Well-known historian, philosopher, and inventor Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying, “There are two guarantees in life: Death and taxes.” For millions of hard-working Americans, it’s that time of year again to do what you have to – make a formal accounting of last year’s income.
With the tax filing deadline just around the corner, millions of U.S. consumers have already sent their tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service. In fact, as of March 20, visits to IRS.gov have increased 11 percent – totaling more than 215 million users who have logged on to the government website.
Many of those who have visited the agency’s website have done so in order to e-file their tax returns. As IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has pointed out, e-filing serves as a quick and easy way that Americans can file, but also receive a refund if they’re due to get money back.
It’s this refund that everyone hopes they’ll be receiving. Of the 6.1 billion combined hours that employees and business owners put into preparing their taxes, according to estimates from lawmakers, much of this time is spent on finding all the possible ways in which filers can get as much of their hard-earned money back from the government. This is often made possible by itemizing rather than taking a standard deduction. Though this process usually takes longer, the reward for those who know what they’re doing is additional revenue, made possible by tax deductions for which people qualify. The average refund this year is $2,938, up 0.7 percent from 2014.
With all this time spent on tax preparation, you would think that insurance policyholders would invest similar efforts into lowering what they pay for insurance premiums, such as homeowners insurance or auto insurance.
All too often, though, people don’t do this. Just before their policy lapses, the easiest thing to do is to renew so that they’re covered for another year.
If you’re one of these people, you may be surprised by just how much money you can save by putting in some extra elbow grease into shopping around.
The benefits of insurance shopping
Organizations like the Insurance Information Institute, Standard and Poor’s and A.M. Best all agree – if you want to lower how much you spend on premiums, you’re best option is to price and compare insurance quotes. Whether you do this by utilizing a quote comparison website or going straight to the source – like logging on to carriers’ websites, or speaking with an agent – you may be able to save yourself hundreds of dollars in premiums, all thanks to selecting a plan that’s more within your budget and needs.
Customer service satisfaction also important
While price is what most people use to determine the plan or service provider that’s best, keep in mind that there are other important factors to consider as well. You should also check to see if customers are satisfied with their services. J.D. Power and Associates is a research and polling firm that regularly releases survey results that gauge customer sentiment among private insurance carriers. You may also want to talk to friends or relatives for their opinions.
Inquire about discounts
Another way you can save on insurance is by taking advantage of discounts. Insurers are always interested in providing as low a price as possible for its policyholders, which is why there are incentives to driving safely. If you have a good driving record, ask about how much you can save on our insurance costs. You may also be able to take advantage of other cost savings methods, such as insuring an older car or one that’s fuel efficient. By doing some extra research, you’re sure to find other discounts that you may have never heard about but are eligible for.
As the old saying goes, anything worth doing is worth doing right. This tax filing season, set aside some time for reviewing your insurance plan, especially if it’s set to lapse pretty soon. By investing time into researching a different policy or provider – that extra time may bring the need for extra space in your wallet, thanks to all the money you’ll save. For more information on Elephant’s suite of insurance services, speak with a local agent.