Your house is more than a foundation with siding and a roof. It's a home to you and your family. It's the place where you make memories and grow together. That's why you know that you need to protect it. While homeowner's insurance is a necessary part of owning, it can be a considerable expense. However, no matter when you moved in, there are ways that you can make sure your homeowner's policy fits your life and your family and; therefore, your budget.
Here are 15 ways you can save money on your homeowners insurance.
Shop Around For The Best Quotes
If you already have an insurance company for your car and other policies, you may want to stay with them (more on that below), but it never hurts to shop around.
Different companies have different discounts and price structures. You may find that another company fits your situation better than the company that has your other business. Don't be afraid to try out online and smaller local companies. You never know where you'll find the bargains.
Raise Your Deductible
How much can you afford to spend out-of-pocket if something were to happen to your home? $4,500? $1,000? $2,500? The higher that number is, the lower your premiums will be.
If you can stash some savings in an emergency fund, you can keep more of your own money and still be ready for the worst case scenario.
Go Paperless And Save More Than A Tree
In an ever-increasingly online world, the opportunities to save money are everywhere. That's why most companies offer the option of going paperless - sending the bill to your email rather than printing and mailing it.
Many insurance companies offer significant discounts if you opt for paperless billing and automatic withdrawals for premium payments. It saves you time. It saves them time. And it saves a few trees while you're at it. Everybody wins.
Hurricane Proof Your Home
If you live in a declared hurricane zone, you may qualify for insurance discounts by preparing your home before a hurricane. This includes strengthening your roof, windows, garage doors and more. Note that hurricane insurance is most likely not a part of your basic homeowners insurance, but is usually a required addition to most policies for those who live in high-danger areas.
Make sure you know what the minimum requirements are from your insurance company before starting to hurricane-proof your home.
Withstand The Wind With Wind Mitigation
Wind mitigation is a way of appraising your house's potential to resist high winds and storms. Loose panels, excessive windows and roof covering materials are just a few factors that can determine how well your house could handle high winds.
Go ahead and spend a little extra to get an official wind mitigation inspection. Those who live in high-wind states and coastal areas may be eligible for insurance discounts. You'll most likely get some good tips on how to avoid excessive damage as well.
Use a Home Security System
Burglaries and vandalism cost insurance companies money. Those who live in high-crime areas may be paying especially high insurance premiums to cover the likelihood of a claim.
Installing security measures like a good fence, a security system, motion lights and cameras may make you eligible for discounts from your insurance company. The better sleep at night is a nice bonus, too.
Bundle Coverage for More Savings
As a general rule, the more policies you carry with one provider, the better your rates will be on those policies. Not every insurance carrier can handle cars, boats, homes and everything else you may need insured, but many can.
Keeping your coverage altogether will help you get the best rate.
Consider Actual Cost vs Replacement Cost
In most cases you would want insurance to cover the cost of replacing your damaged house or items. Homeowners insurance gives you a choice to cover actual cost or replacement cost of these items. By choosing actual cost, you may not get as big of a payout when you have a claim. This is because they'll only pay as much as the item is worth (the actual cost), including the depreciation, at the time of the claim.
This may seem like a bad deal, but the savings on your premiums could help you tuck a little away to help buy that new stuff. It's worth checking out.
Don't Include Land Value
Let's say you buy a house for $285,000 on a small lot in town. When you fill out the insurance paperwork and they ask for the value of your home, you'll say $285,000, right? Nope. You didn't get that lot for free and homeowners insurance doesn't protect the land itself.
Double-check that you're only paying to cover the actual cost of rebuilding, not the house and the land together. This could amount to a substantial savings in locations where property values are high.
Stay Put – Loyalty Discounts
You like your insurance company. They've been good to you for years and you've even added a couple of policies here and there. That kind of loyalty deserves a discount, right? Yes, it does. However, they may not call you up and offer it.
If you've been with the same company for 5 or 10 years, it doesn't hurt to ask if there's a loyalty discount. Some companies gladly apply them.
Improve Your Credit Score
Your credit score affects more than just your ability to get a loan. It is a measuring stick of your reliability to many businesses. Insurance is no different.
Keeping that score up (and letting them know if it's gone up substantially) can help ensure that you'll get the best rates.
Switch to Private Insurance
Do you use government-backed insurance? Maybe it was your only choice. You may have picked up government insurance to cover some sort of emergency like floods or hurricanes because it was the only option. It's time to check again.
If you do a little digging, you'll find that there may be private companies who handle just about any kind of insurance and in most cases they'll come in with better rates for comparable coverage than the government policies.
Stop Paying for Coverage You Don't Need
Are you paying for coverage on a free-standing garage or screened in porch? If so, you may not need too.
Take a good look over your policy and make sure you aren't paying for a coverage you don't need or don't want.
Guard Against Inflation
An inflation guard provision or clause automatically increases your rates each time you renew your policy.
This may be ok in times of high inflation, however when the overall economy has little to no inflation, you probably don't need it.
Check to see if it's on your policy and decide if it's right for you.
Note the Neighborhood
Do you live in a gated community or are you part of a Home Owners Association (HOA)? Some insurance companies will see these as obstacles to burglars and offer a slight discount. Gated communities offer an extra layer of protection between you and would-be thieves. They often encourage the communities to keep their homes in better conditions, meaning they are in better shape to withstand possible damage.
The downside? Values may be higher!
It's crucial to be protected from any likely disasters or damage. That doesn't mean that you have to pay top dollar for that protection. A little bit of careful planning and shopping around may save you a significant amount of money on your insurance without sacrificing your coverage.