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Having the right insurance coverage on your home is smart. Paying too much for it is not. Use these tips to reduce the cost of your homeowners insurance.
1. Maximize your discounts. Most insurers offer discounts to homeowners who have taken steps to reduce the risk of a claim. You may qualify for significant discounts if your home is:
2. Increase your deductibles. Higher deductibles will reduce your premiums. Keep in mind that hurricane insurance deductibles are not the same as basic all other perils deductibles, so consider both. You may also have different deductibles on riders for special items such as jewelry and artwork.
One caveat: A higher deductible means you pay more out of pocket if you suffer a covered loss. Be sure you are prepared to pay the amount of your deductible if you have a claim.
3. Review your coverages. If you’ve had your policy for a while, be sure the amount and type of coverage you have matches your current needs. The replacement cost of your home and/or contents may have changed.
If you have added or upgraded protective devices such as security and fire sprinkler systems or hurricane shutters since your last policy review, tell your agent so the appropriate discounts can be applied to your homeowners insurance premium.
4. Don’t buy coverage based exclusively on market value. Insurance will only pay for the actual cost to repair or rebuild your home less your deductible of a qualifying claim. The cost to rebuild or repair your home is calculated on necessary materials and labor, not market value (which can fluctuate based on market conditions and includes land you don’t need to insure).
5. Compare companies, policies and pricing. Insurance carriers, policies and rate structures are not created equal. The low-priced provider may not be the best if the policy leaves out coverage that’s important to you, if the carrier is not financially sound, or if the carrier doesn’t deliver a high level of customer service. Ask friends and neighbors for referrals and check out the financial stability and service reputation of the companies you are considering.