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An Auto Warranty Can Help You Avoid Paying Unnecessary Car Costs

Motorists tend to become obsessed with their cars. They wash and wax them constantly to keep them looking brand new. Even though we love our cars so much, it is still important to not pay unnecessary car costs. Here are some things that you may be wasting your money on:

1. It is not always a necessity to fill your tank with premium gasoline. Regular gasoline is cheaper and if it does not cause engine knock, then it is okay to use. The purpose of octane grades is to avoid engine knock. Therefore, if regular gasoline does not cause engine knock, it is okay to use in your tank.

2. Usually car manufacturers advise getting an oil change done on your car every 5,000 to 7,000 miles. However, some motorists think that it is a necessity to get it done every 3,000 miles. This is only a necessity if you are very hard on your car.

3. Lastly, motorists will waste money getting car repairs done by a dealer. Independent shops can do a great job and at a cheaper price. Having an auto warranty can help you save money on maintenance and repairs.

It is good to know where you are wasting money on your car so that you can break those habits and be a bit nicer to your wallet. Do not let other people talk you into paying for car costs that are not a necessity.

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Ask These 5 Questions Before You Refinance to a Shorter Mortgage

 Ask 5 Questions Before You Refinance to a Shorter Mortgage
we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

You might think that refinancing your mortgage to a shorter-term loan is a win-win: You save on interest and pay off your home sooner. But many mortgage experts say there are better ways to invest extra money you might have than putting it into your home.

After all, paying off your home is just one of many important financial goals. You also need to save for retirement, put money aside for college if you have children, and buy life insurance, to name just a few. These may pay off in ways that make them wiser investments than paying down your mortgage faster.

Sometimes sticking with a longer-term loan just makes more sense: The tax benefits of the mortgage interest deduction last longer and you’ll almost certainly have a smaller monthly payment, leaving more cash on hand to help you reach those other goals.

Don’t get us wrong: Refinancing to a shorter-term loan might be a great move if you have extra cash and a stable job situation, but remember, your mortgage is just one piece of your personal-finance pie.

To figure out whether paying your home off sooner makes sense for you, ask yourself these five questions:

See current cash-out refi rates

How much will my monthly payment be?

For some homeowners, especially those who have young families or who are cash-strapped for other reasons, squeezing an extra few hundred dollars out of the monthly budget and limiting access to ready cash isn’t advisable, says Michael Dunsky, branch manager of Guaranteed Rate in Franklin, Massachusetts.

“The first question I usually get from borrowers is, ‘What’s the lowest rate I can get?’ ” Dunsky says. “The answer is always a shorter-term loan, but the mortgage payments are about 25% higher on a 10-year fixed-rate loan, for example, than a 30-year loan. That’s not sustainable for a lot of people.”

Also, if you want to refinance to a shorter-term loan, your debt-to-income ratio must be low enough to prove to a lender that you can afford the higher monthly payment. For most loans, your DTI should be no more than 36%, according to Fannie Mae. Keep in mind that lenders include all your debt when calculating DTI and will hit you with a higher rate if you have a high ratio. So if you have a lot of credit card debt or a sizable car payment, prepare yourself for a higher mortgage rate.

See current cash-out refi rates

Will I be able to meet my other financial goals?

A mortgage refinance to a shorter-term loan may work if you have few long-term debts and you have enough money coming in each month to pay all of your bills (with extra cash to spare). But if your budget is tight or you’re not paying attention to other savings, putting more money into your home could mean you’re selling yourself short, says Craig Strent, CEO of Apex Home Loans in Rockville, Maryland.

“When you invest outside of your home there are additional tax benefits, and you’ll have more liquidity,” Strent says, adding that you’ll also build wealth more quickly this way.

Rather than building equity in your home faster, it might make better financial sense to put that money to work in other ways, such as a 529 college fund, retirement and brokerage accounts, life insurance policies, and savings funds for big purchases down the road (vacation home, anyone?).

