1. Raise Your Deductible – The coverage for the contents of your homeowner’s policy will have a deductible, which is an amount you will need to pay before the insurance company is on the hook.  Higher deductibles means less claims so insurers will charge you less.  Since homeowner claims are few and far between and you generally wouldn’t file a small claim, it’s best to keep this as high as you could reasonably afford. BE CAREFUL: A deductible is meant to be the highest amount out-of-pocket you could reasonably afford.  If you set it higher than you can pay, you’ll have much larger problems!

 

filing claims raises home insurance

24. Don't file small claims

2. Shop Around – Different homeowner’s insurance companies base their rates on very different factors.  Since no two risks are the same, if your friend or neighbor has the cheapest price with Company X, it doesn’t mean you will too.  The only way to find the carrier with the best rating and pricing specific to your situation is to reach out to as many as possible.  In an instant, Quote Assistant will tell you the most popular homeowner insurance carriers in your region and allow you to call for quotes with one click.

3. Multi-Policy Discount – Most home insurers that also sell auto insurance will give a discount on your policy dependent upon placing your auto insurance with them.  BE CAREFUL: Don’t assume the multi-policy discount offers you the best possible deal.  If you’re only interested in saving money, you may still pay less by insuring your home and auto with different companies.

4. Buy a Newer Home – Since newer homes tend to conform to the most updated building codes and are generally made with newer materials that have not had time to wear and weather, your insurance company should give you a discount.  If you’re the first owner in the home, make sure they know about it.

5. Don’t Get a State-Assigned Policy – Many states have special insurance programs for homeowners who cannot find an insurance company willing to insure them.  Some agents can only write insurance for the company they work for or the state assigned plan and may steer you into the state plan just because you do not qualify for their particular company’s guidelines.  Even if you get discouraged, don’t take the state-assigned insurance until you’ve been denied from all the major carriers.  (Use Quote Assistant to find all the major homeowner carriers near you, and to call them!)

6. Don’t Insure to the Mortgage – In most cases, you only need to purchase enough insurance to pay for the cost to rebuild your home from a worst-case scenario like a whole-house fire.  This dollar amount can be much lower than the amount you actually owe to the bank since property costs include the value of the land, not just the structure of the home you buy.  Although the bank may urge you to buy homeowner insurance for the value of your mortgage, in many cases they can’t require it.  Mortgage protection insurance, on the other hand, should be purchased in excess of the entire cost of your mortgage.

 

quit smoking to save on homeowner insurance

11. Quit Smoking

7. Get a Burglar Alarm – Sounds like a no-brainer, right?  Just check with your insurance company to find out what requirements they need to provide the discount.  You may also ask if there is a different discount depending on if the alarm is connected to any outside monitoring service like ADT, or the local police department.

8. Move Away From the Water – Residential properties near bodies of water are fantastic for activities and scenery, but can cause your homeowner and flood insurance prices to be higher.  With flood insurance especially, living in a flood plain will raise your premiums substantially.

9. Install Deadbolt Locks – Because of the obvious increased difficulty to break into a house equipped with deadbolt locks on all the entrances, your insurance company may offer a discount.  BE CAREFUL: Don’t tell your insurer you have deadbolt locks unless you really do, falsifying insurance rating information could result in a claim being denied.

10. Install a Central Smoke Detector System – You probably already have smoke detectors in your home (by the way, when did you last check them?), but some insurance companies will provide more discounts if you install a central smoke detector system which integrates with the wiring of the house and may notify the fire department in the event of an alarm.

11. Quit Smoking – I know a lot of smokers, and I’m pretty sure saving money on insurance isn’t going to convince them to quit, but it would be a great benefit to doing something that will add years to your life!  If you quit smoking since the time your insurance policy went into effect, you may want to notify your carrier and make sure they are aware of it.

12. Retire – Since retired individuals tend to spend more time around the house and would be quicker to notice the building on fire or deter a burglar, it will save you money.  The cost savings won’t justify an early retirement, but it’ll be nice when the income is less consistent.  If you retired since the inception of your policy, let your agent know about it, you’ve got the time!

 

gated communities have cheap insurance

22. Live in a gated community

13. Ask About Employee Discounts – Check with your co-workers or human resources departments to see if your company has any affiliations with any particular insurance carriers.  BE CAREFUL: Just because a company does offer employees of your company a discount, doesn’t mean it’s going to be the best deal.  Since you’re shopping around why not speak with a bunch of insurers and take the best overall deal.

14. Review Your Policy Annually – Many homeowner insurance policies automatically increase the amount of coverage each year to account for inflation and increases in rebuilding costs. Since many folks keep the same policy year after year without looking at it, it’s very possible things have changed since then and you may need more or less coverage.  Better yet, speak with your agent and request an entire policy review.  They might find discounts you didn’t even know you deserved!

15. Live in a Safer Neighborhood – Home insurance prices tend to be cheaper in neighborhoods with less crime for a variety of reasons.  This might be a double-edged sword since you’re likely to pay much more for the home.  If you have a family, it’ll certainly be worth it.

16. Pay on Time – Insurers don’t like to get paid late, do you?  Many will even tack on additional surcharges or take away discounts if you are late on a payment.  Make sure it gets paid on time, even if your mortgage company pays for it.

17. Improve Your Credit – Bad credit can make your premium increase and may even make you ineligible for certain companies.  Along with just about anything else in life, keeping a good credit history will save you money.  If your credit has improved since the time you originally wrote your homeowners insurance policy, why not reach out to your carrier and see if they can re-run it. BE CAREFUL: If you re-run credit and your score has gotten worse, you could wind up paying more money!

