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Experts say homeowners need to regularly check and update their home insurance policies.

CP Video

A reader of this newsletter asks a great question about car and home insurance: He wants to know if there's a downside to shopping for the lowest car and insurance rates every year.

I have to commend this person for his energy and commitment to saving money. Comparison shopping for insurance is time-consuming and demanding because there are so many comparison websites (just Google "compare home or car insurance rates"). Also, many companies offer quotes on their websites.

This reader is considering a particular new car and finds that his current insurer is more expensive than others (yes, he's bundling his home and auto coverage). "Is it good financial sense to look for less expensive car/home insurance every year rather than just accepting the incumbent's renewal rates?" he asked. "Are there risks in moving from provider to provider this frequently?"

For answers, I consulted insurance brokers David Browne of Martin Merry & Reid Ltd. and Vito Losito of Canadian Insurance Brokers Inc. They offered a few points about frequently changing insurers:

- You'll lose out on loyalty discounts that can range from 5 to 25 per cent
- Your insurer may be less likely to keep you as a client if you have a few accident claims in a short period
- Moving for less than 10 per cent savings may not work out because of the risk that your new insurer will raise prices at your next renewal
- Compare coverages carefully because cheaper premiums may mean a less comprehensive policy; cheaper companies may also be less accommodating if you make a claim

My own take on this is to find a company that offers the coverage you need at a competitive price and compare rates every few years to ensure you're not overpaying.

Subscribe to Carrick on Money
Are you reading this newsletter on the web or did someone forward the e-mail version to you? If so, you can sign up for Carrick on Money here.

Rob's personal finance reading list…

Stocks are near all-time highs – is now a good time to invest?

A reasonable compromise strategy is proposed by an educational investing website: Invest money you have at hand gradually, not all at once. I'd probably use a tighter timeline than is proposed here.

The roving retirement
Spend your retirement roving from country to country in search of the best weather, sites and deals. I'm bookmarking this one.

A guide for young adults on building their credit score
Details here on how students can build their credit score through smart use of credit cards. Let me add the most basic credit card rule of all to this list: Never buy anything with a card that you can't afford to pay off immediately.

How to read a chocolate bar label
Read this to make sure you're getting good value when you buy a decent bar of chocolate.

Today's featured financial tool
Here's a website to check out if you want to better understand the investment fees you're paying. It's offered by the BC Securities Commission, not a company selling investment products

What I've been writing about
- Sorry to burst your bubble, but owning a home won't fund your retirement
- Tough love? Response to Equifax security breach is more like tough luck
- Don't delay: The case for starting Canada Pension Plan benefits early (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

More Carrick and money coverage
For more money stories, follow me on Twitter and join the discussion on my Facebook page. Millennial readers, join our Gen Y Money Facebook group.

Send us an e-mail to let us know what you think of my newsletter.

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