See current cash-out refi rates

Is being completely debt-free a priority for me?

It used to be that people stayed in one house for the long haul and aimed to own it free and clear. (Oh, and they paid off their credit cards every month and had little to no student loan debt. Those were the days, huh?)

You’ve probably heard finance experts tout the debt-free philosophy in books and on TV. Although being debt-free is an admirable goal, it’s not always practical when you take into account increases in the cost of living, limited income growth and fluctuating property values, Dunsky says.

“When you invest more money into your home, you won’t be able to tap into that equity until you sell or refinance,” Dunsky says. “Figure out whether you can do all the things you want to do with your money without relying on your home’s equity. If the answer is ‘no,’ then a shorter-term loan probably isn’t the way to go.”

See current cash-out refi rates

How long have I lived in my home, and do I plan to stay?

Depending on how far along you are on repaying your mortgage — and how long you plan to stay in your home — moving to a shorter-term loan can be an expensive mistake.

Mortgage payments are front-loaded with interest. So if you’re on year 18 of your mortgage, for example, you’re likely paying more toward your principal than interest at this point. If you refinance to a 10-year loan, you’ll pay more in interest upfront, Dunsky says, and you might actually lose money once closing costs and refi fees are taken into account.

Also, the average first-time homebuyer plans to stay in the home for just 10 years, according to the 2015 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers survey.

If you plan to stay in your current home just a few more years, refinancing to an adjustable-rate mortgage at a five- or seven-year term will save money overall, Strent says.

With an ARM, your interest rate stays the same for the first few years. After that initial fixed-rate period ends, the rate can adjust up or down annually over the remaining life of the loan. You’ll need a larger down payment to qualify for an ARM, but it provides the stability of a fixed-rate mortgage for a set time at a lower cost than many other loan types.

Strent notes that a lot of first-time homebuyers overpay tremendously on their loans. Why? They stay in their homes for a relatively short time, so they could have used lower interest rates with an ARM rather than having paid more with a 30-year fixed-rate loan.

See current cash-out refi rates

Can I pay my loan off faster in other ways?

Refinancing isn’t the only way to shorten your mortgage. You can simply pay more each month without committing to a shorter-term loan.

One approach is to take your current mortgage payment, divide it by 12 and add that amount to your monthly payment, Dunksy says. (Be sure to note that the extra amount is to go toward principal, not interest.) If you make those additional payments consistently over time, you could pay off your mortgage in 23.5 years instead of 30, he adds.

Or, you could have your mortgage broker crunch numbers on what the payments would be on shorter-term loans and simply make those exact payments each month without going through the motions of refinancing. If you’re short on cash some months, you can simply revert to your standard payment amount without the risk of penalties, Dunsky says.

Strent offers this tip: If you can afford only one extra payment each year, make January’s payment before Dec. 31 to get the interest counted toward the current year’s interest deduction on your tax bill. You’ll realize the savings now rather than later, which adds the instant-gratification factor.

Whatever you do, both Dunsky and Strent agree that going on a biweekly schedule (paying your mortgage every other week) is a bad move; the penalties are stiff if you miss a payment, and there are setup fees.

See current cash-out refi rates

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9 Ways to Get the Best Refinance Rates

To earn the best refinance rate on your mortgage, build your credit score, shorten the term, resist a cash-out refi and get multiple quotes.

9_Ways_to_Get_the_Best_Refinance_Rates

 We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. Here’s how we make money

In the hunt for the best mortgage refinance rate, there are some things you can control and some you can’t. Rates moving up just when you’re about to refi? Can’t control that.

But there are at least nine things you can do:

1. Look for errors in your credit report

Credit report errors happen more often than you might imagine, says Mary Anne Daly, senior mortgage advisor for Stearns Lending.

“I ran credit for someone who had a state tax lien and a charge off,” Daly says. “They said, ‘This isn’t mine. I don’t know anything about this.'”

