Home Insurance Discounts

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Protecting your home from burglary, vandalism, fire, weather, water and other damage is important to your finances as well as your family. Without the coverage of home, tenant or condo insurance, your possessions and finances are at stake. How do you get a great insurance policy without spending a fortune?

Here are some steps you can take to keep your home insurance premium as low as possible:

Add home security features. The more secure you make your home, the lower your home insurance premium could be. Ask your licensed insurance professional which burglar alarm systems will get you a discount and whether they also take smoke detectors, deadbolts, fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems into account when they calculate your rate.

Disaster-proof your home. A strong roof, storm windows, reinforced doors and other weather-resistant features can make your home premiums more affordable. In older houses, upgrading electrical, plumbing and heating systems can qualify you for a discount, too. Ask your licensed insurance professional for details.

Don’t smoke. Smoking is one of the most common causes of home fires. The damage fires cause is very expensive to insurance companies. That’s why many homeowner’s policies include a nonsmoker’s discount. Wood-burning stoves are considered fire-related liabilities as well. Many insurance companies will raise your premium if you use a fire-burning stove due to the risk of not only fire but also carbon monoxide poisoning.

Bundle your car and home insurance. Most insurance companies offer a discount to one or both of your policies when you keep them both with the same carrier.

Consider a higher deductible. How much are you willing to pay in the event you need to file a claim? The larger the amount you are willing to assume before your insurance kicks in, the lower your insurance premium will be.

Do your best to remain claim-free. Policyholders who have not filed a claim in 10 years or who have remained a loyal customer for a specified number of years often earn a discount upon renewal.

Buy wisely. If you are shopping for a new home, look for features that will ease your premium. For example, if the community you’re considering has a professional fire department (rather than volunteer), your insurance might cost less. Proximity to a fire hydrant helps, too. Heating, electrical and plumbing systems that are fewer than 10 years old score you points toward lower premiums as well.

Ask about other discounts. Some insurers offer retired individuals or couples over 55 a discount because people at this stage in life tend to be at home more often and have more time to do home maintenance. Ask your insurance representative for the entire list of available discounts.

Review your policy annually. Reassess your coverage limits and the value of your possessions each year, because depreciation can make a difference. If the value of your possessions has decreased significantly, you might want to consider lowering your coverage limits. Make this a thoughtful review, however. Don’t cut corners that could leave you vulnerable in the event theft or damage does occur.