Surprises can be fun, but not when you mail your insurance payment, well before it's due, only to receive a cancellation for nonpayment notice along with a hefty late fee! Unfortunately, this is becoming more and more of an issue for many NH insureds, but there is a solution.
How to Save Time and Money When Paying NH Insurance
Tip 1: Save Money by Paying Premium in Full
Paying a policy in full can be a financial challenge for many, given this may be outside your budget.
That said, if you can pay it in full, you should consider it. You will not only eliminate the worry of having your installment make it to the company each month, but you could also save money in two ways.
You will definitely save money if your insurance company charges an installment fee for mailed invoices, which is anywhere from $3 - $10 each month. This alone can save you anywhere from $36 to $120 a year.
The policy may also qualify for a pay-in-full credit. Some companies offer a 3- 20% credit for this option, so it is worth considering.
Many insurance companies allow payments to be made by credit card, so if cash in on credit card points, this may be worth looking into (as long as the interest rate won't end up costing you more than the installment fee.)
A word of caution:
Paying your premium in full may give you a false sense of security. It is not uncommon for an insured to disregard a bill from the carrier because they believe it is "all set."
The policy would remain "all set" for the policy term, as long as no changes were made. If a change were made that increased the premium, a bill would be due.
As insurance agents, we have also seen some insureds not pay the policy's renewal as they lost track of time and thought the policy was paid in full. A policy can only be paid in full for its term, so be sure to keep track of these dates.
Tip 2: Save Time and Money with EFT
Electronic Fund Transfer, EFT, is the best way to ensure your installments arrive on time at the insurance company. EFT can be set up by providing either the routing and account number of your checking or savings account or your credit card information to the carrier. The company then pulls the installment amount, on the set date, without worrying about the mail.
One of our insureds' concerns is that they are fearful the company will pull too much from their account. That is an understandable concern, but you can find out what the monthly installment will be when you set up EFT.
If you change your policy that impacts the premium, you should also receive a notice informing you of the new installment amount. If you don't receive such a notice automatically, you can certainly ask your agent.
Setting up EFT can avoid a lot of problems because life can be unpredictable. My mother often resisted setting up EFT because she didn't feel it was necessary. A few years ago, she found herself unexpectedly in the hospital with a fractured ankle followed by several months of rehab. Keeping up on her bills was now a challenge.
A word of caution:
EFT is a solution for those without cash-flow issues. If over-drawing your account is a problem, do not sign up for EFT. It would be counter-productive if you don't have the funds to cover the withdrawal, as you would be charged a late fee, as well as an overdraft fee.
You also need to update your account information with the insurance company should you change banks or your credit card expires. It is not hard to do; you just need to remember to do it or pay attention to correspondence from the company that updated information is needed.
Tip 3: Pay Your Bill On-Line
If you cannot pay your bill in full or have the cash-flow to set up EFT, another option is to pay your premium directly through your insurance company's website.
As more and more consumers demand online solutions for ease of doing business, many carriers have reacted by offering one-time payment options directly on their websites.
This is a great option as it is available 24/7, and you receive confirmation directly from the company that your payment was received. Nearly all of the companies that HPM Insurance represents offer this, which can be found on our website HPMinsurance.com.
If your company does not provide this option, please give us a call, and we would be happy to help.
Insurance is designed to protect against the unexpected. Don't let the hassle of paying a bill undermine this goal.