With the cost of homeowners insurance escalating, homeowners are scrambling to find ways to save money on their insurance premiums and improve their rates. One way insurance companies determine premium costs is by the amount of risk they assume. So, the higher the risk is to the insurance company, the more homeowners pay out-of-pocket. There are ways to shift the risk from the insurance company in order to save money on premium payouts, however. For example, home modernization projects such as updated internal systems and home security alarms lessen a home’s susceptibility to insurance claims. Additionally, homeowners who opt for a higher deductible demonstrate their willingness to take on more risk.
Customer loyalty is another way insurance companies decide the amount of a homeowner’s premiums. For example, homeowners who give an insurance company more business by bundling other policies with the company generally save money. Also, it may be beneficial to have a conversation with an insurance specialist to see what other discounts may be available. If the insurance company offers an incentive program for certain customers, there may be more opportunities to save money.
Listed below in detail are 5 ways to improve your home insurance rate:
1. UPDATE YOUR HOME
Anytime you modernize your home in a way that reduces the risk of filing a claim down the line, insurance companies are more likely to offer discounts on premiums. One way to modify your home is to update some of its internal systems. For example, if you have older electrical or heating systems or older plumbing, you should update them to reduce your premiums. Retaining older systems is a risk to your home. Dated electrical and heating systems increases the likelihood of having a house fire. Older plumbing systems may lead to slow interior drains and backup. Since either of the above puts your home at a high risk for damage, and therefore, a potential insurance claim, your homeowners insurance costs will be higher.
Another way to update your home and thereby lower your insurance costs is by having storm shutters and doors installed-particularly if you live in an area susceptible to hurricanes or major storms. The installation must be professional, so your insurance provider may ask for receipts or some other proof that the work was done professionally.
Finally, reach out to your insurance agent to ask if there are any other repairs or updates you can do to your home to lower your insurance premium. They may be able to offer you additional suggestions that may not be readily apparent.
2. INSTALL SECURITY SYSTEMS
Another home update that may help you save money is installing a home alarm security system. The FBI reports that a burglary occurs about every 15 seconds in the United States. Also, victims of burglary offenses suffered an estimated $4.6 billion in lost property.
A professionally installed alarm security system reduces the chance that your home will be burglarized. Additionally, if you install a security system that detects water or gas leaks, the likelihood that your home will suffer water or fire damage decreases. Since the risk that you will file an insurance claim is lessened, insurance companies will offer discounts on premiums.
3. CHOOSE A HIGHER DEDUCTIBLE
Insurance companies reward homeowners for home modifications that lessen the risk of filing claims. But, insurance companies alsoreward homeowners who assume more risk. By homeowners taking on more risk upfront, insurance companies have more of an incentive to offer discounts on premiums. One way to accomplish this is to opt for a higher deductible. Consider a deductible of $1,000 or more.
It may seem like a large chunk to pay out-of-pocket in the event you need to file a claim, but unless your home is subject to multiple disasters, your savings in premium payments may outweigh those costs. Simply limit your insurance claims to those requiring major repairs and cover the cost of smaller repairs yourself. Filing claims for smaller repairs may not only cause your insurance premiums to increase significantly, but you may also put your insurance coverage in jeopardy. Many insurance providers penalize customers who file one or more small claims by significantly increasing their premiums or canceling their policies altogether. Trying to get insurance coverage from other companies will not be easy, either. Insurance companies pay to research your claims history. If they see you have filed multiple small claims, your premiums may be three times more than what you were previously paying.
4. BUNDLE YOUR POLICIES
If you own a car or are in the market for life insurance, you may benefit by bundling your homeowner’s insurance with one or both of these additional insurance products. Insurance companies that offer policies covering multiple products usually offer discounts ranging from 5% to as much as 30% off your premium when you group policies together with their company.
Before making a final decision, make sure to do your research to ensure that the policies you are selecting provide the coverage that is best for you. Additionally, compare the bundled quotes you receive to the cost of purchasing the policies separately to make sure you will be paying less.
5. ASK ABOUT DISCOUNTS
It never hurts to ask the insurance company about additional discounts of which you may not be aware. They may have an incentive program that offers rewards for certain customers. Some insurance companies offer discounts for smoke detectors, deadbolt locks, and fire extinguishers. They may also offer senior discounts. Each company is different, so it is best to have a conversation with your insurance specialist about any additional discounts that may be right for you.
Insurance premiums are on the rise, but it only takes a little effort to improve your rate. The potential long-term savings will likely outweigh any upfront out-of-pocket expense you may incur for home updates and higher deductibles. Also, if you have other products or services you are insuring or need to insure, bundling may be a viable option in order to reduce your insurance premiums. Finally, there may be various other discounts available that may not be readily apparent to you, so it is worth having a discussion with your insurance specialist to see if there are any incentive programs that would be suitable for you in order to save more money.