Insurance Tips

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The price you pay for homeowners insurance can vary by hundreds of dollars depending on which insurance company you choose. However, you can lower your insurance costs by asking your company about any applicable discounts and by also doing some careful shopping. The Western Insurance Information Service (WIIS) offers the following tips:

Raise your deductible. The deductible on your policy is the amount you agree to pay for an insured loss. A typical deductible for a homeowners policy is $250. Depending on your insurance company, if you increase your deductible to $500, you can save up to 12 percent; to $1,000, you can save up to 24 percent; to $2,500 you can save up to 30 percent; and to $5,000 you can save up to 37 percent. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium will be.

Buy your home and auto policies from the same insurance company. Some companies will offer discounts from 5 to 15 percent if you buy your homeowners and auto insurance policy from them.

If you buy a new home, take into account how much it will cost to insure it. Some insurance companies will offer discounts of 8 to 15 percent if your home is brand new. You can also save 5 to 15 percent if you consider the construction of your home. For example, a frame construction provides better resistance to earthquake damage which can reduce your premium. In addition, the closer your home is to a fire station or hydrant, the lower your premium.

Don't include the value of the land in your homeowners policy. The land isn't at risk from theft, fire or other insured perils stated in your policy.

Beef up your home security. Install a smoke detector, burglar alarm or dead-bolt locks. Some insurance companies offer discounts if you install a sophisticated sprinkler system and fire and burglar alarm that rings at the police station or other monitoring facility.

Don't smoke. Some insurance companies will offer discounts if all residents in your home don't smoke.

See if you are eligible for senior discounts. If you're at least 55 years old and retired, some insurance companies offer discounts.

Ask about group coverages. Some insurance companies offer competitive rates for employers, alumni and business associations.

Shop around. Compare prices with several insurance companies before buying your homeowners policy. Consult friends, consumer guides, your state insurance department and insurance agents and companies to get an idea of price ranges. Also consider the quality of service the insurance company will be able to provide as well as their financial rating.

Source: Western Insurance Information Services

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