ATLANTA – Homeowner insurance provides a much-needed financial protection against loss due to disasters, thefts, and accidents.
But as inflation increases and pocketbooks get tighter, homeowners may be looking to save on this coverage and keep more cash in their bank accounts.
FOX 5 real estate expert John Adams says there are a number of ways you can save on that all-important insurance policy.
1. Make Your Home a Safer Place to Live: Smoke Detectors save lives, deadbolt locks help keep you safe, and a monitored security system can deter thieves. Each of these will probably earn you a substantial discount on your annual premium.
2. Raise Your Deductible: While it seems like a low deductible might save you money, the opposite is actually the case. A high deductible means you are sharing some of the risk of a claim with the insurance company, and they like that idea. Put your savings into a special account to pay you back if you ever do have a claim.
3. Skip Small Claims: When you make a claim for a relatively small loss, the insurance company will probably pay, but then they will raise your rates next year to help them cover that loss. In contrast, if you hardly ever make a claim, the insurance company loves you and will likely give you lower rates.
4. Bundle Home and Auto Insurance: When your insurance company can score both your home AND auto coverage, it’s like a home run for them. Claims on occupant residence owners tend to be very low, and the same goes for occupant owners who drive. Bundling them together can earn you another discount.
5. Shop and Compare Rates: Amazingly, a study by NerdWallet found that a typical homeowners insurance policy with the same coverage can vary by up to $1,200 annually depending on the company you choose. Do yourself a favor and shop and compare.
6. Improve Your Credit Score: The people at Fair, Isaac & Company have convinced the insurance industry that the better your credit score is, the fewer claims you will likely have. That makes no sense to Adams, but the insurance companies love it. That’s another reason to build your credit score.
7. Take a Video Inventory and Store It Offsite: This won’t save you money, but it will prove what you had in your house before it burned down or was destroyed. Stand in each room and slowly turn around, and include videos of everything you think might be considered valuable. Then back up the video on YouTube or Vimeo. If your computer burns up, the video will be lost with it.
8. Look for Additional Discounts: Switching to paperless billing might save you 5% annually. Maybe your company has a non-smoker discount or a discount for groups of which you are a member. Ask your agent to root out all discounts and make sure you get them all if possible.
9. Fill in the Backyard Swimming Pool and Get Rid of the Trampoline. These are just two examples of what insurance companies call “attractive nuisance” that costs insurers millions every year. Get rid of old dead automobiles and remove old appliances from your property.
10. Store Valuables Offsite: If you have a valuable set of gold coins or an irreplaceable painting, don’t keep them in the house. They deserve a higher level of protection, like a safe deposit box or a vault at your local bank.
The bottom line is, if you own real estate, you will need to have an insurance policy from now on, and if you add up the premiums, it can be quite expensive. Call your agent for a year-end review of your coverage, and ask about any and all discounts for which you might qualify. Then shop and compare.
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