Reducing Your Homeowner Insurance Costs

Insurance companies determine risk for homeowners insurance by weighing factors such as the type of home (some newer homes have safer materials) and the area in which a home is located, to name a few. Read the following information to learn more about factors that affect your homeowners insurance costs.

Money Saving Discounts

Insurance companies often offer a number of special credits to help cut the cost of insurance when their customers have done something to reduce risks. In some cases, these credits are a way to reward valued customers for their loyalty and continued business. These credits are described in general terms. You might want to check with an independent agent or Travelers representative to find out the specific details of credits offered by your insurer. Your agent will also be able to tell you which credits are available in your state, too, because these credits aren’t available everywhere.

Homeowners association credit: Homes located in eligible homeowners associations may qualify for credit. This is because homeowners in an association are likely to have a stronger sense of community and tend to watch out for one another. That means you’ve lowered your risk.

Mature insured credit: If you and/or your spouse is retired, you could recieve a credit on your policy. That’s because retired people are likely to be home more often and may be able to prevent trouble — like smelling an unusual odor from the furnace and shutting it off before it backfires soot into the home.

Multi-policy credit: You can save money if you have more than one type of policy with the same insurance company (for example, an auto and homeowners policy). The more good business you give the company, the more valuable you are as a customer.

Newer home credit: The age of your home may qualify you for savings because plumbing, heating, and electrical systems of newer homes have lower risks than outdated systems.

Nonsmoker’s credit: Studies show that homes inhabited by nonsmokers have a lower chance of having a fire. Your reduced risk may mean a reduced premium.

Protective device credit: If your home has certain types of fire alarms, burglar alarms, locks, or smoke detectors, you’ve reduced your risk and may qualify for this credit.

Renewal or long-term customer credits: You could get credit when you renew your policy, beginning with the first renewal or after you’ve been a policyholder for a designated number of years. (It’s the good customer thing again!)

DEDUCTIBLES

Ordinarily, the deductible amount (what you pay out of your own pocket before your insurance policy kicks in) on a homeowners policy is $500. By choosing a higher deductible of $750, $1000 or higher), you’ll have lower annual premium payments. Have you insured your land? Sometimes the value of your land is incorrectly included as part of your dwelling coverage (also called Coverage A).

Since homeowners policies don’t provide protection for your land, it would be a waste of money to include its value as part of your Coverage A amount. Your Coverage A amount should only reflect the price it would cost to repair or replace your home’s structure. If you aren’t sure whether your land is also included, contact your agent to review your policy.

RENOVATIONS? BUILDING? BUYING A NEW HOME?

Certain building materials may cost less to insure or may qualify you for discounts. And choosing brick construction over a wooden frame structure — or vice versa — can make a difference if you live in areas where earthquakes or hurricanes frequently occur. Additionally, upgrading your electrical, plumbing, and heating systems could mean savings. Talk to a builder and your insurance agent.

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

If you live near your local fire department in a safe, quiet, easily accessible neighborhood, your homeowners rates might be lower than if your home is located “off the beaten path.” Your home may cost more to insure if you are many miles from the nearest fire department.

RE-EVALUATE YOUR VALUABLES

If you bought additional insurance coverage for your valuable items, keep an eye on their value and adjust your coverage amount appropriately. Otherwise, some items that have decreased in value may be over insured.

FRAUD

Did you know that fraud costs you about ten cents for every dollar you spend on insurance? Think about this: If you own a home and two cars and pay $1800 for insurance each year, you’ll have spent $900 on fraud in just five years. So, ask your state legislators to make the fight against insurance fraud one of their priorities. Report insurance fraud to your insurance agent, Tri-Town representative, or local police when you see or suspect it. Speak out against insurance fraud to your friends, family, and business associates. After all, it’s not just the big insurance companies that pay. All those costs eventually filter down to you.