Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
Insurance surcharges can send your insurance costs skyrocketing, whether it is for health and life insurance, or car insurance. There are some ways to avoid an insurance surcharge, often by changing bad habits, and being proactive by actively seeking opportunities for discounts. For instance, one way to avoid an insurance surcharge on motor vehicle insurance is by taking a defensive driving course, and making sure not to get any traffic tickets. For health or life insurance, quitting smoking and adopting other healthy lifestyle habits such as regular exercise can help prevent surcharges.
Put simply, an insurance surcharge is an extra fee charged to a policy holder by an insurance company based on the company's assessment of risk. If you seem to be an especially risky bet for an insurance holder, such as if you have a number of traffic violations on your driving record, not only will your insurance premiums be higher, but you will also likely find an insurance surcharge on your bill. Though it may not be possible to remove previous traffic violations, avoiding them as much as possible in the future can help you to avoid future surcharges, and some insurance companies will waive a surcharge if you take and pass a defensive driving course.
It is also important to understand your rights with an insurance surcharge. Most companies are only free to add these surcharges when violations are on your driving record, and certain violations such as speeding tickets are removed after a certain period of time. It is important to call your insurance company and inform them of this if they have not removed the surcharge themselves; if they refuse, or if they simply hike the premiums instead, shopping around for different insurance might be a better bet. Regularly inspect your bill and make sure that all charges are correct; don't simply assume it is accurate and pay it, since insurance companies can certainly make mistakes too.
Avoiding an insurance surcharge on health or life insurance is based on similar principles; reduce your risk as much as possible. People who smoke are viewed as very high risk for insurance companies, so quitting smoking should be your first step. This will help to reduce premiums as well. Some insurance companies will even charge additional fees based on an individual's weight; though this is quite controversial, losing weight and exercising can potentially help to prevent an additional insurance surcharge.
What about a homeowners surcharge?
One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK!