6 Insurance Tips to Save for the Holidays

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Americans aren’t bullish about much these days, but they are bullish about holiday spending this year.

According to Gallup, Americans currently estimate they will spend an average of $764 on Christmas gifts this year – $50 more than the $714 they estimated in 2011, and more than $100 greater than holiday spending estimates in 2008 and 2009.

Now, $764 isn’t an exactly chump change, so to reach that magic – and expensive – number, Americans might have to get creative. And one way to do that is to find some cuts in your household insurance budget to get you over that $764 hump.

Consumers don’t like to think about insurance – it’s a dry, boring subject that, at first glance, wouldn’t seem to offer much flexibility in terms of price savings. But that’s why examining your insurance is worth a second glance. Doing so can yield some big price savings – money that can be put to some holiday sending cheer this year and next. Here’s where to start:

1.    Ask for a discount on your auto coverage. Auto insurance companies don’t want to admit this, but the industry is so competitive that they are susceptible to requests for price discounts – they’re just not counting on you to ask about them. Don’t get too ambitious. Aim for 10% and you should get the green light. If your insurer says no, threaten to take your business elsewhere – your auto insurance firm will likely get the message.

2.    Combine your insurance policies. Insurance companies want your business so badly that they will give you a nice price break – about 10%-to-15% - if you consolidate your auto insurance with your health, homeowners or life insurance policies.

3.    Increase your deductible. This tactic has some risk attached to it, especially for health insurance customers, but if you increase the deductible on your auto or health insurance, you can save up to 30% on monthly payments. (And you can always switch back after the holidays are over).

4.    Get discounts on mileage safety and security. Back to auto insurance for more savings: You can get discounts from a multitude of features on your car, like air bags, car alarms, and low mileage usage. Bring it up with your insurance provider and you can really cut your car insurance budget.

5.    Leverage your good credit. Insurance companies love consumers with good credit – it means they likely won’t have to worry about you not paying your bill every month. If your credit score has improved since you opened your policy, let your insurer know. Often, they’ll cut your premium to keep your business – and your good credit rating – in-house.

6.    Pay yearly – not monthly. Insurance companies want your bill paid, and the sooner the better. So next year, pay your life or auto insurance in one lump sum, if possible. You’ll get a decent price break from your insurer (about 10%-15%) and, come December 2012, you’ll have a lot more money in your pocket for holiday shopping.

Some of these tips you can put into action now, and some can wait until next year – but all can create plenty of wiggle room in your holiday shopping budget. All you have to do is put the tips in play.

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