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Always Check your Bill. Catching an Error Just Saved me $702!

Last updated by on 7 Comments

Every year I get my new homeowner’s insurance policy, and it goes up $30 or so for the annual premium. And I get pissed. In this economy, when my home value has plummeted for years, I have to pay more for my homeowner’s insurance? Isn’t the cost of my insurance supposed to be aligned with the value of my house, after all? Of all the no good…

Anyhow, you can call your insurance provider to lower the premium by lowering the coverage increase (which automatically happens every year). That’s lesson #1. Lesson #2 is the true point of this post, and it spans every bill you ever receive, insurance or not. Check and double check your bill! Catching one tiny (big) error just saved me $702! Here are the details.

You have a number of ‘coverages’ on your insurance. One is your dwelling, or house. Another is your ‘other structures on residence premises’. Mine were both valued at the same amount. Looking for ways to cut my overall insurance cost (I’m a  huge proponent of slicing all of your mandatory recurring expenses as much as possible), I asked the rep “why do I need as much coverage on ‘other structures’ as I do on my actual house, that seems a little excessive, doesn’t it?”.

Silence for a second…

check your statement

Rep: “Yes, that has to be a mistake. Usually, the ‘other structures’ is automatically set to be 10% of your dwelling coverage, not 100%.”

Me: “Really? Because it’s been at 100% for the past 3 years!”

To the customer reps credit, she was very apologetic and immediately put in requests to credit me the difference. How much did it save me? $175 for each of the last 3 years! That’s about half of what my bill should have been.

Not only did the credit for the past three years of errors cover the next year of insurance, but I also received a check for $174!

Don’t let today’s automated billing systems lull you into thinking your bill could never be wrong. ALWAYS double check every statement. And don’t be afraid to ask if you catch something that just doesn’t make sense.

What is the biggest error you’ve caught on your bill?

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I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 7,500+ others by getting FREE email updates. You'll also find every post by category & every post in order.


7 Comments »
  • Josh says:

    Checking your bills is such a hassle but obviously so necessary.

  • Ron Ablang says:

    Check your Comcast bill after the 6 month introductory period. Alas, there’s nothing you can do about it if there’s no competition in your area.

  • It is extremely important that you check your bills, but especially ones that you can lower. I look at my insurance bill every 6 months, and call up my insurer to see if they will lower my bill for being a reliable customer…most times they will. The same has worked well with my cable and cell phone provider. Try it out and save some bucks!

  • Don’t just stop at checking your bills, check your receipts and the change you receive too before you leave the store or place.

    I was almost stiffed $20 once, not to mention when I got the hotel bill and realized they moved the 0 over to the left to charge me in the thousands, not the hundreds.

  • Mike says:

    As an FYI, the amount of coverage for your home has nothing to do with the market value of it. It is based on what it would cost to replace/repair it with like kind and quality. But even so, it is still a good idea to have a new insurance appraisal done every few years, as sometimes the automatic increase IS out of line.

  • Slackerjo says:

    I used to do billing for a US cable company and the #1 problem with bills is that customers don’t read their bill or they call in to dispute their bill and they don’t even have it front of them. Here’s a tip, be an adult. Read your bills. File your bills. Have your bill in front of you if you wish to dispute the charges.

    If you had a recurring charge on your bill for 2 years and just noticed it NOW, too bad. If you had read your bill 2 years ago, then the error would have been fixed right away. But you were, well, lazy and now you whine about the charges. Grow up. This is a life lesson. Maybe, just maybe if something costs money because you were careless or lazy, you might not repeat the mistake again.

  • David Hunter says:

    Always, always, ALWAYS check your statements! We’ve had a few repeat charges on our credit card statements in the past few months. Five dollars here and there really adds up.

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