She also remembers clients who had a credit score of 623. Their credit report had mistakes, and the customers wondered if an improvement in their score would be worth the effort of correcting them. By wiping the errors from their history, their credit score improved to 660, and the borrowers saved $95 a month on their home loan.

» MORE: Check your credit score for free

2. Keep credit card balances below 25% of your available credit

Daly says to consider asking your credit card providers to increase your available credit. Using a smaller percentage of your available credit lowers your credit utilization ratio and can earn you a better interest rate.

3. Don’t quit using consumer credit

Paying off consumer credit can be liberating, but you should continue making small purchases on your credit cards from time to time. Even if you pay the balances off each month, it shows you manage debt responsibly, which can actually improve your credit score, Daly adds.

4. Be wary of ‘no-cost’ loans

“That always tickles me,” Daly says of such loan gimmicks. “There are no free lunches.” All lenders will charge fees, whether they are paid upfront, rolled into the loan balance or built into the loan’s interest rate.

It’s not uncommon for closing costs to be tacked on to a loan. Joe Burke, a loan officer with Guaranteed Rate in Chicago, says paying them out of pocket can lower your interest rate.

» MORE: Compare mortgage refinance rates

5. Consider a shorter loan term

Burke notes that expanding your loan term may not be in your best interest.

“If you’ve already paid seven years into a 30-year fixed, for instance, putting you into a new 30-year fixed may not be the best financial decision,” he says.

Moving from a 30-year mortgage to a 20-year or even a 15-year term can earn you a lower mortgage interest rate, not to mention reducing interest payments over the life of the loan.

“A lot of people don’t know that,” Daly adds. She tells of customers who were considering several options on a mortgage. They had 10 years left on their loan, and they thought it wouldn’t make sense to refinance. Daly showed them that refinancing to a 10-year loan term with a lower mortgage rate would save $45,000 in interest, without significantly changing their monthly payments.

“They were just thrilled,” Daly says, “paying a little bit more [each month] but saving all of that money.”

6. Resist the urge to take cash out

A cash-out refinance allows you to draw some of your home’s equity as a part of a new loan. But it also increases your loan-to-value ratio. That will raise your interest rate in most cases, Daly says.

» MORE: Calculate your refinance savings

7. Lock in your best refinance rate

“Sometimes, believe it or not, we have a little bit of a crystal ball” about how mortgage rates may behave in the very short term, Daly says. That can be tied to major economic news, policy announcements or government reports.

After conferring with your loan advisor about an estimated time to closing, ask about a mortgage rate lock, which will prevent rising rates from affecting your mortgage while the loan is being processed — which can take weeks.

8. Consider how long you’ll live in the home

“One of the questions that we’re always asking people is, ‘How long do you plan on staying in the home?'” Burke says. “I think that’s a very important question that a lot of people don’t ask.”

For example, if you know you are going to be selling your home in five to 10 years, an adjustable rate mortgage, with an introductory rate lower than that of a fixed-rate loan, may be the right choice, Daly adds.

9. Shop rates — and know what they mean

Shopping more than one lender may be the most powerful way to earn the best refinance rates. Getting just one additional rate quote could save borrowers an average $1,500 over the life of a loan, according to research by Freddie Mac, a government-sponsored entity that helps fund the mortgage market.

But advertised rates that seem unusually low may have discount points built in — that’s when you pay upfront to get a lower interest rate. For the lender, factoring in discount points may be a ploy to drive business, but for borrowers, the points can be a part of a loan strategy.

“Most of the time, we find that the buy-down doesn’t make sense,” Daly says. To see if discount points work in your situation, consider your monthly payment savings against how long it will take to recoup the fees — and how long you expect to stay in a home.

Burke says borrowers often fixate on a low rate but miss important details in loan terms disclosed in the fine print.

“Looking at APR is absolutely one of the best ways to go,” he says. The stated annual percentage rate of a loan includes the interest rate you’ll pay on the loan, plus all fees. You’ll have to complete an application with each lender you’re considering to get all the information that impacts your offered APR.

