As a responsible homeowner you want to ensure your family is protected from any eventuality. If disaster strikes you don’t want them to end up living in a homeless shelter, you want to be able to maintain the lifestyle you’re accustomed to. You work hard to provide for them and make them as happy and healthy as possible. Your budget is well thought out, and up until now your income has managed to stretch far enough to cover all the expenses. Now you learn your homeowners insurance is going up…again. It’s an area of coverage that seems to be rising by leaps and bounds. What steps can you take to help alleviate the increasing cost? The following tips will help you lower your insurance and keep your budget on track.
Look for the Best Possible Price
When you realize your budget may be in trouble because of the rising cost of homeowners insurance, the first thing to do is look for a better rate. Do your homework. Study all the possible options that may be open to you. Insurance companies are in business to make money. As a result they are extremely competitive. That can work to your advantage. Discounts and special rates are available, but you need to seek them out.
Some insurance companies will give you better rates if you get your homeowners and other types of insurance, such as auto insurance, from them. They’re called multi-policy discounts and the savings can be significant. By consolidating your policies your insurance agent is able to offer rates that will probably be much lower than the cost of each policy by itself.
Discounts Are Available
Don’t just take the first quote an insurance agent gives you. Ask them for clarification. Is there a special rate if you have smoke detectors? You just installed deadbolt locks. Is there a special rate for that? Is your home protected by a security system or a fire alarm? Find out if that system will allow your agent to offer a discount. Is there a special rate for all of the above? Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t completely understand the answer, ask again. It could lead to a considerable reduction in your payments.
Higher Deductible = Lower Premium
If you’ve taken precautions to ensure your home is safe, such as the aforementioned smoke detectors, locks and security systems, you may want to consider raising your deductible. The more money you’re willing to risk having to pay in the event of a claim, the lower your insurance payments will be.
Steps can be taken to make your home less susceptible to damage during storms. Better windows are a good start. In older homes improving your roof or installing shutters may help lower your insurance costs. Redoing your electrical system makes the wiring less likely to be the cause of a fire. Improvements in the plumbing system may prevent costly repairs in the future. The list of possible upgrades to your home is only limited by your imagination, and your rates may drop accordingly.
Find a Good Company and Stick with Them
Although shopping around for better rates is a good idea, if at all possible stay with one insurer as long as it’s financially feasible. Most insurance companies reward long time customers. Staying with one company for 5, 10, 20 years, or longer will undoubtedly result in significant savings. If they suspect you’re comparing their rates to other companies, they may work even harder to beat the competition.
Keep Your Policy Updated
Make sure your coverage actually reflects your needs. If you add a garage or improve the exterior of the house you’ll need more coverage. Purchasing expensive jewelry for your spouse or buying a large screen television to replace that old 32 inch model you’ve been putting up with for the last 10 years increases the value of your possessions. If something happens, it’ll cost more to replace the new stuff. Your insurance coverage should be adjusted. Conversely, if you get rid of things you no longer use, such as that old bedroom furniture or the record collection that’s been collecting dust for decades your insurance rates may drop accordingly. Changes don’t need to be significant in order to save money. The little things add up.
Guest post from Bailey Harris. Bailey writes about insurance and other topics for the Home Insurance Blog.