Save Money on Your Homeowners Insurance

Insurance is a highly competitive business and the price paid by the consumer for homeowners insurance may vary by hundreds of dollars, depending on the insurance company with which the consumer intends to do business.

What should a prospective homeowners policy holder consider when assessing which policy to obtain? Here are several ideas for potentially lowering costs.

1. Shop Around
Prices vary so it pays to shop around. Ask friends, check the Yellow Pages, refer to consumer guides, insurance agents, the consumer phone line of the state’s insurance commissioner’s office and the companies for price information.

2. Raise the deductible
Deductibles are the amount of money the homeowner pays toward a loss before the insurance company starts to pay according to the terms of the policy. Deductibles on homeowners policies typically start at $250. By increasing the deductible to $500, $1,000, $2,500, or $5,000, discounts may be obtained, depending on the insurance company.

3. Buy home and auto policies from the same insurer
Some companies that sell homeowners and auto coverage may reduce their premium if two or more policies are purchased from them. When buying a home, consider how much insuring it will cost. A new home’s electrical, heating and plumbing systems and overall structure are likely to be in better shape than those of an older house. Insurers may offer a discount if the house is new. Choice of construction materials and design could reduce the premium. Brick, because of its resistance to wind damage, is better in Georgia. Proximity to fire station, firefighters and fire hydrants also affects premiums.

4. Insure the house, not the land
The land under the house isn’t at risk from theft, windstorm, fire and other perils covered in a homeowners policy. Therefore, the value of the land should not be included in deciding how much homeowners insurance to buy.

5. Beef up home security
Some insurance companies offer discounts for smoke detectors, burglar and fire alarm systems, or dead-bolt locks. Others offer discounts for homes equipped with a sprinkler system and fire detection and burglar alarms that ring at the police station or at a monitoring facility. Before buying such a system, consumers should check with their insurers to validate that such as system will be eligible for a discount and how much the device or system would cost. Most importantly, the consumer should know how much may be saved on premiums.

6. Stop smoking
Smoking accounts for more than 23,000 residential fires in a year nationwide. That’s why some insurers offer to reduce premiums if all the residents in a house do not smoke.

7. Seek out discounts for seniors
Retired people stay at home more and spot fires sooner than working people. Retirees also have more time to maintain their homes. If a homeowner is at least 55 years old and retired, he or she may qualify for a discount at some companies.

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