MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - When it comes insurance, the savings can be big, but buyers have to do their homework.
"Generally speaking, as a rule of thumb, you want to shop around around renewal time because you just never know what might be out there," said Summer Mueller, of Primerica Mueller and Associates.
Mueller said when shopping around, consumers shouldn't be afraid to ask for the discounts to get the best rates.
"You can say, 'Listen this is my rate now, I am up for renewal around this time,' and they can work with you," she explained.
In some cases, Mueller explained, if someone agrees to pay upfront from six months to a year on auto or home insurance, they may see bigger savings.
On average, Mueller said homeowners could save any where between $300 to $500 a year.
"Let's say you have escrow with your mortgage. You can take that new premium, plug that into your escrow amount, which is actually going to lower your mortgage payment," said Mueller.
She added that the same applies when looking for auto insurance. Mueller recommended going with a licensed insurance agent that can shop and compare rates from different carriers.
A number of factors come into play that could give a customer a discount, such as driver's education, the age a person got their license and if a person has not been in a traffic accident in a number of years, according to Mueller.
When it comes to bundling, Mueller said sometimes it makes senses, but she also noted it's important for shoppers to do the research to determine if it is the best option for them.
"I myself have my auto insurance with someone else and I have my homeowner's insurance with a completely different carrier because I significantly saved by going with someone else," she said.
Mueller added all that matters is the bottom line and asking yourself four questions:
Do I have proper coverage? Do I understand my coverage? Do I feel like my agent is educating me? How much is it?
Mueller said shoppers definitely need to stay competitive while shopping around, because when a customer checks their rates, they are actually asking all of the different carriers to stay competitive themselves.