You may be able to save hundreds of dollars a year on homeowners' insurance by shopping around. You can also save money with these tips:
- Consider a higher deductible. Increasing your deductible by just a few hundred dollars can make a big difference in your premium.
- Ask your insurance agent about discounts. You may be able to get a lower premium if your home has safety features such as dead-bolt locks, smoke detectors, an alarm system, storm shutters or fire retardant roofing material. Persons over 55 years of age or long-term customers may also be offered discounts.
- Insure your house NOT the land under it. After a disaster, the land is still there. If you don't subtract the value of the land when deciding how much homeowner's insurance to buy, you will pay more than you should.
- Don't wait till you have a loss to find out if you have the right type and amount of insurance.
- Make certain you purchase enough coverage to replace what is insured. "Replacement" coverage gives you the money to rebuild your home and replace its contents. An "Actual Cash Value" policy is cheaper but pays only what your property is worth at the time of loss your cost minus depreciation for age and wear.
- Ask about special coverage you might need. You may have to pay extra for computers, cameras, jewelry, art, antiques, musical instruments, stamp collections, etc.
- Remember that flood and earthquake damage are not covered by a standard homeowners policy. The cost of a separate earthquake policy will depend on the likelihood of earthquakes in your area. Homeowners who live in areas prone to flooding should take advantage of the National Flood Insurance Program.
- If you are a renter, do not assume your landlord carries insurance on your personal belongings. Purchase a separate policy for renters.