductible. Remember the deductible really only comes into play when you are admitted. Meaning the bill will be pretty hefty.
By raising the deductible, the money you save in premiums monthly could make up the gap between the deductible you have now and the higher one.
If you do not take prescriptions, look for a plan that does not have that benefit. Remember the two most expensive things for health insurance companies are drugs and doctors. Remove one of the expenses and premiums will go lower.
Group insurance for some is very costly. Many people look into different options.
For example: Leave the family member that works for the company on the plan. Take the rest of the family and shop for individual policies.
Finally, make sure you buy from a broker who can offer you more than one health insurance company. It makes no sense to buy from someone who can offer only one product.
Let’s finish with your auto insurance. I bet you know what to do first. Raise that deductible. Do not pay monthly. Your carrier will charge anywhere from $3 to $5 a month for this type of billing. Pay every six months if possible.
Remove car rental. All it covers is zero deductible and downtime coverage. Don’t pay for the extra coverage. Finally, not to beat a dead horse, but make sure you shop the insurance.
If you look at it in a historical point of view, it is not the best of times yet but they are on their way. In the meantime, at least look at your insurance options and try to save some money.
Michael Miele, a financial adviser with HLR & Associates, can be reached at (914) 907-3828.