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INDIANAPOLIS —  With recent cold and wet weather, protecting your big purchases is more important than ever.

Your house and vehicle are two of the biggest items you are likely to ever buy. It’s good to check if your insurance has you covered and for the best price.

You should shop for insurance every year whether you have it already or not. That’s because things change. You might get a better company, a better deal, or learn about new discounts. The biggest discount tip is to bundle.

“Home and car, or car and renters, or any number or additional products, by bundling, the insurance company gets real efficiency. And we pass that all back to you as savings,” said Steve Lekas, CEO of Branch Insurance.

Lekas says Branch Insurance is new to the state of Indiana. They are data driven. To get a quote, go to their website and just type in your name and address. With just those two pieces of information, they know all the particulars about your house or apartment, your vehicles, your records and history.

“And so we’re not actually so much changing how much data we effectively need to know your risk, but instead, we’re just not forcing you to answer 300 questions that you can get to an actual price,” said Lekas. 

When you get a quote from any insurance company, check to see how it compares to your current policy or others you’re pricing. The more information you have, the better off you will be. Branch Insurance uses their data based system. They say it helps to drive prices down.

Whatever company you are insured by, don’t forget when it comes to your previous insurance claims if you have any. Many of those old claims drop off your record after a certain amount of time so that will lower your price. If your insurance company isn’t checking and doing this automatically for you, change companies. 

Another insurance saver is to be careful not to over insure. Consider raising your deductible, to save on the cost of premiums. Also, new safety measures, like security systems and of course smoke detectors systems will lower your insurance cost.

You can also consider going with an independent agent who can shop around for insurance companies for you, which could save you time and money.

When you are buying insurance, many insurance companies today will give you a much lower price if you have a new roof or one that is fairly new. That’s because a good roof protects your entire home, and will therefore lower your premium because it lowers the chance of damage to your home in the event of bad weather. 

Also, if you are replacing your roof, make sure you to call your insurance company to let them know so they can figure that into your premiums.

Finally, if you are doing major renovations, like a new basement or addition, tell your insurance company. In this case it won’t necessarily save you money. Chances are it may boost your premiums by a little bit. But if you don’t tell your insurance company, the new replacement value of your home won’t include your expensive improvements. 

That means you’ll get a smaller insurance check or you’ll have to go through a much longer process to try and prove you made improvements to your home.