Recession Busters

Reporter: Helen Wellings

Now another story in our recession buster series - to help you save hundreds, in some cases thousands of dollars a year. Now - home building and contents insurance, as well as car insurance. They're called grudge payments because they're something we must have and they're expensive. When the insurance bills come in each year, they blow a massive hole in the budget.

Helen Wellings shows you how you can reduce your costs by at least 10%, and as much as 50%. Whether you're under 25, a family or a senior, you can make substantial savings on your home contents and building insurance and your car insurance premiums.

"Choosing car insurance is not an easy thing to do but we found there is alot of money to be saved by shopping around, up to $1500 if you are a young driver and $400 if you are an adult" says Elise Davidson from Choice.

Most of us pay far more for car insurance and home contents and building insurance than we need to, especially if we just keep renewing premiums with a company that keeps charging us another 10% each year. But our bill-buster tips should get you a far better deal .. to save you up to $1,500.

"It was a huge shock a big surprise because we had stayed with same insurers. Had not really looked into it or researched it" says Holly.

Holly Tuckerman's been with the same car insurer for 5 years. Home and contents, she believed she'd been getting a good deal through work - both policies were expensive, so she switched.

"The house is still the same we have not changed anything there at all, with the car the age group etc are all the same so it is amazing that we have saved a full $850 with that" says Holly.

When your home contents and building insurance company bill arrives, DON'T pay automatically. Compare policies and you're bound to save $300 to $400 - instead of, say $1200, pay $800 for exactly the same cover!

Christopher Zinn, Elise Davidson and the Choice team compared 21 Building and Contents insurers, and came up with ways to save - like electing to pay higher excess.

"If you agree to pay the first $300 of any claim you might make as opposed to no dollars, that can actually substantially reduce the premium that you pay. Sometimes by 15%. So that's a saving worth having" says Christopher Zinn.

That's up to $180 saved on a $1200 premium. 2 more ways to slash another 15 to 25% off your bill - whether it's home and contents or car insurance.

"If you buy online, we found discounts of 5 to 10% so that's worth having. Also in terms of if you bundle the home and contents with the same provider with the same insurer you can get discounts of 10 to 15% per cent" adds Christopher.

Just those 3 tips can slice up to $480 off a $1,200 premium. Here's another 10% off.

"If you're a loyal customer and you have been with the company for a long time you might get say a 10% discount. It can be worth it but even if you are a loyal customer, if another company is offering 20% cheaper on your premium, it's not worth getting the loyalty discount if you find a policy cheaper elsewhere" says Elise.

Car insurance - under 25s, highest risk pay the highest premiums, $2,000 a year on average - but here are 2 ways you can reduce the costs substantially.

"A young person can save up to $1500 a year or receive a significant discount on their policy by completing a skilled drivers course. You can also save hundreds of dollars if you buy a car that is more conservative and deemed by the insurance companies not to be high risk, rather than a turbo car or one that is likely to be stolen" adds Elise.

Families and older drivers - there are pensioner discounts. Also a good driving record plus no-claim bonus should lower your premium 20% at least - and there's a new pay-as-you-drive policy that can save hundreds.

"If you're just driving locally and not very far distances you can just pay for the km you use and you can save significant money on your premium that way… things like having better security for your car, so getting an immobilizer installed or a GPS tracking device, there are simple things like paying your policy annually than by the month, you may get a discount there as well" advises Elise.

"Up to 80% of people are under- insured on their home and contents insurance." Joshua Zenas of Canstar Cannex which rates and compares financial products, says it's no use saving money on premiums if you don't insure properly. They analysed 9,000 individual quotes from 53 home and contents insurers and gave their 5-star rating to just 2 companies.

"The best insurers for home and contents are Comminsure and Suncorp because they provide the best value across all the states" advises Joshua.

All our experts agree on one thing - don't just automatically renew.

For more information visit:

Canstar Cannex: