There are several steps you can take to ensure you are getting the best homeowner’s insurance rates possible for the coverage you need:
- Before purchasing a home, it is wise to learn about its insurance loss history. If there have been past losses, be sure to closely inspect the home to determine if proper repairs were made. The CLUE and A-PLUS databases enable insurers to check the claim history of the property as well as that of the homeowner.
- Raising your deductible is a great way to reduce your premiums. Higher deductibles on your homeowner’s insurance could produce savings of 25 percent or more.
- Consider upgrades to your home. Do you need to modernize your heating, plumbing and electrical systems to reduce the risk of fire and water damage? Are there upgrades you could make that would reduce the risk of damage in windstorms and other natural disasters? You may be able to save on your premiums by adding storm shutters, reinforcing your roof or buying stronger roofing materials. Older homes can be retrofitted to make them more capable of withstanding earthquakes. If you do make home improvements, be sure to make your insurer aware of the changes.
- Improve your home security. You can typically get premium discounts of at least 5 percent for installing a smoke detector, burglar alarm or dead-bolt locks. Some companies will cut your premium by as much as 15 or 20 percent if you install a sophisticated sprinkler system and a fire and burglar alarm that signals the police, fire department and other monitoring stations. These systems are not inexpensive and not every system qualifies for a discount. Before you buy such a system, find out what kind your insurer recommends, how much the device would cost, and how much you would save on premiums.
- Buy your home and auto policies from the same insurer. Some companies that sell homeowner’s, auto and liability coverage will take 5 to 15 percent off your premium if combine policies with them.
Maintain a good credit rating. Most insurers use credit-based insurance scores to determine homeowner’s and auto coverage premiums. All else being equal, a person with a good credit score will pay much less for insurance than someone with a lower score.