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Best Mortgage Refinance Lenders of February 2019

we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

The best thing about refinancing your mortgage is that you’ve been through the home loan process before — but a lot may have changed since then. And there are more refinance lenders and more loan options now than ever.

Some refinance lenders offer the latest in online capabilities, others specialize in Federal Housing Administration or Veterans Affairs loans, and others will still discuss your loan options with you face to face.

» MORE: Get notified when refinancing will save you money

NerdWallet has picked some of the best mortgage refinance lenders in a variety of categories so you can quickly determine which one is right for you.

Best overall refinance lenders

Rocket Mortgage
LEARN MORE

at Rocket Mortgage

Min. credit score

620

National / regional

National

NerdWallet rating
 
Why we like it

Ideal for refi borrowers with little time. Rocket Mortgage brings smart-phone app convenience to the refinance process. And online income and asset verification speeds the process.

 

Lenda
LEARN MORE

at Lenda

Min. credit score

620

National / regional

Regional

NerdWallet rating
 
Why we like it

Ideal for refinance customers in the states it serves. Lenda doesn’t charge upfront origination or broker fees on refinance loans, which close in around 36 days.

 

Navy Federal
LEARN MORE

at Navy Federal

National / regional

National

Min. down payment

0%

NerdWallet rating
 
Why we like it

Ideal for military members and their families. Navy Federal Credit Union offers a wide range of mortgage products and low minimum loan amounts, and considers alternative credit data.

 

Veterans United
LEARN MORE

at Veterans United

Min. credit score

620

National / regional

National

NerdWallet rating
 
Why we like it

Ideal for military-connected customers looking to refinance. Veterans United's streamline VA refis require a lot less paperwork with lower closing costs.

 

SunTrust
LEARN MORE

at SunTrust

Min. credit score

620

National / regional

National

NerdWallet rating
 
Why we like it

Ideal for the homeowner who wants to refinance, but needs help figuring out which type of mortgage to choose. SunTrust offers a broad range of loan types, including FHA, VA, USDA and conventional mortgages.

 

Guaranteed Rate
READ REVIEW

at NerdWallet

Min. credit score

620

National / regional

National

NerdWallet rating
 
Why we like it

Ideal for homeowners who are looking to refinance into conventional, FHA or VA mortgages. Guaranteed Rate works with almost anyone with a good credit score and stable income.

 

 See current cash-out refi rates

Chase
LEARN MORE

at Chase

Min. credit score

620

National / regional

National

NerdWallet rating
 
Why we like it

Ideal for refinancing any way you want: in person, online or over the phone. With branch locations in 22 states, Chase has a strong face-to-face presence, but refinancers can apply through other channels, too.

 

Bank of America
LEARN MORE

at Bank of America

Min. credit score

620

National/regional

National

NerdWallet rating
 
Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers who like options. Bank of America offers multiple refinance loans, including FHA, VA and cash-out.

 

Connexus
LEARN MORE

at Connexus

Min. credit score

600

National / regional

National

NerdWallet rating
 
Why we like it

Ideal for homeowners who want to refinance their mortgages in any state but Alaska and Hawaii. Connexus aims to make the application process as seamless as possible through its online portal.

 

Alliant
LEARN MORE

at Alliant

Min credit score

NA

National / Regional

National

NerdWallet rating
 
Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers who like to save money. Through Alliant's Advantage Mortgage (AAM) program, borrowers may be able to refinance and eliminate mortgage insurance with just 5% equity.

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Should You ‘Restart’ Your 30-Year Mortgage When You Refinance?

A cash-out refinance is best for home improvements and when you can lower your interest rate. Be careful using it to pay off credit cards; you're putting your home at risk.
 
we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

IN THIS ARTICLE:
What is a cash-out refinance?
Pros of a cash-out refinance
Cons of a cash-out refinance
The bottom line

What is a cash-out refinance?

