This guest post from Rich is part of a new feature here at Get Rich Slowly. Every Sunday will include a reader story (in the new “reader stories” category). Some will be general “how I did X” stories, and others will be examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success. Today's is a romantic story of saving money on insurance. (Okay, no romance. That's just a joke.)
As a long-time reader of Get Rich Slowly, I have really appreciated the tips J.D., guest writers, and regular readers in comments have shared with me over the years. Now it's my turn to pay it forward.
About a year ago, I was laid off in Minnesota, right before Christmas. Oh no! Fortunately I was able to find a new job quickly, but it was out in San Francisco. What to do with the home we owned in Minnesota? We decided to rent it out, and we were also very fortunate to find good tenants very quickly.
However, as a newbie landlord I was quite surprised to find that homeowners insurance on your primary residence is quite different than insurance on a home you rent out. We went from $1,500 a year insurance premium (while living in the home) to $3,100 annual premium. Not being a savvy landlord, I sucked it up and thought “Well, hey, at least I'm employed, and I got the house rented, so be grateful.” And I was.
This year, my insurance company informed me the annual premium on my rental property would be going up to $3,650. Wow! I finally decided to shop around, and I'm really glad I did. I simply googled “landlord insurance” and easily found websites where I could type in my information (securely) and get a number of quotes. Different insurers seem to calculate premiums very differently from each other! Quotes ranged from around $1,350 to $2,000 for the exact same property, but nothing near the $3,650 my current insurer wanted.
In the end, I switched to an insurance provider that quoted me $1,345, saving me $2,305 on my rental property each year! While I was at it, I asked this same insurance provider to give me an auto quote. With my previous insurer, I had been paying $1,811 for two cars in northern California. With the new insurer, it came to $1,277. That's another savings of $534 on annual auto insurance premiums. If you're keeping track, that's $2,839 in annual savings on my insurance needs.
My point isn't that only people with rental properties should look into their insurance costs. My point is that everyone should look into their insurance costs. Just like calling up the cable company and negotiating a discount off your monthly bill (which I recently did, saving $35/month), for a few hours of investment, you too can get new quotes on your insurance needs and save hundreds, possibly thousands a year as I have done. It's really very easy.
What am I going to do with this extra $2,839 this year, you ask? Sock it away in my short-term savings account, like every good GRS reader! Later in the year it could go toward my annual IRA contribution, or the 529 college fund for my teenager, or just sit around as a bit of extra financial cushion for the unexpected.
I'd love to hear other stories of readers saving a boatload on their insurance by shopping around a bit!