Here are 8 things you can do to make sure you are not paying too much for your home insurance:
- Shop Around- There are hundreds of different insurance companies that are actively marketing homeowner insurance. Rates can vary dramatically from one insurer to another. If you haven’t researched the market in the past 24 months it makes sense to shop - call your independent insurance agent for help.
- Increase Deductible- Many homeowners policies are written with a $500 deductible. Savings will vary by state, but most consumers will save 7% to 13% by increasing from a $500 to a $1000 deductible. (This simple change can help reduce or eliminate your annual increase altogether.) You may opt to increase to even HIGHER deductibles. Many insurers offer $2000, $2500 and even $5000 deductibles- but please make certain that you have funds set aside to cover increased costs in case of a claim.
- Don’t File Small Claims- If a homeowner claim is under $1000 it probably doesn’t make sense to file it. Homeowners insurance companies track customer claims, and often a client can miss out on a “loss-free” discount even if a small claim of a few hundred dollars was filed.
- Package with Auto or Umbrella- When you buy insurance for your home and car from the same company you get a package discount. The insurer will usually discount BOTH the home policy and the additional policy.
- Maintain Good Credit- Keeping a solid credit history can lower your insurance costs. In most states, insurers offer discounts to applicants with high credit scores. To protect your credit rating pay your bills on time, keep your balances low and monitor your credit record on a regular basis.
- Review your policy carefully- Make sure you are getting all the discounts and credits you deserve. Insurers provide discounts for homeowner policies for newer homes, multiple policies, good credit, no losses, and even proximity to a fire hydrant. (For auto insurance there are discounts they offer safe drivers and good students.) If your situation has changed let your insurer know immediately.
- Group Insurance Discounts - Many employers will offer employees the ability to pay for the auto and home insurance via payroll deduction. Discounts range from 5% to 10% for most employer group home and auto insurance. Also, you may qualify for discounts if you are a member of a union, auto club, alumni or professional association.
- Improve Your Home Security & Safety- Deadbolts, smoke detectors and burglar alarms are all ways to keep your home safe and lower your insurance costs. A fire & burglar alarm that rings police, fire or other monitoring stations can save you 15% to 20%.
If you have questions about your home insurance, consult a local independent insurance agent that understands the market in your area.