Insurance Blog

Five insurance mistakes to avoid... (and still save money)

Avoid these common mistakes and you’re on your way to getting the best insurance for your needs and budget


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Avoid these pitfalls when buying auto, home, flood and renters insurance.



Saving money feels good. And shopping around when you’re looking for insurance coverage is a great way to do it. However, simply reducing your coverage or dropping important coverages altogether is like diet without exercise—focused only on numbers, not on results. Don’t risk ending up dangerously underinsured and on the hook for much bigger bills in the event of a disaster.

Following are the five most common auto, home, flood and renters insurance mistakes people make, along with suggestions to avert those pitfalls while still saving money (we call them, “better ways to save”):


1. Insuring a home for its real estate value rather than for the cost of rebuilding.

When real estate prices go down, some homeowners may think they can reduce the amount of insurance on their home. But insurance is designed to cover the cost of rebuilding, not the sales price of the home. You should make sure that you have enough coverage to completely rebuild your home and replace your belongings—no matter what the real estate market is doing.

A better way to save: Raise your deductible. An increase from $500 to $1,000 could save up to 25 percent on your premium payments.


2. Selecting an insurance company by price alone.

It is important to choose a company with competitive prices. But be sure the insurer you choose is financially sound and provides good customer service.

A better way to save: Check the financial health of a company with independent rating agencies (some well-known ones: A.M. Best, Moody's), and ask friends and family members about their experiences with insurers. Select an insurance company that will respond to your needs and handle claims fairly and efficiently.


3. Dropping flood insurance.

Damage from flooding is not covered under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. Coverage is available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), as well as from some private insurance companies. You may not be aware you’re at risk for flooding, but keep in mind that 25 percent of all flood losses occur in low risk areas. Furthermore, yearly weather patterns—spring runoff from melting winter snows, for example—can cause flooding.

A better way to save: Before purchasing a home, check with the NFIP to determine whether a property is situated in a flood zone; if so, you may want to consider a less risky area. If you are already living in a designated flood zone, look at mitigation efforts that can reduce your risk of flood damage and consider purchasing flood insurance. Additional information on flood insurance can be found at


4. Only purchasing the legally required amount of liability for your car.

The minimum is just that—the least you can get away with by law. So buying only the minimum amount of liability means you are likely to pay more out-of-pocket later. And if you are sued, those costs can jeopardize your financial well-being.

A better way to save: Consider dropping collision and/or comprehensive coverage on older cars worth less than $1,000. The insurance industry and consumer groups generally recommend a minimum of $100,000 of bodily injury protection per person and $300,000 per accident. 


5. Neglecting to buy renters insurance.

A renters insurance policy covers your possessions and additional living expenses if you have to move out due to an insured disaster, such as a fire or hurricane. Equally important, it provides liability protection in the event someone is injured in your home and decides to sue.

A better way to save: Look into multi-policy discounts. Buying several policies with the same insurer, such as renters, auto, and life will generally provide savings.



Self Driving Semi Truck!

The safety driver in the truck equipped with technology didn’t have to intervene

once over the course of the drive from

California to Pennsylvania.



Road, Transport, Highway, Freeway, Mode of transport, Lane, Thoroughfare, Motor vehicle, Infrastructure, Vehicle,

Road, Transport, Highway, Freeway, Mode of transport, Lane, Thoroughfare, Motor vehicle, Infrastructure, Vehicle,

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An autonomous semi truck developed by made a

cross-country trip in less than three days, trouble free with no

incidences where a human driver had to intervene unexpectedly.


  • The 2800-mile trip was done mostly autonomously, with

    all stops being preplanned.

  • The money that could be saved through automated trucking

    is one of the reasons for increasing numbers of companies

    trying it out.

Like the holiday season, self-driving technology breakthroughs can

often solicit a Damn, it’s already here? reaction. And the news of a

self-driving semi truck driving across the country without any

disengagements—times that a human safety driver had to intervene—should

do just that.


A truck equipped with technology developed by, a tech startup that

specializes in self-driving technology for fleets, drove from Tulare, California,

to Quakertown, Pennsylvania, under a three-day period just before

Thanksgiving. The truck carried 20 tons of butter for the company Land

O'Lakes in what claims is an industry first for commercial freight.

