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Home Insurance Tips

home insurance tipsBuying a home is the most expensive investment most people will make in their lives. That investment needs to be securely protected from a catastrophic loss. Insuring your home properly is just as important as getting a low cost mortgage rate. Lets delve into some straightforward tips that will help you find affordable homeowners insurance.

1. Increase your deductible
A home insurance deductible is simply the total amount you need to pay prior to your insurance coverage kicking in and paying the balance. The greater your deductible is the lower your insurance rates and conversely the lower your deductible the higher your premiums. It’s smart to make sure your deductible is set at a price point you can afford and that fits in with your monthly budget. For example, just raising it up to $1,000 could save you 20% or more. It’s smart to check if your area is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, which may require additional deductibles.

2. Your credit score
Believe it or not a good credit score is a key factor in determining your home insurance rates. Maintaining a good credit score for years will help lower all of your insurance costs – including home coverage. It’s really important to get a detailed report of your credit and check for any errors that may be affecting your score. If you find any errors that are dragging your score down, write a certified letter to the credit reporting agencies and dispute the errors and ask them to be removed immediately. Remember, the higher your credit score, the lower your insurance premiums will be.

3. Don’t smoke
Not only is smoking bad for your health but also bad for your insurance bill. Insurers valuate risk when determining rates, and smokers have a much higher propensity of home fires than non-smokers. Just a simple cigarette that is not put out can potentially burn down a million dollar house and insurance companies pass these costs along. If you are a smoker and can’t quit the habit, there are a few home insurance companies that do not charge extra for smokers, but you of course can get a much lower rate if you quit first.

4. Bundle coverage
One of the easiest ways to get an immediate discount on home insurance is to combine your auto, home and even life policies together with one insurer. If you currently have home and automobile coverage with competing insurers, make them compete with one another. Call each insurer and ask what rates can be had by bundling your coverage. Make sure you tell them that you are shopping around for bundled rates and more than likely you will get a new lower offer. Insurance companies know that there is a low chance of you filing a multiple claim at the same time, so they can offer great bundled rates. Get at least five quotes before deciding on bundled coverage.

5. Don’t get bare bones coverage
The old saying is so true – you get what you paid for. While everyone wants cheap home insurance, an inadequate policy could actually end up being very expensive. For example, lets say you to decide not to get flood insurance and you live in an area that has a history of floods. You might save a little each year but if there is a flood and your home has extensive damage, that cheap policy could actually cost you a small fortune. Analyze your budget and get the best coverage you can afford and always compare multiple insurance quotes.

6. Save if you’re married
Just like car insurance, a married person is considered less of a risk and more responsible. Not only can you get better car insurance rates but also bundled insurance rates if you are a married person.

7. Home improvements
Making your home safer will also lower your home insurance costs. A new roof that is structurally superior to the old one or even strengthening your foundation to prevent earthquake damage are all a plus. In recent years, people have purchased fire retardant materials that really work and can also get you a great insurance rate. When making home improvements, always keep detailed records so you can show them to your insurer and get the savings you deserve.

8. Home security
The better you insulate your home from criminals, the more you can save on your homeowners insurance. Often just by installing a security system that notifies police and sounds an alarm can save you around 10% to 20% annually. Other important measures are adding deadbolts to all doors and safety locks to windows. Also, install several smoke detectors around your home and if you can afford it, security cameras. Many smoke detectors today that are monitored by an outside security company can alert the fire department and potentially save your house from disaster. Most insurance companies will give you discounts up to 15% with fire alarm detection and professional monitoring. Not only will you save your hard earned money with this tip but also have greater peace of mind.

9. Check for other discounts
Many home insurers have discounts for teachers, military personnel and AARP special rates. Call several homeowners insurance companies and ask what discounts they offer and see if you qualify. Many insurance companies don’t actively promote all of their discounts so you really need to call and don’t be afraid to ask for a discount.

10. Get multiple quotes
The easiest and fastest way to get cheap home insurance is to get quotes with as many insurers as possible. Today, with free online insurance quotes, there is absolutely no excuse from finding cheap rates. Homeowners insurance rates vary widely from company to company so you need to get several quotes to know that you are getting the best rate possible. Always be honest with your information when filling out a quote and always check with each insurer for any available discounts or special promotions that you might qualify for.