Here are twelve steps you can take to help you save money on your homeowners insurance:
1. Shop Around It'll take some time, but could save you a good sum of money. Ask your friends, check the Yellow Pages or call your state insurance department. You can also access insurance information for your state on the Internet at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' Web site. States often make information available on typical rates charged by major insurers and many states provide the frequency of consumer complaints by company.
Also check consumer guides, insurance agents, companies and online insurance quote services. This will give you an idea of price ranges and tell you which companies have the lowest prices. But don't consider price alone. The insurer you select should offer a fair price and deliver the quality service you would expect if you needed assistance in filing a claim. So talk to a number of insurers to get a feeling for the type of service they give. Ask them what they would do to lower your costs.
Check the financial ratings of the companies with AM Best or Standard and Poor's.
2. Raise Your Deductible Deductibles are the amount of money you have to pay toward a loss before your insurance company starts to pay a claim, according to the terms of your policy. The higher your deductible, the more money you can save on your premiums. Nowadays, most insurance companies recommend a deductible of at least $500. If you can afford to raise your deductible to $1,000, you may save as much as 25 percent. Remember, if you live in a disaster-prone area, your insurance policy may have a separate deductible for certain kinds of damage. If you live near the coast in the East, you may have a separate windstorm deductible, if you live in a state vulnerable to hail storms, you may have a separate deductible for hail, and if you live in an earthquake-prone area, your earthquake policy has a deductible.
3. Buy Your Home and Auto Policies From The Same Insurer Some companies that sell homeowners, auto and liability coverage will take 5 to 15 percent off your premium if you buy two or more policies from them. But make certain this combined price is lower than buying the different coverages from different companies.
4. Make Your Home More Disaster Resistant Find out from your insurance agent or company representative what steps you can take to make your home more resistant to windstorms and other natural disasters. You may be able to save on your premiums by adding storm shutters, reinforcing your roof or buying stronger roofing materials. Older homes can be retrofitted to make them better able to withstand earthquakes. In addition, consider modernizing your heating, plumbing and electrical systems to reduce the risk of fire and water damage.
5. Don't Confuse What You Paid For Your House With Rebuilding Costs The land under your house isn't at risk from theft, windstorm, fire and the other perils covered in your homeowner's policy. So don't include its value in deciding how much homeowners insurance to buy. If you do, you will pay a higher premium than you should.
6. Improve Your Home Security You can usually get discounts of at least 5 percent for a smoke detector, burglar alarm or dead-bolt locks. Some companies offer to cut your premium by as much as 15 or 20 percent if you install a sophisticated sprinkler system and a fire and burglar alarm that rings at the police, fire or other monitoring stations. These systems aren't cheap and not every system qualifies for a discount. Before you buy such a system, find out what kind your insurer recommends, how much the device would cost and how much you'd save on premiums.