A cash-out refinance replaces your existing mortgage with a new home loan for more than you owe on your house. The difference goes to you in cash and you can spend it on home improvements, debt consolidation or other financial needs. You must have equity built up in your house to use a cash-out refinance.

Traditional refinancing, in contrast, replaces your existing mortgage with a new one for the same balance. Here’s how a cash-out refinance works:

  • Pays difference of your mortgage balance and home’s value.
  • Has slightly higher interest rates due to a higher loan amount.
  • Limits cash-out amounts to 80% to 90% of your home’s equity.

In other words, you can’t pull out 100% of your home’s equity these days. If your home is valued at $200,000 and your mortgage balance is $100,000, you have $100,000 of equity in your home. Let’s say you want to spend $50,000 on renovations. You can refinance your loan for $150,000, and receive $50,000 in cash at closing.

 

The pros of a cash-out refinance

Lower interest rates: A mortgage refinance typically offers a lower interest rate than a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or a home equity loan (HEL).

A cash-out refinance might give you a lower interest rate if you originally bought your home when mortgage rates were much higher. For example, if you bought in 2000, the average mortgage rate was about 9%. Today, it’s considerably lower. But if you only want to lock in a lower interest rate on your mortgage and don’t need the cash, regular refinancing makes more sense.

Debt consolidation: Using the money from a cash-out refinance to pay off high-interest credit cards could save you thousands of dollars in interest.

Higher credit score: Paying off your credit cards in full with a cash-out refinance can improve your credit score by reducing your credit utilization ratio — the amount of available credit you’re using.

Tax deductions: Unlike credit card interest, mortgage interest payments are tax deductible. That means a cash-out refinance could reduce your taxable income and land you a bigger tax refund.

The cons

Foreclosure risk: Because your home is the collateral for any kind of mortgage, you risk losing it if you can’t make the payments.

New terms: Your new mortgage will have different terms than your original loan. Double check your interest rate and fees before you agree to the new terms.

If you’re doing a cash-out refinance to pay off credit card debt, avoid running up your cards again.

Closing costs: You’ll pay closing costs for a cash-out refinance, as you would with any refinance. Closing costs are typically 3% to 6% of the mortgage — that’s $6,000 to $10,000 for a $200,000 loan. Make sure your potential savings are worth the cost.

Private mortgage insurance: If you borrow more than 80% of your home’s value, you’ll have to pay private mortgage insurance. For example, if you have a mortgage of $100,000 on a home valued at $200,000 and do a cash-out refinance for $160,000, you’ll probably have to pay PMI on the new mortgage. PMI typically costs from 0.05% to 1% of your loan amount each year. A PMI of 1% on an $180,000 mortgage would cost $1,800 per year (read more about PMI here).

Enabling bad habits: If you’re doing a cash-out refinance to pay off credit card debt, you’re freeing up your credit limit. Avoid falling back into bad habits and running up your cards again.

The bottom line

A cash-out refinance can make sense if you can get a good interest rate on the new loan and have a good use for the money. But seeking a refinance to fund vacations or a new car isn’t a good idea, because you’ll have little to no return on your money. On the other hand, using the money to fund a home renovationor consolidate debt can rebuild the equity you’re taking out or help you get on a sounder financial footing.

Just remember that you’re using your home as collateral for a cash-out refinance — so it’s important to make payments on your new loan on time and in full.

See current cash-out refi rates
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When an Extended Car Warranty Is Worth It

 

 In our survey, only about half of people who bought an extended warranty for a used car filed a claim

Most new- and used-car dealers offer customers a free, limited warranty that covers a car for the first 60 to 90 days of ownership. In fact, some states require a minimum warranty period on any used car sold by a dealership.

Yet relatively few problems arise during that time period. That’s why dealers and third-party companies offer customers an extended warranty.

Think of it as repair insurance once the manufacturer’s warranty has expired. With such coverage, used-car owners reported paying a median of $1,000 for future service work they may never need if the car is reliable. But if hit by an expensive doozy of a problem—such as a busted camshaft or a blown head gasket—car owners may be glad they have an extended warranty. That is if the warranty company pays the claim.

