By Lindsey Hadwin
Homeowners insurance is a necessary expense, but the cost doesn’t have break the bank. If you think you’re paying too much, it’s time to re-evaluate your policy and find ways to lower your premium without sacrificing coverage. There are many simple, inexpensive, and easy ways to save money on your homeowners insurance rates.
- Shop Around
Getting multiple quotes from competing companies is the best way to ensure that you are getting the best deal on insurance. Many factors go into calculating rates and each company uses different criteria when calculating risk. Contact at least 3 different companies for quotes before settling for your current provider. You may be surprised by the savings.
- Increase Your Deductible
You will save a significant amount of money on your insurance premium if you increase the amount of your deductible. If you currently have a $0 or $500 deductible, evaluate whether you can afford to increase that amount. You could lower your insurance premiums by up to 30 percent, for example, if you increase your deductible from $0 to $2,500.
- Insure Only the Value of Your Home
Make sure you’re only ensuring the value of your home and its contents–not the land it sits on. It isn’t uncommon for homeowners to insure the full value of their property, but it’s only the house and its contents that are covered in a burglary, fire or other disaster.
- Upgrade Your Security
In many cases, even the addition of dead bolt locks on exterior doors can earn you a discount of up to 5% on your current policy. If you have more money to invest in home security, consider a more sophisticated security system that will notify emergency personnel in the event of a fire or burglary. Before having a security system installed, however, check with your insurer to determine which systems will earn you a discount and the amount of the discount . In many cases, these security systems can lower premiums 15 to 20 percent.
- Look for Group Coverage
Contact your alumni or business association to see if you can get lower homeowners insurance rates as part of your membership. Many groups have affiliations with insurance companies that offer members discounts of 5% or more on premiums.
- Stop Smoking
Because the risk of home fires is significantly higher in homes with smokers, many providers penalize those who smoke by increasing their premiums. If you are a smoker and you quit, make sure to contact your insurance provider to have this surcharge removed.
- Maintain Your Credit Score
Did you know that insurance companies use your credit score when determining your insurance premiums? By paying your bills on time and not over-extending yourself financially, you’ll reap many rewards, one of which is lower homeowners insurance rates.
- Reduce the Risk of Injury
Items such as trampolines and swimming pools will increase your premium. If you have a swimming pool, contact your insurance company to learn about measures you can take to make your pool safer. Adding a security fence around the pool’s perimeter, for example, will mitigate the risk of accidental pool injuries.