Homeowner's insurance is the type of property insurance that protects private homes against perils as varied as fire, vandalism and a mishmash of meteorological events ranging from hurricanes to blizzards to floods to tropical storms. Coverage classifications run the gamut from dwelling and other structures to loss of use and personal property. As a homeowner, you can reduce your insurance premium by doing a few specific things and talking to the right people.
Can Shopping Around and Comparing Quotes Really Help Me?
It's good to shop around and compare quotes before buying homeowner's insurance. Homeownerselect.com enables you to enter your zip code and compare quotes from multiple providers. For example, if you enter Zip Code 10012, the comparison tool shows you insurance companies that provide homeowner's insurance in that area, and redirects you to a page where you can enter specifics about your house. To get a quote, have information such as home type and occupancy status handy. Occupancy status means whether the house you want to insure is your primary residence, a vacation property, a rental abode or a seasonal residence. Other data that may help determine your insurance coverage amount include requested liability, your credit score, the zip code and the requested content liability.
Should I Stay With the Same Insurer?
You can save money on your homeowner's insurance if you combine it with other policies you have with a single insurer. Most large insurers offer multi-policy discounts, so talk to your insurance agent to see what options are available for someone willing to purchase insurance contracts as diverse as home, car, life and equipment with the same company. For example, Allstate says you can save up to 30% on your home and 10% on your car if you combine both policies. The company also promises to give you more than 30 other discounts like deductible rewards and safe-driver reductions.
How About Raising My Deductible?
Raising your homeowner's insurance bill by raising your deductible might sound like a non-starter, but it's the right thing to do in some circumstances. A deductible is the cash you dole out when the unthinkable happens - say, an accidental fire burns down your house completely or wreaks significant structural havoc. Your insurance agent can tell you more about how much you can save, depending on various deductible scenarios. You also can use a simulator like this one to figure out how much you would pay in premiums based on the deductible amount range. A well-respected personal-finance expert I recently interviewed said that you should have a nest egg available to cover some of the costs inherent in a disaster, so that the insurance company wouldn't delay its part of the bargain and pay for the remaining expenses. Other financial specialists say you must augment the deductible as high as possible to reduce your premium, but just make sure you have that much money available to cover repairs and improvements when misfortune strikes.
Can Security Systems Help Lower My Premiums?
Insurance companies encourage homeowners to purchase and install home safety systems to prevent specific perils – fire, for example. Systems that typically win the admiration of insurers include things like pet friendly and police dispatch as well as wireless sensor and equipment that is portable, even during long trips. Other security system features I suggest that you install include quick alarm notification, plug and play, something you can easily customize, professional monitoring and phone alerts.
Should I Review My Credit Report Before Applying?
Review your credit report before applying for a homeowners insurance policy. That way, you can see in advance what the insurance agent will see when he or she delves into your credit report, and can fix inaccuracies before they crawl back into your insurance file and increase your premium unjustifiably. By law, the top three credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – must provide you with a free copy of your credit report once a year. If they fail to respond to your enquiry within 30 to 60 days, you have grounds to sue them. You can even vent your frustration upward in the political system by complaining to the Federal Trade Commission, and this may not be a bad thing, especially if you gross errors in your credit file and the credit bureaus and other credit card companies are dragging their feet to do the right thing and correct the blunder – their blunder.
Who Can Help Me?
- To find out more about ways to lessen your homeowner's insurance premium:
- Dig deeper into Homeinsurance.com's comprehensive database on everything related to home insurance
- Talk to your insurance agent about single-policy and multi-policy discounts
- Contact your state's Department of Financial Services
- Contact your state's Office of the Insurance Commissioner
- Reach out to your local Better Business Bureau branch
You can decrease your homeowner's insurance bill by increasing your deductible, installing safety systems in the house, and improving your credit score, among other solutions. Also, don't forget to talk to the right people before and after purchasing the coverage, so that you can stay informed of things like discounts, rewards programs and changes in laws.