Posted on Jan 02, 2015
With 2015 started, many people will make resolutions to improve their lifestyle. However, many people will not keep them. Consider the following 6 popular resolutions that you may want to keep since it can give you more money in your bank account when the resolutions result in a lowering of your insurance ratings and premiums.
1. Quit smoking
Smoking dramatically increases the cost of insurance, particularly for term life insurance. Smoking also raises premiums for permanent life insurance, such as whole and universal life, as well as disability and long-term care insurance. Most life insurance companies require you to be tobacco-free for at least 12 months to qualify as a nonsmoker, but some companies, such as John Hancock, offer a "quit smoking incentive" program for its universal life and variable universal life products.
The John Hancock program lets smokers who intend to quit smoking qualify for standard nonsmoker rates for three years. They get to keep the nonsmoker rate permanently if during the three years they show evidence they quit smoking for at least 12 months.
2. Lose weight
Losing weight could qualify you for lower life insurance rates. That's true whether you're applying for a new policy or already have life insurance. Slimming down through healthy diet and exercise programs may get a reconsideration your life insurance rating classes on existing policies, but not all life insurance companies allow existing policyholders to apply for better rating classes.
3. Make your home safer
Ask your homeowners insurance company or agent about safety and security discounts. Consider upgrades for fire safety, too, such as replacing an old wood shingle roof with a roof made from fire-safe materials. Something as simple as installing deadbolts on doors or putting in better locks on windows, up to installing a security system with remote monitoring.
4. Improve your credit
Insurance companies in some states use credit information as a factor in setting premiums. People with good credit get lower rates than those with poor credit histories. To improve your credit, request free copies of your credit reports and follow instructions to correct any factual errors. Then, catch up on late payments to creditors, pay your bills on time and keep credit card balances under 30 percent of credit limits. Not all states, however, use credit history information when setting rates.
5. Drive less, drive gently - if you can
Insurance companies offer pay-as-you-drive programs in a growing number of states. By enrolling in these programs, you agree to have your car's mileage and your driving performance tracked through a telemetric device installed in your vehicle. The device monitors how far you drive and when, how fast you accelerate and turn, and how hard you brake. If you qualify by meeting certain criteria -- not driving during peak hours, not driving more than 12,000 miles in a year and not taking turns too fast or braking too hard -- you can receive a reduction in your car insurance rate.
6. Turn off your cell phone while driving
Ditching your phone while driving may not directly lower car insurance rates, but it may help prevent accidents and traffic tickets, which can increase premiums. The National Transportation Safety Board recommended a nationwide ban on the use of cell phones and text messaging devices while driving. If adopted by all states, it would be illegal to use a phone while driving, even if you used accessories that allowed you talk on the phone without using your hands.
Currently, the use of mobile devices while driving is governed by state laws with varying degrees of scope. Some states ban all use of handheld cell phones while driving, others prohibit just novice drivers from using cell phones behind the wheel. Meanwhile, some states ban only text messaging while driving. Regardless of what the laws are in your state, safety experts say it's best to stay focused on the road rather than talk on the phone and drive.
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