Need to Know

  • Ways to Safely Lower Your Home Insurance Premium
  1. Consolidate to save more.

    Some companies that sell multiple types of insurance, such as homeowners, auto and liability, will knock a percentage off your premium if you buy two or more policies from them. It can save you anywhere from 5 to 15 percent. Just make sure the combined price with a discount is actually lower than buying separate policies from different companies.

  2. Make Your Home Fire Proof

    - Making your home more windstorm-resistant, such as adding storm shutters. - Updating your plumbing and electrical systems to reduce the risk of water and fire damage. - Increasing your home security with smoke detectors, burglar alarms or dead-bolt locks.

  3. Clean up your credit report.

    Like it or not, when it comes to insurance, your credit report is up for grabs. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), states that insurance companies have a ”permissible purpose” to look at your credit information without your permission. And since insurers have found that credit history is a reliable predictor of how risky someone is to insure, they use that information to determine whether or not to offer you a policy, as well as how much to charge for your premium.
    So besides all the other important reasons to monitor your credit report, doing so can also yield you a lower premium on your home insurance, or at least prevent your premium from going up. And be sure to order copies of your credit reports once per year, since you can be sure insurers are checking it before you renew

  4. Reconsider your deductible

  5. A deductible is the amount of money you have to pay before your insurance policy kicks in and pays the claim. And the lower your deductible, the higher your insurance premium. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), today most insurance companies recommend a deductible of $500 or more. But if you can afford to raise your deductible to $1,000, you could save as much as 25 percent. And, advises the III, don’t forget that you might have more than one kind of deductible. For instance, if you live in a disaster-prone area, like one prone to windstorms, hail or earthquakes, your insurance policy may have a separate deductible those specific types of damage.

  6. Make sure you aren’t over-insured

    Being under-insured can be a big problem when disaster strikes. But being over-insured means you’re wasting your hard-earned money. So the ideal situation is to have just the right amount of coverage. So how do you do that?

    Review your policy when it’s up for renewal each year. Specifically, make sure to review any floaters, which are extra insurance for items not fully covered in a standard homeowner’s policy. Examples include things like expensive electronics or equipment, valuable jewelry and artwork. If you no longer own the item or if its value has lowered, cancel or reduce the floater.
  • Common Mistakes in Purchasing Homeowner’s Insurance
    You can better protect your home and family by avoiding these mistakes when choosing home insurance.
  1. Only Focusing on Price

    Price is one of the variables consumers seem to focus on when considering which company best fits their needs. Although some consider homeowner’s insurance to be a major annual cost, in most cases it can run about the same price as a monthly cable or phone bill and it is much more important. Make sure your “cheap” policy isn’t less expensive because important coverage has been removed or because the company has inadequate reinsurance. Who is living in your home directly determines the type of policy you should have. If the occupancy type changes at any time the policy needs to be updated as well. There is a different policy type for people who own and live in their home, own a home which they are renting out, or even people who own a home which nobody lives in. In some instances, your claim won’t be covered if you have the wrong policy type for your occupancy. This is because each of these situations carries its own unique risks and are priced for those risks.

  2. Purchasing a Policy for the Wrong Occupancy

    Who is living in your home directly determines the type of policy you should have. If the occupancy type changes at any time the policy needs to be updated as well. There is a different policy type for people who own and live in their home, own a home which they are renting out, or even people who own a home which nobody lives in. In some instances, your claim won’t be covered if you have the wrong policy type for your occupancy. This is because each of these situations carries its own unique risks and are priced for those risks.

  3. Not Understanding Exclusions to Your Policy

    Insurance companies have long done away with “All Risk” policies, and customers in high-exposure states found them to be cost-prohibitive anyway. Your homeowner’s policy is meant to protect you in the event of a major – or even semi-major disaster, but does not respond as a warranty plan. Take the time to understand, from a comprehensive level, what is and is not covered.

  4. Thinking Flood Insurance is Included

    Many people are not aware that a homeowner’s insurance policy does not include flood coverage. Flood insurance covers your property and/or contents against storm surges and flooding during torrential rains, hurricanes and tropical storms. Flood insurance can be bought through the National Flood Insurance Program. Your insurance agent can help you learn more about whether it makes sense for you. There is a 30-day waiting period required before a flood policy will go into effect, so it is important not to buy this coverage at the last minute.

  5. Only Insuring Your Home for the Amount You Owe Your Mortgage Company

    Your mortgage company is only concerned with protecting their asset. Let’s say you own a home that is worth $300,000, but you only owe $50,000 to the mortgage company. Your mortgage company will only require you to purchase $50,000 in insurance coverage. Obviously, $50,000 in insurance is a lot less expensive than $300,000, but what if you have a total loss? You will only receive a check for $50,000 and it goes straight to the bank – nothing for you!

  6. Choosing “Actual Cash Value” over “Replacement Cost”

    When you experience a loss, Actual Cash Value will only provide you reimbursement for the “book value” of the item. In many cases an old couch, table, or computer is worth next to nothing so you would receive next to nothing. If you select “Replacement Cost” you will be given a brand new replacement of that item without any deduction for depreciation.

  7. Reducing Coverage to Lower Premium

    People often make the mistake of reducing the amount of coverage in an attempt to bring down their premium. A better approach would be to carry strong coverage and simply raise your deductible. You still have a lower premium and you get to keep your robust coverage. For example, in the event of a large loss, you will only be “out-of-pocket” a deductible of, say, $1000 or $2500 – instead of being out $175,000 to replace all the contents of your home.

  8. Thinking Your Policy Will Cover Someone Else’s Personal Property

    If you are renting out your home and those occupying it experience a loss to their personal property your “landlord” policy will not cover this loss. Your tenants need to have her/his own renters policy to cover their personal property and liability.

  9. Shopping Around For a New Policy When Premiums Go Up

    People are often encouraged to “shop your homeowner’s policy if the premium goes up.” All Insurance companies add a small inflation guard to keep your coverage up to date with inflation of building products. If you feel your premium went up more than slightly, ask your agent for a coverage review. Sometimes the coverage to replace your home needs to be adjusted, or you may find coverage you can replace with one you needed more – offsetting the price. If your insurance company raised its rates, you can be certain that other carriers will be raising them too; it’s just a matter of time. A carrier will always take into consideration how much history you have with them if you need extra time to make a payment, or if you have other special circumstances.

  10. Buying a Policy Directly Without an Agent

    First, insurance is a complicated, important contract and should be fine-tuned to an individual customer’s needs – not just a “one size fits all” approach. Agents are required by their state to be licensed and continually educated on all aspects of insurance. They can communicate the important details to you, so you can make an informed decision. Second, agents can compare differences in price and coverage across many companies. Third, when you act on your own, without an agent, you are also on your own if you make mistakes in your coverage. Last, most agents sell many types of insurance policies so you can easily purchase home, auto, life and much more in one stop.