Consumer Reports has discouraged consumers from purchasing an extended warranty for a number of products, including cars. Why? It’s rare that the premium you pay will equal the amount of a paid repair claim down the line.

On the flip side, it’s just as rare to find a used car that has a confirmed history and all maintenance and repair receipts since it was new. And Consumer Reports has found that vehicle-history firms like Carfax and AutoCheck don’t catch all of the accidents that cars may have been involved in, especially if no insurance paperwork for the accident was filed or if a salvage history was “wiped.”


Learn why haggling for your next car really pays.
 

Wasted Money?

According to our survey, only about half of those who purchased an extended warranty for a used car from the model year 2000 or later actually filed a claim over the past five years. That’s a lot of money spent for peace of mind. But most of those who filed repair claims wound up relying on their extended warranty multiple times.

About 30 percent of used-car purchasers who had owned their car for a year or less and purchased an extended warranty to cover it needed to use that warranty in the first year of ownership.

But two-thirds of drivers needed that additional coverage in years two through five of ownership.

And while the extended-warranty industry has taken a bad rap for not paying claims, 84 percent of used-car buyers who had to use their extended warranty said that all of their claims were honoured. And 82 percent of all extended-warranty buyers said they would consider getting one again.

That said, we suggest setting aside the money you would spend on a warranty premium for a rainy-day repair instead.

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Going in for Surgery? Avoid Surprise Medical Bills

It’s always a good idea to confirm that your hospital is in your health plan’s network before you go in for a procedure – but this proactive step still may not be enough to avoid surprise medical bills.

Millions of Americans get surprised bills from doctors who don’t participate in their health plan but who practice in hospitals that do. This often happens when an anesthesiologist or assistant surgeon you didn’t even know was going to be in the room during your surgery (and who doesn’t participate in your health plan), scrubs up and steps in during your procedure. When it’s all over, the out-of-network doctor bills you for the difference between what your insurer paid and what the doctor charges. The practice is called “balance billing.”

The Affordable Care Act requires insurers to cover out-of-network emergency services at in-network rates. But the law doesn’t stop doctors from balance billing, and it doesn’t release patients from their responsibility to pay surprise medical bills.

Although you don’t have complete control over whether or not you’ll get a balanced bill, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood and to fix the problem once it happens.

Plan ahead. Before a planned surgery ask about the team of healthcare providers who will treat you while you’re hospitalized.

It’s very difficult to control who sees you at the hospital or to know which doctors participate with your health plan. But it can’t hurt to ask that they keep non-participating providers out of your room.

Check for mistakes. It may be that an in-network provider got recorded incorrectly as out-of-network in your insurer’s system when your claim was processed.

When you get a bill, don’t pay it right away. Instead, call your health plan to discuss the bill you received and ask if you can get the charges removed if they’re incorrect.

If you get health insurance at work, your employer may be able to help dispute the bill.

Talk to your doctor. Physicians are sensitive to the financial burden patients are under these days, including those caused by surprise medical bills. It’s worth calling to ask if the doctor is willing to reduce the price of the bill.

Your health plan should also be able to step in and help. In some cases, your insurer will negotiate for you with physicians to either lower or waive out-of-network charges.

Check your state. Federal law does not protect patients from balance billing. However, about a quarter of the states do have laws in place that protect consumers from balance billing by health care providers that don’t participate in their health plan. Check with your state’s department of insurance to learn about the protections where you live.

File an appeal. The law entitles you to both an internal appeal with your insurer and an external review by an independent third party. Your health plan must provide guidelines about how to go about the appeal process.

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Why Staying with Your Car Insurance Company Can Be a Good Thing

You’ve probably seen tips on other insurance blogs or heard advice through auto insurers directly about how important it is to shop around for quotes. While this is a strong practice to allow yourself access to the best rates for your car make, age, and driving history, it isn’t always the best idea. For some people, staying with the same auto insurer for an extended period of time has been the most cost-effective, practical solution for their circumstances.

