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Homeowners insurance may seem expensive, but not having home insurance can cost you down the line. A homeowners insurance policy can provide financial coverage for damages that occur as a result of certain perils. However, the cost of coverage can depend on several factors such as your home’s location, the amount and type of coverage you need and the cost to rebuild your home. Fortunately, most insurance companies offer discounts to enable homeowners to cut down on homeowners insurance costs. Bankrate’s insurance editorial team helps you understand the types of discounts commonly available and how to take advantage of the ones you qualify for to help you save on your home insurance rates.
How can I get home insurance discounts?
Home insurance rates are based on factors that increase or decrease risk, including how likely it is you will file a claim under your policy. When you reduce your risk of filing a claim by taking certain measures around your home, your insurance company will often reward you with a discounted rate.
One of the biggest potential ways to save through a home insurance discount is by bundling insurance policies. With a home and auto bundle, you insure both policies with the same carrier. Not only is it easier for you to keep track of your insurance policies, but it also means you should be eligible for some kind of bundling discount with the insurance company. Although home and auto is the most common bundle, your insurance carrier may also offer other bunding options such as condo or renters insurance policies.
Security and safety measures are another way to get a home insurance discount. Adding security features to your home can make your home secure, which reduces your chances of a break-in. They can also alert you to things like fires and gas leaks, which could save your family from injuries or even death. Security and safety measures are usually devices, such as:
- Deadbolts on exterior doors
- Fire extinguishers
- Smoke detectors
- Carbon monoxide detectors
- Water leak detectors
- Gas leak detectors
- Burglar and fire alarm systems
- Sprinkler system
Some smart home devices, like smart thermostats and home monitoring systems, can sometimes get you a discount on your home insurance, depending on the company. Some insurance companies also partner with certain smart device companies, offering additional incentives, including free devices.
Making updates to your home that can make it more resistant to damage is another way to get home insurance discounts. Installing an impact-resistant roof or storm shutters to lessen damage from a storm may help you get cheaper home insurance. Some insurance companies also offer discounts for upgrading to a new electrical, heating or plumbing system if you live in an older home.
Some home insurance companies reward you for staying with the same company year after year. Loyalty discounts vary and are not offered by all companies. For instance, Allstate rewards new customers with a discount up to 10% and continues the same discount for each year you remain a customer.
The longer you go without filing a claim, the more you typically stand to save on home insurance with this discount. Most insurance companies give the discount after you have been claims-free for either three or five years. The discount remains until you file a claim under your homeowners insurance.
If this is your first time buying a home and shopping for a home insurance quote, don’t forget to mention that you are a new homebuyer. Not only can first-time homebuyers qualify for this discount, but some companies also extend the lower rate to buyers of brand new construction—even if they have owned a home before.
Early signing discount
The early signing discount is a reduced rate on your home insurance for signing up with the company before your current policy expires. Most companies send renewals out between 30 to 60 days before renewal. If you shop and sign up with a new company before the renewal effective date, you may qualify for this discount.
How do home insurance discounts work?
There are various home insurance discounts and not all discounts work the same. Some are effective right away, while others only work when you do something like improving your home. For example, you can get an early signing discount when you sign up before your current policy renews. But you will not qualify for a home improvement discount unless you make a modification or upgrade to your home. Here are some helpful tips to remember when looking for home insurance discounts:
- Discount amounts can be capped: Though some home insurance discounts are stackable, most insurance companies cap the total amount you can save on a policy. Though the amount varies by the insurance company, you can usually qualify for up to 40% in discounted savings, but not more than that.
- Not everyone gets the maximum amount: If you have seen the language “up to” when shopping for insurance, it means not everyone qualifies for the maximum discount. To get the highest discount, you usually have to meet certain qualifications. For instance, a company may offer a 5% discount for being claims-free for three years but only offer the full 10% to a homeowner with five years claims-free.
- Discounts vary: Where you live and the insurance company you choose matter. Not all states allow all discounts, and not all insurance companies offer the same amount or level of discounts. When shopping for home insurance, it does not hurt to ask for home insurance discounts and research what’s available in your state.
- Comparison shop for best results: Just because a company offers lots of home insurance discounts does not mean it offers the best price. The only way to know you are getting the best deal on home insurance is to shop around and get multiple quotes for the same coverage. The most important factor is your final price, not how many discounts are applied to your policy.
Other ways to save
Fortunately, there are a number of other ways to save besides applying discounts. Some companies offer discounts if you are married. You may even get better rates depending on what ZIP code you live in (except in California and Michigan, which restrict use of ZIP codes as a rating factor for insurance). Purchasing only what you need for home insurance is another way to save.
Other ways to save include:
- Not smoking
- Living in a gated community
- Having a certain occupation, including being in the military
- Being retired
- Increasing your home insurance deductible (make sure you can afford the additional out-of-pocket expenses in the event of a claim before considering this option)
Frequently asked questions
In most cases, you’re generally given a discount on homeowners insurance if your insurance company determines that you qualify or are eligible for one. For example, living in a gated community could make you eligible for this type of discount if the insurance company offers it. Or, you may be eligible for a senior discount if you meet age requirements. Many home insurance discounts are stackable, which means that if you qualify or are eligible for multiple discounts, you can apply some or all of them to maximize your savings. Some discounts are automatic while others may need to be requested, so asking which discounts are available and which you qualify for may help ensure that you receive all the discounts you are eligible for.
An insurance to value discount means you are insuring the home for the replacement cost recommended by the insurance company. Meeting the minimum coverage the estimation tool recommends can ensure the home can be rebuilt if it were a total loss. Not all insurance companies offer this discount, so you may have to ask if it’s available and what the insurance to value amount is for your home so it can be applied.
The insurance value and market value of your home are two different things. The insurance value is the minimum amount the insurance company estimates it would cost to rebuild your home in the event of a total loss. The market value, on the other hand, is the estimated value of the home and land it sits on, and what you may be able to sell it for based on current values. The market value is usually higher than the insurance value since it includes the land.