How to save on homeowners insurance
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If you have a mortgage — or want to have protection for your home — you’ve likely factored a home insurance policy into your budget. Depending on the risk of your home, policy selections, individual profile and more, your home insurance policy might be a sizable expense. To balance coverage needs with affordable premiums, here are some ways to help lower home insurance costs.
1. Bundle your insurance policies
You may have insurance from more than one provider. For example, your auto insurance may be with the same company you have been insured with since you were a young adult and your life insurance is with the insurer your employer uses. Bundling your insurance products by using one insurance company for all your needs could save you significant money, as most insurers will give you a multi-policy discount to reward your loyalty.
Ask your agent or insurance provider about what discounts are offered when you add on other policies, like auto and life insurance. Bundling at least two policies could result in significant savings.
2. Shop around
Like comparing apples in the grocery store, you can perform a home insurance comparison.
Each home insurance provider has its own guidelines and can set different prices based on the coverage of your home. With your home insurance comparison, you can see the premiums from multiple companies and if you qualify for any discounts. Prices can fluctuate from provider to provider, so comparing multiple quotes is a great way to see what company can offer you the lowest premium.
If you are trying to capitalize on bundling savings to lower home insurance costs, consider cross-referencing your home insurance options with this list of car insurance providers to find companies that can offer you both.
3. Ask for discounts
Find out from your insurance provider what discounts it can offer you and how you can qualify for them. Discounts can run the gamut, from loyalty and multiple-policy discounts to discounts for home updates, so asking what your specific carrier offers might reveal missing opportunities.
If you are wondering how to lower homeowners insurance costs, discounts are a great place to start. Here is a quick list of common discounts:
- Discounts for safety measures: Something as simple as installing smart smoke detectors could save you money. Homeowners insurance providers also frequently offer discounts for home security systems, so consider investing in one to possibly get lower home insurance premiums.
- Roofing discounts: Your roof does a lot to protect your home. A newer roof, particularly one built with impact-resistant materials, can result in lower premiums.
- Loyalty discounts: If you have been with your insurer for a while and you are wondering how to lower homeowners insurance costs without switching, call and ask if they offer a loyalty discount.
Learn more: Affordable home insurance companies
4. Evaluate your policy and increase your deductible
Looking for even more ways to learn how to lower home insurance? Take a closer look at your coverage. There are some parts of your home insurance that you are often required to have, such as:
- Coverage for damage to the house and other structures, like a fence or a shed
- Personal property coverage
- Additional living expenses, in the event you have to stay somewhere else if your home is uninhabitable due to a covered claim
- Liability and medical payments
Most insurance professionals would say that going without homeowners insurance is not worth the risk, but that does not mean you need to pay for excess coverage. You can talk to your provider or agent to see if there are optional coverages included on your policy that are not a good fit for your needs.
You may also want to consider raising your deductible. This is the amount you pay out of pocket for a covered claim. If your deductible is $500, for example, and you have a covered claim worth $4,000, you will pay the first $500 of the claim and the insurance company will pay $3,500.
A higher deductible means you will pay more in the event of a claim, but the larger your deductible, the lower your premium. Keep in mind that raising your deductible means you are responsible for more money out of pocket. Be sure that you can afford a higher deductible before you make the change on your policy.
5. Improve your credit score
Unless your home is in the state of California, Maryland or Massachusetts, where insurance companies are prohibited from using a homeowner’s FICO to determine premium price, a low credit score could mean you’re paying a higher monthly premium. If your credit score has recently improved, it may be worth reaching out to your insurance carrier to see if it could help your premium.
6. Keep your roof in good condition
A sturdy roof is one of the first defenses to protecting your family, your belongings and the structure of your home. To that end, the age and condition — and sometimes, even shape and materials — of your roof can be considered by an insurance company when calculating homeowners insurance premiums. If your roof is too old or is in visibly poor condition, some companies may deny coverage. To keep your roof in good condition, it’s important to conduct regular inspections and perform repairs when necessary to help minimize the financial impact if a loss were to occur.
7. Choose your claims carefully
Filing a homeowners insurance claim can potentially increase your premiums in the future. Although filing a claim is necessary for any large covered losses, it is generally not advisable to file a claim for every small loss, especially if the cost to repair is under or close to your deductible limit. In addition, many insurance companies offer a claims-free discount, which would likely not be applied to homeowners insurance policy if there is a history of small claims.
Frequently asked questions
In general, a standard homeowners insurance policy starts with six coverage options: dwelling amount, other structures, personal property, liability protection, medical payments, and additional living expenses. From there, you can choose to include other optional coverage offered by your carrier. This could include scheduled personal property for any high-value items, identity theft, water backup and more.
Standard home insurance policies do not cover flood and earthquake damage. To have coverage against these loss types, a homeowner would need to purchase separate, standalone policies. If you live in or near a flood zone, your lender may require a flood insurance policy in addition to a home insurance policy. Earthquake insurance, on the other hand, isn’t usually a requirement, but homeowners living near an active fault line may want to consider purchasing the policy.
Determining how much homeowners insurance you need depends on a variety of factors. One starting point is the square footage of your home, along with any completed renovations and repairs as well as an estimate of your personal belongings. From there, a licensed insurance agent in your area can help to calculate your home’s dwelling amount and ensure it’s in line with the cost of materials and labor in your area.Learn more: How to calculate the cost of homeowners insurance