A Publication of WTVP

Trusted Choice recommends consumers maximize little-known discounts to “nickel and dime” their way to big savings.

As millions of Americans look for ways to stretch their budgets to survive these tough economic times, too many are not utilizing all of the discounts that may be available to them in their homeowner and auto insurance, according to a new national survey conducted for Trusted Choice and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”).

The survey asked home and auto owners if they believed they are taking full advantage of all the discounts they qualified for on their homeowners and auto insurance policies. More than 34 percent of respondents, representing 53 million households, admitted they are probably not taking advantage of all homeowners insurance discounts or said that they simply didn’t know. Regarding auto coverage, more than 20 percent of car owners either didn’t know or said they were not maximizing all the car insurance discounts available to them.

“The latest survey shows what we suspected: many Americans could be foolishly throwing money away because they fail to ask about insurance discounts for which they may qualify,” says Madelyn Flannagan, Big “I” vice president of agent development, education and research. “Companies often offer some unique, regional, very specific and, at times, quirky discounts. In these economic times, every dollar counts—some consumers may be able to nickel and dime their way to big savings.”

And those who stand to benefit most from the discounts are often those who aren’t taking advantage of them: nearly 38 percent of respondents with a household income of less than $25,000 said they weren’t taking advantage of all possible homeowners discounts or said they didn’t know.

The survey also found that the largest percentage of respondents, about 26 percent, estimated they save six to 10 percent on their insurance premiums by using discounts. In reality, many consumers could be saving significantly more—as much as 30 percent.

“One of the biggest advantages to using an independent insurance agent is that they can explore the various companies and find the best possible coverage for each individual family or business,” says Robert A. Rusbuldt, Big “I” president and CEO. “Finding specific discounts can be time-consuming and confusing, so we advise consumers to consult with their Trusted Choice independent insurance agent and ask questions.”

Home Insurance

The Big “I” and Trusted Choice offer the following tips that may lead to substantial homeowners insurance savings.

Auto Insurance

The Big “I” and Trusted Choice provide the following tips and considerations that may lead to big auto insurance savings.

More Well-Known Discounts

While there are plenty of quirky discounts your independent agent can investigate, there are many “tried and true” discounts that many, but not all, insurance consumers know.

Thesurvey was conducted forTrusted Choice via telephone by International Communications Research (ICR), an independent research company in Media, Pennsylvania. Interviews of a nationally representative sample of 1,058 U.S. households were conducted between October 28 and November 1, 2009. More information about ICR can be obtained at iBi