It’s Your Money Column – Finding Extra Cash in Your Budget

If you need to "find" money because your income has dropped or you want more dollars to invest, spend some time reviewing annual expenses that you pay. You may be able to lower your auto and homeowners insurance costs.

Check the Colorado Division of Insurance. Their two new guides compare insurance premiums for auto and homeowners insurance. Division of Insurance Commissioner William J. Kirven III says, "They provide information that can assist consumers in making a decision that is right for them."

The guides are based on an annual survey of rates in selected areas. The information is summarized and presented so that you can make comparisons with your existing insurance rates.

Auto insurance premiums are compared for private passenger automobiles for a six-month period in Aurora, Denver, Grand Junction, Pueblo and Fort Collins. Rates are quoted for a single, 21-year-old male; a single, 21-year-old female; a married, 35- year-old male; and a married, 68-year-old female. Everyone is assumed to be driving a 2000 Ford Taurus LX 4-door sedan with no accidents or traffic convictions in the past three years. Coverage limits are the minimum required by law and include liability, personal injury protection and uninsured/underinsured motorist protection. The premiums are based on a $250 deductible for comprehensive and collision. The six-month premium for a 35-year-old male ranged from $334 to $556, with a median premium of $475.

Because you are unlikely to exactly fit into one of these categories, this step allows you to collect baseline information which you can use for your own personal situation to compare with premium rates from at least three insurance companies.

The homeowners insurance survey compares rates for homeowners, renters and condominium owners in Denver, Pueblo, Grand Junction and Fort Collins. Premiums are given for frame and masonry structures. The annual premium for a homeowner’s dwelling ranged from $566 to $1,204, with a median premium of $801.

Keep in mind that these premiums do not reflect service. Be sure to read the tips for lowering premiums in the guide brochures.

You can get a copy of the guides by sending a self-addressed envelope to Auto or Homeowners Brochure, Colorado Division of Insurance, 1560 Broadway, Suite 850, Denver, CO 80202. You can also get copies from their Web site at