Opt for a higher deductible
That's because when you pay a higher deductible, you save the insurance company money: "When we assign an adjustor to a $1,000 claim, they spend about the same amount of time on a large claim as they do on small claims," she says.
Increasing your deductible has the most benefit on bigger policies. This option "isn't good for small policies around $300, but when you're looking at insuring a $400,000 to $600,000 home, with a cottage, and pay a premium of $2,700 a year, that's a good savings," says Bailey.
Buy a brand new home
"The discount decreases [once] your house is five years old, but remember, some companies won't offer this," so you have to ask for it, says Bill Blaney of Bill Blaney Insurance in Dorchester, Ont.
Avoid making claims
Ask for the senior's rate
So, you should always ask if there's a mature rate. "Unlike auto insurance, there is no way on a home insurance application to tell how old you are. There isn't a birthday [line] on your application," he says.
Choose your neighbourhood wisely
You get the best rate for living within 10 minutes of a fire hydrant. If you're within 10 kilometres of one, you get the next-best rate. But if you're outside that 10-kilometre zone, you're considered unprotected. And that's when your premiums get expensive.
"Insurance companies cannot force you to do that, but they do offer a discount for it," says Blaney, often in the neighbourhood of 10 percent. However, if you insure your house and cottage with the same company, there is no discount.
Buy a monitored alarm system
A good system with 24-hour monitoring will run you about $25 a month and get you a 10-percent discount on your insurance. The security company will issue you a certificate outlining your coverage, which you then show the insurance company.
If the house is not monitored, but there is a security system, you may be eligible for a discount of up to five percent, says Blaney.
Stay in one place
That's why she says the key to savings is a good insurance broker. "Once you're on the books, it really is the responsibility of the broker to make you aware of any discounts or any that they might be able to come up with," she says. So be sure you're working with a good broker. If you need to find one, check with friends, family and co-workers for references.
Melanie Chambers is a writer in London, Ont.
|-- Posted: Jan. 12, 2005