9 Tips to Help You Save on Homeowners Insurance

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One of the best ways to save money is by trimming an ongoing, monthly expense. After all, even chopping $5 from a recurring monthly bill will result in saving $60 over the span of a year. Recurring savings really add up.

Homeowner’s insurance is pricey, and you can save hundreds each year if you shop around, compare prices, and aggressively pursue the best quote (while not compromising coverage or value). Here are nine tips to help you save on the cost of homeowners insurance.

1.     Do Some Research. Research as many insurers as possible. Check their prices and service reviews. Once you have a few choices then it’s time to get price quotes to see who can save you the most. Don’t forget that some insurers charge different rates, depending on whether you pay monthly or yearly (in one giant lump-sum). If you can prepay your insurance upfront, you might get a discount.

2.     Use the Same Insurer. Check with your insurance company to see if they give a discount for buying more than one policy from them. You might be able to save if you buy your home and auto insurance from the same place.

3.     Upgrade Home Security. Most insurers offer discounts on homeowner’s insurance if you have certain home security features. Check with them first and if they do, see what they recommend. Upgrades could include alarm systems, sprinkler systems, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

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4.     Ask First. You simple way to save more on your homeowner’s insurance is to ask the insurer what discounts they offer. You might be able to claim a discount due to your marital status, age, or nonsmoker status. If you’ve recently upgraded your roof, tell your insurance agent — some insurers actually offer discounts or lower rates to homeowners with newer roofs, because there’s a lower likelihood that they’ll try to make a claim.

5.     Create an Inventory. Insurance doesn’t serve a purpose if you don’t know what items are in your home. Start an inventory today of your possessions, so you aren’t left guessing what you had. Without an inventory, precious money is wasted when you lose items. Take photographs of your most important possessions, and save your receipts whenever possible. It’s also wise to walk through your house with a videocamera (you can use the one that’s on your phone), capturing video images of everything inside.

6.     Raise the Deductible. Save more by raising your deductible. Many homeowners have $1,000 deductibles, but you could raise yours to $2,500 or even all the way to $5,000. Doing so will automatically lower your monthly premium. That money saved can then be placed in your emergency funds or savings account.

7.     Establish Good Credit. For some insurers, a good credit report can translate to lower insurance costs for customers. Keep your credit score up by paying your bills before they are due, keeping low credit balances, and only having the amount of credit you need.

8.     Prepare for Disaster.  Some insurers not only provide a discount for security upgrades but also disaster-proofing upgrades. Ask your insurer today. Storm shutters and certain roofing materials (like metal roofing, instead of asphalt single) may help you get a discount.

9.    Stay Together. Sticking with the same insurer for a long period can lead to money savings. Some insurers offer a premium discount to long-term policyholders. Call your agent, remind him that you’ve been with the same company for a long time, and note that you’ve made all your payments on-time. Ask for a loyal-customer discount.

Kennedi writes money advice for women.

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