Owning a home comes with an awful lot of expenses. And one of the most important – but most expensive – is homeowners insurance. This type of insurance keeps your home and your property protected, but its costs can add up fast.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average homeowner pays $1,100 each year on homeowners insurance alone. While homeowners insurance is very worthwhile, it doesn’t have to cost you thousands. With the right knowledge and a few tips, you could save money on your homeowners insurance premium.
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Here are seven ways you can cut the cost of your homeowners insurance, without losing important coverage and protection.
1. Bundle Different Types of Insurance
Getting all of your insurance needs covered by different insurance providers can be a way to save money. However, what most people don’t realize is that you can actually save even more if you bundle all of your insurance policies under one company.
Combining your homeowners insurance with other insurance policies, like auto insurance, can save you significantly. Even the biggest names in the insurance industry will offer a discount for buying multiple policies from them: Allstate, Progressive, AAA, and American Family all offer multiple policy discounts.
And, on average, bundling your homeowners insurance with other insurance policies will save you between 10 and 20 percent each year.
2. Increase Your Deductible
The cost of your homeowners insurance premium is calculated based on your coverage level, your home’s risk level, and your deductible, along with other factors. And how high – or low – your deductible is will directly determine how much you pay for insurance each month and year.
If you opt for a higher deductible, you can lower your monthly premium payments. The deductible is your out-of-pocket responsibility. Should anything happen to your home, you’d have to pay your deductible before your insurance kicks in.
So, if you choose a higher deductible, your insurance company will pay less. That means you can get away with solid insurance coverage at a lower premium, if you’re comfortable paying a bit more should you need to file a claim. Opting for a higher deductible can cut your premium by as much as 40 percent.
3. Add Home Security Features
One trick to lowering your home insurance costs is to increase your home’s safety. The safer and more secure your home is, the less likely you’ll have a break-in or disaster and require the insurance company’s help.
So, if you work to make your home safer, your homeowners insurance company will reward you for it with a lower premium. Installing security and anti-disaster devices like smoke detectors, security cameras, an alarm system, deadbolt locks, fire extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors can get you a discount of as much as 15 percent on your premium.
4. Upgrade or Update Your Home with a Few Improvements
Another way to improve your home in the eye of your insurance company is to perform important upgrades and updates that could make the structure more stable and secure. Some of the most common homeowners insurance claims are the result of storm and weather damage, or disasters caused by outdated in-home systems.
Update or upgrade parts of your home that are in need, and you’ll give your insurance company less incentive to increase your rates. Replace or repair your plumbing or electrical system if it’s old, or install storm shutters and impact-resistant roofing to prevent storm damage. You’ll be taking action to lower your risk, and this can qualify you for a cheaper premium.
5. Improve Your Credit Score
Here’s something many homeowners don’t realize: your credit score actually plays a role in determining your insurance costs. And if you have less-than-perfect credit, it could be causing you to pay a higher premium.
According to Money Crashers, insurance providers in many states use customers’ credit scores to predict losses. So, if you have bad credit, you’ll be viewed as a high risk – and you’ll pay a higher premium because of it.
To lower your cost, you’ll want to work at improving your credit. As your credit score increases and improves, you can shop around with other insurance companies to see if you can get a better rate. You can also renegotiate your insurance policy with your current provider each year if your score increases significantly.
6. Ask Your Insurance Company for a Discount
Sometimes, insurance companies offer a surprising amount of discounts. The key is knowing these discounts exist – because your homeowners insurance company isn’t going to willingly share them with you.
You may be able to get a discount on your homeowners insurance policy simply by asking what discounts your insurer offers. The following are a few examples of common discounts offered by insurance companies, which can range from 5 to 20 percent:
- Senior discount (age 55 and older).
- Gated community discount.
- Claims-free discount for not making any claims in 10 years.
- Homeowner’s association discount, if you live in a neighborhood with an HOA.
- Non-smoker discount.
- Water sensor discount.
7. Comparison Shop Online
Staying with the same homeowners insurance provider for years can be beneficial. You may even get a discount for being a longtime customer. However, failing to shop around and compare rates and quotes from other insurance companies can cost you more money.
Nearly 77 percent of those with homeowners insurance stay with their insurance company every year. However, you still need to stay up to date on pricing and competitors’ rates. What if switching to another insurer could save you hundreds of dollars? You’ll never know unless you look.
So, make sure to search for other homeowners insurance policies regularly. Check their rates and policies, and don’t forget to ask about their coverage options. You can also see if switching would get you a new customer discount that would make changing insurers worthwhile.
Keep your eyes on other insurance companies, and you may be able to reduce your costs even more. There might be a better price and a bigger discount available elsewhere – but you have to search and compare.