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Tips for Saving Money on Home Insurance

Jul 31, 2013

Fortunately, buying home insurance isn’t the time-consuming hassle that it once was, and saving money on it has gotten to be a whole lot easier. Here’s how:

Raise your deductible to lower payments

Raising your deductible is a sure way to reduce your payments for homeowners insurance. That’s because the more you’re willing to pay if you do have a loss, the less your insurance will cost. If you were to raise your deductible from $250 to $1,000, you could see your payments dip considerably. That can be a great savings to you without taking on a lot more risk. If you have a special fund set aside for emergencies, you can use that cash to pay off some of your deductible if you ever do experience a loss.

Make your property more disaster resistant

Safety improvements made to your home can add up to savings on homeowners insurance. Enhancements such as storm shutters and stronger roofs may help lower the cost of insurance. Check with your insurer first before investing in any new improvements aimed at lowering your payments.

Increase safety features

You may benefit from lower insurance payments while providing greater security for yourself and your family if you add certain features to your property. For some property owners, adding a security alarm, a deadbolt lock or a fire extinguisher can help save money. Installing advanced security devices such as a security alarm that automatically alerts local law enforcement personnel in the event of a break-in can provide even more savings and a greater sense of safety in your home.

Review your insurance riders

Periodically, look at any insurance policy riders – extra coverage – that you may be carrying and make sure that you still need them. Sometimes insured items, such as family heirlooms, might be given away to other kinfolk and you don’t need riders covering them anymore.

Discuss discounts

You may not realize it, but many discounts can be had for a variety of reasons. For example, you may be entitled to multi-policy, senior citizen, non-smoker, claim-free and marital status discounts.

Make an Inventory of your possessions

Get started by creating a list of everything of value that you own. You’ll want to describe each item, and provide model numbers, serial numbers, place of purchase and other relevant data. Don’t forget to add your sales receipts, purchase contracts and appraisals to your inventory package. Organize clothing into categories for easier reference. It’s a great idea to take pictures of rooms and important personal belongings. It’s also effective if you videotape your home and describe the contents of your home as you walk through the rooms. Save all of your documentation on your computer drive, and also store it on a disc and keep it in a safe deposit box.

Keep your home protected

Receiving insurance discounts is great, but protecting your family and your property are the wonderful advantages you’ll benefit by with homeowners insurance. That means you must ensure that you have adequate liability and property coverage at all times. Consider a policy that provides replacement coverage, not just coverage that will reimburse only depreciated values of your property. Should you ever have to file a claim, you and your loved ones will enjoy the full protection that homeowners insurance can provide.

Pride of ownership: the street view

Up until around 2008, the insurance carriers, whether preferred or non-preferred, inspected the front of their clients’ properties only randomly or every three years. Some carriers would require a “walk-through” dependent upon what the “drive-by” showed. Now, insurance carriers are performing inspections EVERY year on insured properties. Trees or shrubs touching the house are a red flag and can result in a warning notice to you. Unmaintained front yards, peeling paint, roofs that need repair and replacement are but a few of the obstacles that could place your homeowners policy on the pending cancellation list. Clean, well maintained, property that demonstrates pride of ownership is what most insurance companies require. Homeowners who have broken down vehicles in their driveways or have not mowed their lawns in more than a month will find their premiums higher, and will have fewer choices in homeowners policies.

Think first before making that insurance claim

Before making an insurance claim, consider the following:
• How much is my deductible?
• Will the cost of the claim override the cost of this claim being on my CLUE (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) report for the next 3 – 5 years?
• Will I be comfortable with the increase in annual premium due to the cost of this claim, especially if covering the loss yourself is relatively inexpensive?

Filing an insurance claim is sometimes unavoidable. But, that claim will remain on your property even after you have moved.
When purchasing a new home, have the realtor run a CLUE report on your anticipated purchase. If the former owner had any large losses in the past few years, you could now be responsible for those losses. Your homeowners policy will be affected. The loss stays with the structure.
Saving money doesn’t have to be hard work. Our insurance agents will answer your questions and put your mind and your wallet at ease.

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