1. Raise your deductible
Raising your deductible is one surefire way to lower your monthly homeowners insurance premium. As one of our insureds put it:
“The more loss you’ll pay, the less your insurance will cost. Raising your deductible from $250 to a thousand dollars could slash your premium by 10 to 30 percent. A lot of savings, not a lot of extra risk.”
If you have an emergency fund, you can use some of that money to pay your deductible should you ever have to file an insurance claim. (A flood, house fire or robbery qualifies as an emergency to me.)
2. Disaster-proof your property
If you upgrade your home, you might save on homeowners insurance. For example, your provider may give you a discount for having weather-resistant features: My company offers a discount for storm shutters and stronger roofs since I’m in an area prone to high winds and flooding.
Call your insurance provider before spending any money, and ask what improvements will result in a lower premium.
3. Install security features
In 2009, burglary victims (in all structures, including homes) lost an estimated $4.6 billion to property damage and theft, according to the FBI. Did you know smoking causes 23,000 fires every year?
Your insurance provider may offer discounts if you install safety features. For example, the Insurance Information Institute reports that you can save at least 5% by adding a security alarm, a deadbolt lock or a fire extinguisher. Upgrade to a more advanced security feature -- like a security alarm that automatically dials the police -- and you could save up to 20%.
4. Review your insurance riders
Periodically review any insurance policy riders -- basically, extra coverages at added cost -- and make sure you still need them. I once carried extra insurance on my jewelry, to the tune of $96 a year. I later sold the jewelry but forgot about the rider for another year, thus wasting $96.
5. Ask for discounts
Many discounts are available beyond installing safety features and disaster-proofing. For example:
Senior citizen discounts
Marital status discounts
The discounts offered vary by provider. Call your company and ask for the full list.
6. Find a dog-friendly insurer
I'm the proud parent of a 50-pound, full-blooded pit bull. People love to tell me, "I’ll never be able to find homeowners insurance with an 'aggressive breed.'" They're wrong.
If you own a large dog -- or a breed labeled as aggressive -- you might have a harder time finding homeowners insurance, but you don’t have to pay an outrageous premium. A few providers will approve you at a decent rate after a home check, or if you can provide a vet reference. In my case, an agent visited my home and checked out my dog before quoting a premium.
7. Shop around
Just because you got a great deal on homeowners insurance years ago doesn’t mean you're getting a great deal today. Rates can change, and so do situations. Once a year, shop around. You can do that by calling Anderson Insurance Brokers at #630-681-8000, #773-588-3500 or 866-681-8700
8. Don't insure your lot
This may sound obvious, but if you paid $200,000 for your house, you don't need to have $200,000 worth of coverage, because part of the purchase price included the lot your house sits on. It's not going to burn down or get stolen.
9. Inventory your possessions
One of the silliest things people do is pay a lot of money to insure their stuff, then fail to have an inventory when they lose it all. No matter how nice your insurance company is, it's not going to pay to replace things you can't remember or prove you had. And nobody can remember every single item in the house, from dishes to socks.
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Its a good idea to take your cell phone and make a video of all the pocessions in your house.
10. Don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish
While the goal in reviewing insurance is to save a buck or two, don't lose sight of the ultimate goal: protecting your property. Make sure you maintain adequate liability and other coverages at all times. Double-check to see that your policy provides for replacement coverage, not coverage that will reimburse only depreciated values.
If you're running a business from your home, be aware that without notification (and perhaps a rider at extra expense) the insurance company may refuse business-related claims. For example, if the UPS driver trips on your front porch while delivering a business-related package and sues, the expense may not be covered by your homeowners policy. When in doubt, ask.
At Anderson Insurance Brokers we can help you with your home insurance by getting you multiple quotes. Call us at #630-681-8000, #773-588-3500 or toll free at #866-681-8700 or visit our website at www.andersoninsurancebrokers.com