What many people don’t think about when deciding to switch auto insurance companies is the quality of the services, not just the quantity of cash they’ll save. Just because a car insurance company is offering cheaper rates than your current insurance policy doesn’t mean it’s a better policy. Before you switch to a different insurance company that offers you a lower quote than the insurer you’re currently dealing with, make sure you weigh the options. Staying with your current car insurance company can be a positive decision.

 

Renewal Discounts

Many insurance companies offer discounts to customers that have been loyal to them for several years. Arbella offers an additional 1% loyalty credit for every year you renew with them. Ameriprise offers discounts to customers that have been loyal to them for three years. While some insurance companies offer discounts when you renew with them, most companies offer more substantial discounts on other fronts.

 

Bundling Discounts

A lot of insurance companies will give you a discount if you bundle your car insurance with your home or life insurance policies. Nationwide, Allstate, Liberty Mutual, State Farm, and other insurance companies offer discounts to people who purchase multiple insurance policies with them. If you have bundled policies and have earned a discount as a result, you may have to prepare yourself for higher rates if you decide to switch insurance companies or forego a policy.

 

Accident Forgiveness

Nationwide, Allstate, Travelers, and dozens of other insurance companies offer accident forgiveness to their clients. Accident forgiveness refers to a park in which customers do not have to pay extra rates after their first at-fault accidents. Most accident forgiveness discounts can only be redeemed after 5 or 6 years of loyalty to the insurer. If you’ve been with the same company for long enough to qualify for this perk (or are close to this threshold), staying with your auto insurance company could be beneficial.

 

Overall Loyalty

As a general benefit from staying with your auto insurance company, you’ll have a better relationship with your insurer. Building trust with an agent creates a positive working relationship. This trust may help you in the long run; if you ever need to file a claim after an accident, this process should be simpler and more successful if you are speaking with an agent you’re very familiar with. If your agent knows your driving habits and history well, he or she will be able to recommend the best coverage for you. Getting acquainted with your insurance company is a huge perk to staying loyal to your insurance company.


If you believe none of these benefits affect you directly right now, you might want to shop around for auto insurance quotes. If one of these perks applies to your current policy, sticking with your current company could be the best option, especially if the quotes you’re seeing aren’t significantly lower than your current rate.

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How To Prevent Home Break-Ins

Alarm systems and motion detectors can offer you protection and security, but there are other steps you can take to prevent your home from being burglarized.

According to Statistics Canada, alarm systems have helped reduce the number of home break-ins. Insurance companies favor those who have such security systems in place, however, follow our additional steps to further prevent home break-ins.

Doors and windows MUST be locked.

To prevent a break-in, always lock your doors and windows, especially when you aren’t home. Make sure that windows can’t be open from the outside, but that you can unlock them from the inside in case of an emergency. It’s important to change your locks or combinations if you move into a new home or lose your key. You can also use security bars on basement windows or sliding doors. If you have a spare key outside your home, make sure it’s well hidden.

Keep valuables out of sight.

Closing your blinds and curtains at night can stop people from seeing in, but you should also keep valuables out of sight. If a thief can see valuable items, such as jewellery or electronics, they are more likely to break-in. Small valuable items can easily be taken from your home. Keep these items in a safety deposit box or an unlikely place. It is always a good idea to take an inventory of your valuables in your home with videotapes or photographs.

What to do while you are away.

Home break-ins are less likely if it looks like someone is home. Before leaving for vacation, stop your mail or have someone pick it up for you. To make your house look lived in you can keep your grass cut, a shoveled driveway, and a car in the driveway. You can also use timers on your lights. If you have a good relationship with your neighbour, let them know how long you will be away so they can keep an eye on your home. Avoid posting on social media that you are going away and wait until you are back to post those great vacation pictures!

Remember to limit the number of people who know you will be away from your home. We hope you have found our prevention tips useful!  

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