When it comes to managing home insurance payments, consumers have a variety of tactics they can use to try to save money while maintaining this crucial investment.
With nearly 10 percent of the workforce still unemployed and millions of other people concerned about their long-term job stability, saving money on insurance is as high a priority as ever for many homeowners.
Homeowners can consider some of the pointers offered by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. According to the organization, one place to get more information on various options is the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which allows people to check up on carriers that are active in their state, along with information about consumer complaints.
The group also points out that people can frequently save money by raising their deductibles. Their example is that by raising a deductible from the minimum recommended $500 to $1,000, customers can save as much as 25 percent. Home insurance customers may also find that deductibles can vary on a single policy, such as for hail or earthquakes.
Another common tactic for people to try to keep home insurance payments down is to get their policies from the same insurer they get their auto and life insurance from. This is because many companies are willing to provide discounts to such customers.
The home inspectors organization adds that individual companies also tend to offer discounts for a variety of other factors, such as whether a policyholder is retired. This will vary from company to company, with some places offering discounts for people who work in a certain field, such as teachers, or who are affiliated with a specific organization or educational institution.
While there are many different ways to save money on home insurance, the organization adds that people should carry enough coverage to pay for any rebuilding costs that will be needed in the event of a fire or some other disaster. At the same time, there is said to be no need to include the value of one’s land in their coverage, since this is typically not at risk from theft and weather.
Elsewhere, consumers can consult the government’s General Services Administration website at gsa.gov for more information on keeping their home insurance payments under control. The federal agency notes that people can often save money on their payments by investing in things that will make a customer less likely to have to file a claim.
A good place to start in this area is with home security. For example, the GSA notes that simply installing smoke alarms and burglar alarms can bring a premium down by 5 percent, while fire sprinkler systems and alarms that directly contact police, fire or monitoring companies can net a discount of as much as 20 percent from some companies.
It’s also beneficial to try to make a home as resistant as possible to natural disasters, especially if a policyholder happens to live in a region that is prone to hurricanes, wildfires and other such occurrences. Things like storm shutters and extra-strength roofing materials can result in discounts, and the GSA adds that people with older homes can have them retrofitted to be more earthquake-proof.
Finally, the GSA warns that people with poor credit records may find themselves subject to higher rates. Some states have moved to crack down on this controversial practice, but the industry has been relying more on a customer’s credit score to set premiums based on the idea that those with lower scores may be more likely to file claims.