The truck traveled 2800 miles mostly autonomously, stopping only for

scheduled breaks. There were two people on board for the trek, the safety

driver and a safety engineer, for the first cross-country trip that has

had a truck take. Despite the maiden voyage's success,'s chief

operating officer, Shawn Kerrigan, told the Mercury News, "We're still a

few years out" from this happening regularly, but Kerrigan did tell CNBC

that he believes driverless trucks will be ready before driverless cars. is just one of many companies pushing to revolutionize trucking and

change the way goods are transported. Embark Trucks had a semi truck

drive from Los Angeles to Jacksonville, Florida, without relying on the

human driver while on the highway, in early 2018. Einride put a completely

driverless electric truck on the road in Sweden in May of this year; the truck

drives along 300 meters of road, 100 meters of which is public, and is

allowed to reach speeds of 3 mph.


With some analysts estimating that automation of the trucking industry

would save companies over $100 billion, it's only a matter of time before

no driver at all, safety or otherwise, is required for butter deliveries.


Boat Motor Maintenance & Engine Care

Properly care for your boat. This article has great insights on how you can maintain your marine engine!

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Follow these basic steps to maintain your boat's engine:

  1. Read your owner's manual.

  2. Avoid fuel problems.

  3. Avoid battery problems.

  4. Complete annual servicing, either DIY or by a professional technician.

  5. Winterize your engine (if used in a colder climate).

  6. Check your propshaft.

Read Your Owner’s Manual

The marine engine owner’s manual outlines basic maintenance procedures and has a schedule for regular maintenance. If your owner’s manual is missing a dealer can order you a new copy, or you may be able to order a paper copy or download a digital copy from the engine manufacturer’s website.

Avoid These Two Common Problems

When a marine engine has a problem, it’s usually related to either fuel or the battery.

Avoid Fuel Problems 

  • When possible fuel your boat with gasoline that does not contain ethanol. If only ethanol-blend fuel is available, make sure to only use fuel with up to 10 percent ethanol (E10). No marine engine is certified to operate on fuel with more than 10 percent ethanol. Try to by fresh gas from a busy fuel dock or gas station.

  • Use a fuel stabilizer additive if you don’t anticipate using most of the fuel in your boat within a week or two. Modern gasoline can begin to oxidize and form trouble-causing deposits in the fuel system in just a few weeks, especially in older engines fitted with a carburetor rather than fuel injection.

  • Install a 10-micron water-separating fuel filter between the fuel tank and the engine, which will have a spin-off filter element. Many newer boats are already equipped with these filters, which can keep water and very fine particles of debris out of the engine. Carry a spare filter element on the boat.

Avoid Battery Problems

  • Always replace the engine cranking battery with another marine battery, which has thicker plates and a more-robust design than an auto battery to withstand the vibration and pounding a boat can deliver.

  • Secure the marine battery with a good battery tray, which should have a base that is screwed or bolted to the boat and either a rigid bracket or a locking strap to hold it to the base. You don’t want the battery banging around in rough water.

  • Frequently check the battery terminal connections to make sure they are snug and free of corrosion.

  • If you use the boat infrequently, use a maintenance-type battery charger to keep the battery fully charged between outings.

boat motor maintenance


Annual Service

Follow the service schedule outlined in your marine engine owner’s manual. Most outboard, sterndrive and gasoline inboard engines require basic service every 100 hours or annually. This basic service will include an oil-and-filter change (for four-stroke engines), changing the gearcase lubricant in outboard and sterndrive engines, changing the fuel filter element, and perhaps installing fresh spark plugs. A good service shop will also check the accessory belt on sterndrive and inboard engines, inspect and replace sacrificial anodes as required, and check the condition of power steering and hydraulic trim fluid. Make sure the water pump impeller is changed on schedule. This service is often combined with winterizing the engine for off-season storage.

Winterizing the Engine

This procedure will also be outlined in the owner’s manual. If you will be storing the boat in a climate with below-freezing temperatures a sterndrive or inboard engine will need to have its cooling system flushed with antifreeze. This expels all of the fresh water from the cooling system, which could otherwise freeze and damage the engine. Even engines with a closed cooling system that is filled with antifreeze may need to be flushed to expel water from the exhaust and heat exchanger. You can do this yourself but it’s really a task best left to a marine service shop. Many shops will combine winterizing with annual service.


Diesel Issues

Keep the tank full and use a quality diesel additive to prevent microbial growth. Check the fuel filter inspection bowl for water before every trip.

Clogged sea strainers are the most-frequent cause of engine failure on inboard diesel engines (and inboard gasoline engines). A fouled strainer prevents raw water from being drawn into the cooling system. Check yours before each outing.

Check Your Propshaft

Outboard and sterndrive owners should remove the propeller(s) several times a year to check the prop shaft for fishing line. Line discarded in the water can become wrapped around the shaft and will eventually damage the prop shaft seal, allowing water to enter the gearcase, which can lead to catastrophic failure and an expensive repair bill. Again, check your owner’s manual for instructions on removing the prop and inspecting the shaft.