This sort of subject is usually greeted with skepticism as many will believe that the ways to save on homeowner's insurance are either discounts so obscure that you’d never qualify for them, or need an initial financial layout. But I can let you in on something you might not be aware of – there are 11 types of discount your carrier might offer. They aren’t advertised because carriers obviously want you to pay as much as they can get out of you, but these discounts exist. I’m bringing you some of the best ways to save on homeowner's insurance that includes general ways and some of those aforementioned discounts.
1. Bundle Your Homeowner's Insurance with Other Insurance Policies
One of the most effective ways to save on homeowner’s insurance is to purchase all your policies from the same insurer. Most will offer discounts that range from 5 to 25 percent, depending on how many or what types of policies you carry. One company, for example, offers a 25% discount if you have an auto, homeowner’s and life insurance policy with them, which adds up to significant savings.
2. Go Shopping
Shopping around could save you a great deal of money. Use online quote services, ask your friends and family, and call the state insurance department and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Compare prices versus services, and be sure to check if there have been complaints filed. Read consumer guides and talk to insurance agents. You may find considerably lower rates, but don’t shop on price alone. Consider information about complaints and financial stability as well. Staying with the same insurance company may make sense, and some will offer you a discount if you’ve been with them a certain amount of time.
3. Raise Your Deductible
Deductibles are the amount you’d have to pay upfront before insurance would kick in. You may be able to save up to 25 percent off your premium depending on the amount of your deductible. However, be sure you can afford to pay the deductible amount before you raise it. Furthermore, there may be separate deductibles for portions of your policy - if you live in a disaster-prone area, for example, there may be separate deductibles for wind, earthquake or hail damage if you live in areas prone to that type of occurence.
4. Improve Home Security and Safety
Discounts are usually offered if you install smoke alarms, burglar alarms or dead-bolt locks. Deeper discounts may be offered for sprinkler systems or fire and burglar alarms that notify the police or fire department. Check with your insurer before installing any system, however, to find out which ones qualify for discounts. These systems can be expensive, and you’ll have to weigh the cost savings versus the increased safety and security you may get from installing them.
5. Make Automatic Payments
Many companies charge a little less for automatic payments instead to having to wait until you pay them. Some charge as much as $5 more for mailed-in payments. Often, you can get automatic payments charged directly to your credit card. However, be sure the balance is paid every month to avoid credit card interest, which could potentially void any savings.
6. Have Good Credit
For insurers, it’s all about the risk. Insurers will often check your credit history to see if you are a good financial risk. To protect your credit rating, pay bills on time, don’t get more credit than you need and keep credit balances as low as possible.
7. Look for Senior Discounts
If you are a senior, insurance companies often view you as less of a risk. This sometimes qualifies you for a discount. Retired people, for example, may stay at home more and spot fires or other problems more quickly than those who are working. Retired people also have more time to maintain their homes. If you are 55 years old or older, check with your insurer to see if you qualify for a discount.
8. Consider Insurance Costs when Purchasing a Home
Homes that are close to a fire hydrant or are in a town with a professional fire department rather than a volunteer one may pay less in premiums. Insurance tends to cost less if electrical, heating and plumbing systems were installed or updated less than 10 years ago. Also, consider where the home is located and what type of home resists the challenges of that area. Brick homes are more wind resistant, wooden frame houses resist earthquakes better. Furthermore, buying a home in disaster-prone areas will usually require extra insurance to cover the risks of that area.
9. Stop Smoking
People who smoke are at greater risk of starting a fire, therefore often have to pay more in homeowner’s insurance. In fact, smoking is often cited as the number one cause of house fire fatalities. If you smoke, avoid smoking in the home and extinguish your cigarette completely in a deep, sturdy container. Use fire-safe cigarettes if possible. While this may not lower your insurance rate it will lower the risk of fire damage to the home. Be sure to inform your insurer if you’ve quit smoking to see if you qualify for a discount.
When you buy homeowner's insurance, don’t just accept the first premium quoted. There’s always ways to save. Do you think you pay too much or do you not have homeowner's insurance?