7. Seek Out Other Discounts Companies offer several types of discounts, but they don't all offer the same discount or the same amount of discount in all states. That's why you should ask your agent or company representative about any discounts available to you. For example, since retired people stay at home more than working people, they are less likely to be burglarized and may spot fires sooner. Retired people also have more time for maintaining their homes. If you're at least 55 years old and retired, you may qualify for a discount of up to 10 percent at some companies.
8. See If You Can Get Group Coverage If your employer administers a group insurance program, check to see if a homeowner's policy is available and is a better deal than you can find elsewhere. In addition, professional, alumni and business groups often work out an insurance package with an insurance company, which includes a discount for association members. Ask your association's director if an insurer is offering a discount on homeowners insurance to you and your fellow graduates or colleagues.
9. Stay With The Same Insurer If you've kept your coverage with a company for several years, you may receive a special discount for being a long-term policyholder. Some insurers will reduce their premiums by 5 percent if you stay with them for three to five years and by 10 percent if you remain a policyholder for six years or more. But make certain to periodically compare this price with that of other policies.
10. Review The Limits In Your Policy And The Value Of Your Possessions At Least Once A Year You want your policy to cover any major purchases or additions to your home. But you don't want to spend money for coverage you don't need. If your five-year-old fur coat is no longer worth the $5,000 you paid for it, you'll want to reduce or cancel your floater (extra insurance for items whose full value is not covered by standard homeowners policies) and pocket the difference.
11. Look For Private Insurance If You Are In A Government Plan If you live in a high-risk area — say, one that is especially vulnerable to coastal storms, fires, or crime — and have been buying your homeowners insurance through a government plan, you should check with an insurance agent or company representative or contact your state department of insurance for the names of companies that might be interested in your business. You may find that there are steps you can take that would allow you to buy insurance at a lower price in the private market.
12. When You're Buying A Home, Consider The Cost Of Homeowners Insurance You may pay less for insurance if you buy a house close to a fire hydrant or in a community that has a professional rather than a volunteer fire department. It may also be cheaper if your home's electrical, heating and plumbing systems are less than 10 years old. If you live in the East, consider a brick home because it's more wind resistant. If you live in an earthquake-prone area, look for a wooden frame house because it is more likely to withstand this type of disaster. Choosing wisely could cut your premiums by 5 to 15 percent.
Remember that flood insurance and earthquake damage are not covered by a standard homeowners policy. If you buy a house in a flood-prone area, you'll have to pay for a flood insurance policy that costs an average of $400 a year. The Federal Emergency Management Agency provides useful information on flood insurance on its Web site at www.fema.gov. A separate earthquake policy is available from most insurance companies. The cost of the coverage will depend on the likelihood of earthquakes in your area.
If you have questions about insurance for any of your possessions, be sure to ask your agent or company representative when you're shopping around for a policy. For example, if you run a business out of your home, be sure to discuss coverage for that business. Most homeowner's policies cover business equipment in the home, but only up to $2,500 and they offer no business liability insurance. Although you want to lower your homeowner's insurance cost, you also want to make certain you have all the coverage you need.