1. SHOP AROUND
Homeowners insurance premiums can vary widely. Be sure to seek out quotes from a number of different companies. Consider not only price but also service, from both the agent and the company itself. Ask for reviews (these days if an agent doesn’t have a bunch of testimonials, that should be a red flag). You can often get a better rate when you combine your auto and home coverages. Finally, ask about any other discounts (e.g., home security).
2. RAISE YOUR DEDUCTIBLE
Raising your deductible – from $250 to $500 – could save you more than 10% on your policy. Increasing the deductible to $1,000 could save you over 20%. Be sure to ask your agent for the amount you could save on your homeowners policy.
3. STAY WITH AN INSURER
Many insurers offer a discount for staying with them for several years. For example some insurers will reduce their premiums by 5 percent if you stay with them for 3 to 5 years; by 10 percent if you remain a policyholder for 6 years or more.
4. LOOK INTO GROUP COVERAGE
What groups do you belong to? These may include: alumni, business associations, professional associations, etc. Members often receive a discount when working with these groups’ preferred vendors.
5. BECOME EDUCATED
Insurance can be quite confusing. Some agents will try to sell you the most expensive policy without explaining what precisely should be insured. It’s worth the time and effort to ask an agent to thoroughly explain the different coverages available. Also ask her/him what exactly needs to be insured. Depending on your home’s location (e.g., in or near a flood zone or by the coast) or the age of the home and its major systems (e.g., electrical, heating and plumbing systems) as well as its overall structure, your premiums may be quite different than a similar home in another part of town or much older (or newer). Choosing wisely could cut your premium by 5 to 15 percent.