(BPT) - Home and auto owners are aware of the financial responsibilities associated with each, but those looking to save money understand it goes beyond only reducing mortgage or auto payments. Regular preventative maintenance will keep your property in good condition while helping you save money in the long run.
'People often think about maintenance when something needs to be repaired, but the truth is that taking care of your property before it breaks might save you even more money,' said Kevin Quinn, vice president of claims at Mercury Insurance. 'Policyholders who take care of necessary tasks in order to maintain their personal property may help prevent major problems from happening later on.'
There are routine measures you can take now that might help keep certain costs down when it comes to owning a home or vehicle.
One of the easiest ways to save money on auto expenses is to keep driving your vehicle for as long as possible. Most cars are built to last and the average age of a vehicle on the road today is at an all-time high of 12.3 years old. Keeping up with recommended maintenance such as regular tune-ups and repairs can save you from needing costly ones in the future, ultimately saving you more money.
Proper tire inflation. According to the Department of Energy, drivers can improve their fuel mileage up to 3% just by keeping their tires inflated to the proper pressure. The right amount of air contributes to increased gas mileage, a safer ride, and reduced tire wear. The appropriate tire pressure for your vehicle is usually found on a sticker inside the driver side door or within your car owner's manual.
Check your wheel alignment. Do not ignore the signs of a potential wheel alignment problem such as a vibrating steering wheel or a slight pull to one side when driving. Bad alignment can cost you by lowering your gas mileage or putting wear and tear on your tires which may necessitate replacing them sooner than normal.
Keep a maintenance log. Maintaining records of your vehicle's service history can protect its value. If you decide to sell or trade in your car, you can demonstrate its reliability and dependability with documentation. A well-maintained vehicle with proof of service may be worth even more money.
Check your home's insulation. Opening up that first energy bill is often a surprise for new homeowners. Beyond trying to install energy-efficient appliances or lighting, new homeowners should check the adequacy of their insulation. Single-family homes, especially those built before 1960, may need an insulation refresh.
'Insulation is what helps keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer,' said Bonnie Lee, Vice President of Property Claims at Mercury Insurance. 'Well-insulated homes provide year-round comfort while reducing heating and air-conditioning bills.'
Upgrade to smart home technology. A home equipped with a smart home system that monitors fire, water, and theft may qualify for a homeowners insurance discount.
'Many insurance companies offer discounts to homeowners who install smart-home devices because the technology is able to catch common problems early and can help prevent expensive claims,' said Lee. 'By using devices that monitor your home's safety and help with preventative maintenance, you may be able to save money on your insurance premiums over time.'
Increase your deductible. A deductible is the amount you would have to pay out-of-pocket for damages before your insurance would kick in if you make a claim. If your budget allows you to pay a higher deductible in the event of loss or damage, your insurance premium will most likely go down.
Bundle your insurance. Bundling your auto coverage with homeowners insurance will qualify you for a multi-policy discount and save you money on your premium. It will also help streamline the process should you need to make a claim on both your home and auto at the same time. Contact your insurance agent to review bundling policies and rates.