 

retire to save money on home insurance

12. Retire

18. Get Actual Cash Value Coverage – Although I wouldn’t recommend it, you can save money on insurance by getting Actual Cash Value for your lost or stolen property instead of Replacement Cost.  The difference is that ACV includes depreciation of your property while RC pays the cost to replace it.  BE CAREFUL: If your house burns down and you have ACV coverage, you’ll barely get enough to furnish your new home at the thrift store.

19. Add Storm Shutters – In wind and hurricane-prone areas, some insurance companies will give discounts for storm mitigating actions as simple as adding storm shutters.  It’s a good idea to check with your insurance company to be sure your policy will offer such a discount.

20. Renovate Plumbing, Electrical, or Heating Systems – Especially if you live in an old home, having a major renovation done to your property can reduce your insurance costs.  BE CAREFUL: If your renovation work is not done by a licensed contractor, you may have trouble with your insurance carrier and they may even drop you!  Check with your carrier beforehand.

21. Pay in Full – Insurance companies also like to get all their money up front, since much of their income comes from investments.  Because of this they usually charge more for paying month-to-month than for paying in full.  Even if the premium cost is the same, some carriers charge installment fees with each bill, which can raise your out of pocket in the end.

22. Live in a Gated Community – Because of their reduced crime and typical upkeep requirements, many insurers give discounted rates for homes in a gated community.  If the carrier doesn’t know your present home is in a gated community, now would be a good time to let them know.

 

newer homes are cheaper to insure

4. Buy a newer home.

23. Buy a Condo Policy – Only if you own a condo of course. Many condo owners pay way too much insurance because they buy the wrong policy.  Sadly, on some occasions their insurance agent messed up.  If you own a condo, you can purchase a special kind of insurance specifically for condos that removes most of the coverage for the structure.  Condo insurance typically costs a fraction of Homeowner’s insurance.

24. Don’t File Small Claims – Homeowner’s insurance exists to save you from being wiped out entirely, not from getting a large bill.  The decision to file a claim depends on repair costs, how quickly the damage needs to be fixed, and how much you can afford to pay out of pocket.  It should NOT depend on your belief that “since I’ve been paying all these years, I may as well submit a claim”.  Filing a homeowner’s claim is a discussion worth having with your agent prior to doing so.  BE CAREFUL: If you don’t file a claim and don’t repair damage that results in more damage, you may face a much larger claim that your insurance company could deny and getting your insurance cancelled.(Example: Failing to fix a hole in your roof allows water to leak in for weeks rotting the walls or weakening the foundation.  The result is a huge bill that your insurance carrier denies entirely based on your failure to mitigate the damages.)

25. Ask About Occupational Discounts – Based on what you do for a living, some insurance companies may be willing to offer you a discount.  If you changed jobs since the policy was written, you might be surprised to find out.  Give them a call and ask.

26. Purchase a Fire Extinguisher – Some insurance companies will give you a discount just for keeping an extinguisher on the premises. Call to find out before you go out to get one, but even if there isn’t a discount, it’s probably a good idea to have one!

27. Pay Automatically – Check with your insurance carrier to find out if the policy will be cheaper by setting it up on automatic payments.  Quite often the cheapest option is to have the money drawn directly from a bank account, but each carrier is different so ask your agent.

 

licensed contractors for renovations

20. Hire a licensed contractor

28. Buy an Umbrella Policy – An umbrella insurance policy provides liability coverage in excess of the limits provided on each of the other policies you own.  If you have home, auto, motorcycle and boat insurance, all with a million dollars of liability coverage, you could purchase one umbrella and reduce the liability coverage on each individual policy.  BE CAREFUL: Most umbrella policies have required underlying limits for each individual policy and failure to fulfill those limits can result in no umbrella coverage.

29. Move Close to Fire Hydrants and Fire Stations – You’ll pay more for insurance if you’re very far from a hydrant and/or very far from the fire station.  Make sure your insurer has the correct information about how close the nearest hydrant is, and who the responding fire department is.  You could live next to the fire station but if your insurer incorrectly thinks the next town over would respond to your home, you’ll overpay for insurance.

30. Buy a Home Made of Fire-Resistive Materials – Fire resistive materials like brick and cement tend to yield cheaper prices for insurance.  Less fires = less claims = cheaper insurance.

31. Install a Sprinkler System – Although it would probably be a bit abnormal in most homes, you could install a sprinkler system and would probably get some type of discount for doing so.  For your insurance carrier and your own sake, make sure it’s done by a licensed contractor.

32. Raise Your Hurricane Deductible – In Hurricane prone areas, many insurance companies have a special deductible in the event of damage caused by a hurricane.  These deductibles are often a percent of the overall coverage amount.  If you live in an area unlikely to be hit by a hurricane, raising the deductible by a percentage point or two could save some money.  BE CAREFUL: Raising your hurricane deductible can result in a huge difference in your out-of-pocket expenses.  On a $300,000 home, going from 3% to 5% hurricane deductible could cost you an extra $6,000 out of pocket!

33. Use Quote Assistant - There is no easier, more efficient, safer, and more informative way to get several competing insurance quotes than by using Quote Assistant.  Learn more at: http://www.QuoteAssistant.com or use your iPhone or Android browser and go directly to: http://www.QuoteAss.com.  BE CAREFUL: After saving a boatload of money on your insurance with Quote Assistant, you might annoy your friends, family, and co-workers by bragging about how smart you are.

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