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McQuiston: 8 Ways To Save On Home Insurance

on September 26, 2017 - 7:04am
By ALLEN MCQUISTON
The Jemez Agency
 
If you feel like you’re paying more for homeowners insurance than you used to, you might be right. Homeowners insurance rates have been rising and with the recent hurricanes, forest fires out west and other natural disasters, expect rates to continue to rise.
 
You want to make sure your home is protected, but you don’t want to pay more than you have to, either. Here are eight things you can do to make sure you get the best deal on homeowners insurance:
 
  • Shop around. Rates can vary dramatically from one company to another - and there are hundreds, let me say that again, hundreds of different insurers that offer homeowners insurance. If you haven’t researched the market in the last few years, it makes sense to shop. 
  • Increase your deductible. Many policies are written with a $500 deductible, but depending on where you live, you could save 10% or more by increasing your deductible to $1,000. This one change can help significantly reduce or even eliminate your annual premium increase altogether. And some people opt for even higher deductibles, all the way up to $5,000 - but they need to be diligent about keeping funds set aside in case they need to file a claim.
  • Don’t file small claims. If a homeowners claim would cost less than $1,000, it probably doesn’t make sense to file it. Insurance companies track customer claims, and even a claim of a few hundred dollars could cause a client to miss out on “loss-free” discounts.
  • Bundle with auto or umbrella insurance. When you buy insurance for your home and car from the same company, you usually get a significant discount on both policies. Other policies, such as umbrella insurance, might qualify, too.
  • Maintain good credit. In most states, insurers offer lower premiums to applicants with high credit scores, so keeping a solid credit history can lower your insurance costs. To protect your credit rating, pay your bills on time, keep outstanding balances low, and monitor your credit report regularly.
  • Review your policy carefully. You likely are eligible for a number of discounts and credits, so make sure you get them. Homeowners often receive discounts for having newer homes, multiple policies with the same company, good credit and a clean claims history. Even your proximity to a fire hydrant might save you money. And if your situation has changed, let your insurer know immediately as you could be eligible for even more discounts.
  • Look into group insurance discounts. Some organizations offer special insurance programs to employees, usually with discounts of 5% to 10% and features such as payment via payroll deduction. You also may qualify for discounts if you are a member of a union, auto club, alumni association, or professional group.
  • Improve your home security and safety. Deadbolts, burglar alarms, and other security devices are all ways to keep your home safe and potentially lower your insurance costs. For example, an alarm that connects to police, fire, or other monitoring stations can save you as much as 10% on your homeowners premium.
Keep in mind that different companies offer different discounts, and your options might vary depending on where you live. A professional insurance agent who knows your market can help you find the best coverage at the best price for your needs.

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