It is a good idea to touch base with your insurance agent every year or so to go over your house, its contents, any out buildings you may have added, any improvements or additions or updates to your house, a family pet, a pool, trampoline, wood/propane stove: all items your agent should be aware of so that you have the best possible coverage should you suffer a loss.
Remember, if you do not declare any of the above and suffer a loss, you could put your coverage at risk. You may not get the full benefit of the pay off resulting in a penalty because you were under insured.
Here are a few tips on how you can save money on your homeowner’s insurance policy.
1. Shop around for the best possible price. Ask family and friends who they use. Find a listing of insurance companies from a local phone directory and make calls. Keep track on paper of all the quotes you get, make notes on benefits, compare and then make a final decision. Do not rush. It will take some time but it could save you hundreds of dollars in unnecessary charges.
2. Increase the deductible you have to pay towards a loss. You will find the higher the deductible the more money you will save on the premium. According to the Insurance Information Institute you may see savings of up to 25% just by raising your deductible from $500 to $1000.
3. Buy multiple policies from the same insurance agent. If you purchase your homeowner’s insurance from the same company you have your vehicle insured with, you will automatically get a multi policy reduction. Some companies will give discounts up to 15%. Shop around.
4. Good credit ratings get the best pricing. More and more credit information is being used to determine the cost of a homeowner’s insurance policy. The higher your credit score, the lower the cost of the premium. If you have improved your credit rating do not hesitate to tell your insurance company. It could help lower your premium.
5. Home security is another way to save on your homeower’s insurance. You may get up to an additional 5% off the premium if you have installed smoke detectors, alarm systems, and dead bolt locks. More sophisticated systems like water sprinklers could get you up to 20% in a premium discount. It’s a good idea to check with your insurance agent before adding any of the above to your property. Your agent may have valuable information on which system will provide the best service and he/she can tell you how much of a discount it will generate.
There is even more you can do to lower your annual premium. Simple steps include staying with the same insurance agent. There are times when longevity pays off just for being with the same company for 5 years or more. Look for discounts through organizations you belong to. Being a member of an auto club, or professional organization can help you earn discounts. It’s all about communication with your insurance agent.
Keep in touch with your agent, update with new information regarding your property and ask a lot of questions. Your agent may not think of all the discounts you’re entitled to. Just ask and make suggestions. If you cannot get the price you feel you deserve, shop around. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners offer information on their website for insurers in different states. Go to www.naic.org. Any complaints can be registered at this site as well.