The infamous junk drawer…we all have one (or maybe two or three). One of mine tends to fill with stacks of old mail, unopened envelopes, bills, and notifications that I opened once and then never looked at again. The last time I was going through it all, the question I asked myself was, “Why do I this to keep doing this to myself?” That inspired me to make a resolution to reduce the amount of paper coming into my home. Perfect for Earth Day coming up on April 22!
As I was researching paperless options for my monthly bills, I found some interesting facts[i]. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average American uses about one 100-foot-tall Douglas fir tree’s equivalent in paper each year. That’s a lot of trees! Fewer billing statements also means less air pollution from paper production.
There are also benefits to online tools that extend beyond the ozone. The convenience of being able to view and update your account from your computer or smartphone at any time means 24/7 access to your information and no waiting on hold to speak to a customer service representative. Most companies also offer discounts for enrolling in e-options and automatic pay plans help to avoid late fees, saving you money.
At Central for example, you can receive and view your policy and billing statement online with E-policy and E-billing. When you enroll in both the E-billing and E-policy options, you receive a $5 credit per policy! Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) automatically withdrawals your payment from your checking or savings account based on a plan of your choosing (Annual, Semi-annual, Quarterly, and Monthly).
Despite the positive aspects, many users are hesitant about utilizing online options, mainly due to security concerns. However, most companies require no more information than you would give them if you were to hand them a paper check. In fact, according to NACHA[ii], the Electronic Payments Association, e-checks and paperless billing are often more secure because the paper checks and billing statements, which contain personal information, pass through fewer hands and therefore have less opportunities to be exposed to risks like fraud and identity theft.
Sign up for online options provided by various companies like I did. Contact your independent agent today to see what options your insurance carrier offers for you!
Here’s to a Happy Earth Day 2020…and one less junk drawer!