As with most other things, when it comes to insurance, you get what you pay for.
Don't pay to insure against minor losses, but don't ignore real perils just because coverage carries hefty premiums.
You can lower your premiums with a higher deductible. May agents recommend higher deductibles on property insurance and putting the money you save toward additional liability coverage.
How much can you afford for a deductible or uninsured risk? Look at your cash flow. If you can pay for a loss out of cash on hand, consider not insuring it.
You can also save money on insurance by obtaining it through a trade group or an association. Many associations offer insurance tailored to your industry needs -- everything from disability and health to liability and property coverage.
You can also keep insurance costs down by practicing these good insurance habits:
- Review your needs and coverage once a year. If your circumstances or assets have changed, you may need to adjust your insurance coverage.
- Ask your insurance agent for risk-reduction assistance. He or she should be able to visit your premises and identify improvements that would create a safer facility.
- Check out new insurance products. Ask your agent to keep you up-to-date on new types of coverage you might want.
- Take time to shop for the best, most appropriate coverage. A few hours invested upfront can save thousands of dollars in premiums or claims down the road.
Though you hope it never happens, you may someday have to file an insurance claim. These tips should make it easier:
- Report incidents immediately. Notify your agent and carrier right away when anything happens -- such as a fire, an accident or theft -- that could result in a claim.
- Take steps to protect your property from further damage. Most policies cover the cost of temporary repairs to protect against further damage, such as fixing a window to prevent looting.
- If possible, save damaged parts. A claims adjuster may want to examine them after equipment repairs have been made.
- Get at least two repair estimates. Your claims adjuster can tell you what kind of documentation the insurance company wants for bids on repairs.
- Provide complete documentation. The insurance company needs proof of loss. Certain claims require additional evidence. For example, a claim for business interruption will need financial data showing income before and after.
- Communicate with your agent and claims adjustor. Though your claim is against the insurance company, your agent should be kept informed so he or she can help if needed.