An increase in your insurance rates can understandably be upsetting, especially if it's one you're not expecting. But you're not necessarily just a victim to rate increases any time your insurance company feels like it. In fact, there can be quite a few ways you can work to reduce your rates again.
It starts with contacting your West Virginia independent insurance agent to review your coverage. They can help you understand why a rate increase occurred and more importantly, what you can do about it. Check out these expert tips on what to do after an insurance rate increase in West Virginia.
What Do I Do if My West Virginia Insurance Rates Increase?
For starters, take a deep breath. Know that rate increases are common throughout the life of your policy, whether it's business insurance, car insurance, or homeowners insurance. Rate increases can happen because of your insurance company's need to remain competitive in the market, or because of other factors such as changes to your policy.
Your insurance company should always notify you of an upcoming rate increase by mail or by your chosen contact method. From there, you can make changes to your coverage if it can help you save money or if it would serve you better. Your insurance company should explain to you the reason for the rate increase and when you can expect to see the change in your premiums so you can be prepared.
Step One: Understand Why Your Insurance Rates Increased
There are a myriad of reasons your insurance rates might have gone up. Here are just a few of the most common:
- Your discounts expired: Maybe you had a new customer discount that lapsed since you've been with your carrier for a couple of years now. Or maybe you used to have a student living at home who's graduated. There are several discounts that may no longer apply to your coverage for a number of reasons.
- An insured item changed: Maybe you upgraded your home by adding an extra room or did something to increase the value of your vehicle. These changes can result in an increase in rates on your coverage because it must compensate for the new value of the insured item.
- The industry's rates increased: Governing bodies of the insurance industry can cause rate increases every so often, and they're often set by the state you live in. Texas, for example, saw rate increases for auto insurance up to 20% from several carriers earlier this year.
- Your claims history changed: Even filing one claim can cause your insurance rates to increase. You may have also been granted a claims-free discount from your carrier that no longer applies after a loss.
If none of these factors apply to you, your West Virginia independent insurance agent can better help you understand why your policy may have been prone to a rate increase.
Step Two: Take Action: What Can You Do about Rate Increases?
Contact your West Virginia independent insurance agent immediately after a rate increase has been announced for your coverage. They'll help you understand the change and any further action steps you can take to turn it around. You also have the option to appeal the rate change with your insurance company.
Your West Virginia independent insurance agent can help you file that appeal with your carrier. If this process doesn't go your way, you can work with your agent to switch policies or switch carriers entirely.
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Step Three: Act to Limit Future Rate Increases
Insurance expert Paul Martin said that not filing any claims is the best way to avoid rate increases, though, of course, this isn't always possible. He added, however, that your home insurance rates will increase over time by default because your property's value is bound to increase. Every few years, shop around for new coverage again to make sure you're still getting the best rates available.
Knowing what factors are responsible for determining your insurance rates can help you limit future increases. Your West Virginia independent insurance agent can help you review what factors impact your policies' premiums specifically.
Step Four: Know How Insurance Rates Are Determined
Your insurance rates are determined based on many different factors, which can depend on the type of policy in question.
These factors can influence your policy's rates:
- Your credit score: Auto insurance and other policies can partially set their rates based on your credit score and history, as credit behavior has been found to correlate to driving behavior.
- Your claims history: If you've filed any claims through any of your policies, you can expect the rates to increase.
- Your location: Your location can impact all of your insurance rates, due to the risk of crime, natural disasters, etc.
- Your business's industry: Your business's industry can influence the rate of your business insurance, because certain niches carry more risk, such as the construction industry.
- Your crew's size: Your business's number of employees influences how much workers' compensation you'll need, which will impact your overall rates.
- Your experience: If you're a brand new driver, for example, you can expect much higher car insurance premiums.
- Your driving record: Prior traffic violations or accidents on your driving record can impact the cost of your auto insurance.
- Your household size: The number of family members you report on your home insurance policy can impact its rates.
- Your property's value: The higher the value of the property you need to insure, whether it's a home, business, or car, the more coverage you'll need, and the higher its rates are likely to be.
- Your safety features: Your insurance company will likely offer you a discount if you take measures to protect your property, whether that's by adding a burglar alarm or better lock, etc.
Your West Virginia independent insurance agent can help you understand how these factors apply to you and what you can do about your coverage rates.
Step Five: Ask about Insurance Discounts
Martin pointed out that a great way to save on your insurance is to first ask your insurance company about bundling discounts, such as if you purchase both your home insurance and auto insurance from them. Bundling discounts are a convenient way to save as much as 20% on your premiums. Your West Virginia independent insurance agent also knows to look out for discounts you qualify for, which may include:
- Safety course discounts: If you complete an approved safety course for driving or conducting business, you may be granted a discount on your auto insurance or business insurance.
- Upgraded property discount: Updating your home's systems, such as plumbing or electrical, can often grant you a homeowners insurance discount.
- Loyalty discounts: Sticking with the same insurer for a set number of years can sometimes earn you a loyalty discount.
- Claims-free discount: If you don't file any claims through your policy, you can often start saving big time on your coverage rates, no matter the type of policy.
- Other discounts: Depending on the insurer, they may offer several other discounts, such as longevity discounts, group discounts (e.g., teachers, military, etc.), security features discounts, and more.
Knowing which insurance discounts you may qualify for can be helpful, but keep in mind that your West Virginia independent insurance agent can also take care of this for you. They'll make sure you get matched to a policy with as many discounts as possible to save you the most money on your coverage.
West Virginia Insurance Rate Increases
On average, homeowners insurance rates in West Virginia are up an average of 11.4% over what they were five years ago. Changes in property values and rebuild costs are partially responsible for these changes. Regardless, if you need to insure your home or vehicle, you can work together with your West Virginia independent insurance agent to find the lowest available rates and best discounts.
Why Choose a West Virginia Independent Insurance Agent?
West Virginia independent insurance agents simplify the process by shopping and comparing insurance quotes for you. Not only that, but they’ll also cut through the jargon and clarify the fine print so you'll know exactly what you’re getting.
West Virginia independent insurance agents also have access to multiple insurance companies, ultimately finding you the best insurance coverage, accessibility, and competitive pricing while working for you.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin
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