Shopping around for homeowners insurance may not be fun, but the time you invest can really save you a lot of money. There are actually many different ways to lower your premiums, but you’ll need to do a little homework to determine your needs and ensure you’re adequately protected. Here are some tips for getting the best price on your homeowners insurance.
Determine Your Need
First, create an itemized list of your home’s contents, along with their value. Then figure out your home’s square footage, and find out the year that your home was built. Your insurance agent will need all of this information to accurately determine the amount of rebuilding and replacement costs should your home be damaged, destroyed, or vandalized.
Increase Your Deductible
When choosing a policy, you’ll save a lot of money on your premiums if you agree to a higher deductible. Just be sure you have enough funds available to pay your deductible if disaster strikes, or you could be left high and dry.
Discounts and Credits
Insurance companies strive to reduce claims, which not only saves them money, but also enables them to offer lower premiums. Many homeowners don’t realize that there are many safety and security measures that can translate into homeowner insurance discounts. Some of these things you can’t control, such as living in a gated community or near your local fire department, but if your home‘s location fits one of these categories, you could save anywhere from 5 to 20 percent. There are many things you can control, however. These measures not only make your home more safe, but they can also increase your home’s value, and may even offer a tax credit while decreasing your insurance premiums. They include:
- Redoing the wiring if your home is more than 40 years old
- Installing impact-resistant roofing
- Joining or starting a neighborhood homeowners association / community watch program
- Installing fire alarms, a security or surveillance system, gas sensors, and water sensors
Some insurance policies will also offer a credit if your family doesn’t smoke, which can be an additional incentive to kick the habit! Most insurers will also extend senior citizen discounts if you are within a certain age bracket.
Bundle Up to Save a Bundle
Just like the major telecom companies that offer discount package deals to bundle your cable TV, internet and phone services, did you know that insurance companies will offer a discount if you bundle your insurance policies? It can be significantly cheaper to insure your automobiles and home together through one company than to pay separate policies for each.
Maintain Good Credit
Many people don’t realize that their credit rating impacts the rates they’re offered. This is because those with good credit are considered a lower risk. Pay your bills on time, and check your credit report regularly for errors. If you strive to improve your credit rating, you’ll be rewarded with lower insurance premiums in the coming months.
Not all insurance companies determine risk using the same methods, so you may find one carrier offers a much cheaper rate for your home than others. Likewise, if you haven’t had any claims in the past five years, call around again to see if your rates have gone down. An hour or two calling around or shopping online can literally save you hundreds of dollars each year.
Marshall Graham is a claims consultant from Great Britain. He suggests creating a photo archive to document your property in case of a loss. This is also a way to make certain that your home contents insurance coverage accurately covers any possible losses.