The average homeowner in the United States pays about $950 per year for homeowners insurance. While it’s important to make sure your home and belongings are protected in case of theft or disaster, you don’t want to pay more than you need to for coverage. Here are 5 ways to reduce your homeowners insurance premiums and save hundreds or thousands in the long run.
#1. Increase home security
An important factor that determines your homeowners insurance rate is how susceptible your home is to storms, fire, and burglars. Increasing security might be the best way to lower your homeowner insurance cost. You can reduce your premiums by taking steps to increase security. This can involve costly investments like updated electrical and plumbing, or you can choose lower cost upgrades like deadbolt doors, window locks, a burglar alarm, and smoke detectors.
#2. Ask about discounts
Most insurance companies offer a range of discounts, but they aren’t always highly advertised. Ask about the discounts your insurance company offers and review your policy. Common homeowners insurance discounts include a retirement discount, a discount for certain categories of employment (like teachers, police, and first responders), no smokers in the household, and a multi-policy discount. You should also shop around for your quotes with an independent broker who will show you quotes from multiple companies and help you find the best value.
#3. Increase your deductible
Your deductible is the amount you need to pay when you make a claim before your insurance policy kicks in. Increasing your deductible from $250 to $1,000 may reduce your premium by a whopping 10-30%, but don’t forget to consider the risk. Make sure you set your deductible to an amount you can afford to pay in an emergency and consider using the savings to boost your emergency fund.
#4. Improve your credit
Your credit is one of many important factors determining the rate you pay. Insurance companies in most states use their own credit-based insurance score to predict how likely it is that customers will make claims, and having bad to average credit can cost you. Take steps to improve your credit over time by paying your bills on time, paying down credit card balances to below 20% of the credit limit, and fixing any mistakes on your credit reports.
#5. Review your limits
It’s important to periodically review your policy limits and adjust them to reflect your actual needs. This is wonderful because it costs nothing, does not require switching insurance companies, and may save you hundreds. Make sure you aren’t paying extra to insure what you paid for the home rather than the cost to rebuild.
Don’t just assume you’re getting the best price on homeowners insurance; take action to review your homeowners policy and find ways to reduce your premiums. After all, why pay more money for the same coverage or for coverage you really don’t need? With these five tips, you can potentially save hundreds of dollars over the next couple of years.