In light of the current economy, many people are looking for ways to spend less and save more. Homeowners insurance is one area that may look like a fixed, non-discretionary expenditure, but in reality the savvy shopper can save significantly on his insurance by following a few common sense strategies.
The most important thing you can do to save on your insurance expense is to shop around. Although few people realize it, you can change your company or policy at any time. Price quotes are easily accessible on the internet, and you can make use of websites that will do the comparison shopping for you. Make sure that the site you use is not sponsored by a particular company so that you are assured of receiving objective information. You can also call the company directly to get their best offer. Once you have price quotes, consider other factors that may be important to you such as customer service or ease of filing a claim. You can also check into whether the company offers a discount for insuring both your home and auto. Many companies will offer a bundle price at significant savings to you.
Another important question to consider is whether you have the financial wherewithal to raise the deductible on your policy. Raising your deductible can save you hundreds of dollars each month, but if you don’t have the ability to pay for a high deductible in the event of a loss, it may not be worth it to you. For most people, however, the savings in premium payments over time would more than cover the cost of a high deductible should they need to file a claim.
Installing home security devices such as smoke detectors, burglar alarm systems, fire extinguishers and deadbolts can save anywhere from five to fifteen percent on your policy, depending on the type of system you use. Most insurance companies will give greater discounts for fire or burglar alarms that ring at the local fire department or police station, for example. However, the cost of installing this type of system may be more than the savings you would gain on your policy, so be sure to check with the company about how much of a discount they offer before investing in an expensive system.
Disaster-proofing your home is an investment in both safety and insurance premium savings. Depending on the type of natural disaster that is typical in your area, you can improve your home’s safety and lower your monthly insurance payment by installing storm windows, a storm cellar, or a better roof to protect from damage. You should also consider upgrading your home’s electrical and plumbing systems if you live in an older house. Some insurance companies will offer significant discounts for systems that are less than ten years old.
If your current homeowners insurance policy is a government plan, you may want to consider switching to a private provider. Purchasing insurance in the private sector benefits you as the consumer since private companies must compete for your business, and therefore will often give you a better rate, better service, or larger incentives. Check several different types of insurance providers before making a decision about which choice is best for you.
Another factor that you should consider when you’re looking to reduce your premiums is whether your insurance company offers any special discounts. For instance, if you have been claim-free for at least ten years or if you have been a customer for a specified time frame, you may be eligible for a discount. Available discounts vary by company and by location, so check into what specific offers are available through your insurance provider.
Homeowners insurance is a necessary expense, but don’t be fooled into thinking you are locked into your current plan indefinitely. If you aren’t happy with the customer service or you’re looking for ways to save money, take the time to shop around with other providers. You should also check with your current provider as to whether they offer discounts that you could be taking advantage of. Look for a company that gives you the greatest benefit and puts you as the consumer in charge of your payment options.