Homeowners insurance is a must-have for anyone who has bought a home. The amount of your premium will depend on many factors, including the location of the home, the size as well as the age. Insurance companies may also take into consideration the crime rate in your area and any past claims you have filed when determining your rate.
However, there are ways you can save money on homeowners insurance. Here are tips to lower your homeowners insurance premium. Estimated discount amounts are from the Insurance Information Institute.
Increase the deductible
The higher the deductible on your policy, the less it costs. However, if you do have a claim, you will need to pay more out of pocket before coverage kicks in. Many people have a $500 deductible. Increasing your deductible to $1,000 can lower your premium by as much as 25%.
There are many options making it easier than ever to shop for new homeowners insurance. You can call an insurance agent or go to the insurance company’s website to request a quote. Another option is to visit a website that will get you quotes from multiple insurance companies at once. If you're unfamiliar with an insurance company, check its AM Best or Moody's rating to make sure it's financially strong. Also, be sure to compare the coverage you’re getting with each insurer.
Combine insurance policies
Not all insurance companies offer both homeowners insurance and auto insurance. However, if they do, you could score a discount to have both policies with a single insurer. Bundling could lower your homeowners insurance premium by 5% to 15%. Getting quotes can help you determine if the discount is worth it to bundle or keep the policies separate to get a better rate.
Make your home more secure
You can shave about 5% off your homeowners insurance bill by adding more security measures. For instance, the presence of smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and deadbolts on exterior doors make your home more secure. Some insurance companies will also give you a discount if you have a monitored burglar alarm system. As monitored systems can be expensive, it's a good idea to check with the insurance company to find out how much of a discount they'll offer before you have one installed.
Improve your credit score
Your credit score affects how much you pay for homeowners insurance. You can improve your score by always paying your credit cards on time, having a low utilization rate and not having too many open credit accounts. People with high credit scores tend to have fewer claims, so insurance companies offer them lower rates.
Stay with your insurer
Some insurance companies offer long-time customers a longevity discount. The discount is usually about 5% if you've been with an insurance company for three to five years. If you've had your policy for over six years, you may get up to a 10% discount. It's still worth shopping around, though, as other insurance companies may offer a more competitive rate to acquire you as a new client.
Consider homeowners insurance when buying a home
The distance from your home to a fire hydrant, or whether it's in a community with a professional fire department, are considerations in determining your insurance premium. If your home is just a half-mile from a fire department, let’s say, it’s like you’ll get a faster response compared to a home that’s 10 miles away. If you already own a home, you can ask your city to install a fire hydrant nearby if the closest one is far away.
Pay your homeowners insurance premium in full
If you pay for homeowners insurance directly rather than letting your mortgage company handle it, you can likely save money by paying the policy in full for the year. There are usually additional fees if you pay monthly, and insurance companies often reward a paid-in-full policy with a discount.
Consider upgrading your home
If you install a new roof, let your insurance company know as there's likely a discount for that. There may also be discounts for upgrading to a new HVAC system and installing impact windows. If you have old wiring or plumbing, the insurance company could offer a discount if you install new systems as they reduce the risk of water or fire damage.
A home is often the largest financial purchase we make, and the cost of insurance can be significant. So finding ways to save money while still adequately insuring it and protecting yourself is time well spent.