22 Tips for Cheap Home Insurance and Cheap Homeowners Insurance Quotes
Getting the cheap homeowners insurance is not as difficult as you might think. With a little forethought and planning you can get a great deal. Here are some simple tips you can use to help you get the most coverage at the lowest price from any company you choose. If you're renting, see our guide to getting cheap renters insurance.
- Compare Insurance Quotes from Multiple Companies
Shopping around for the best policy and the cheapest rates can save you a great deal of money on your homeowners insurance. Keep in mind that the policy details change from one company to another, and beware low premiums that are the result of reduced coverage. You should consider reviewing homeowners insurance rates at least once each year, but every 6 months is better and also after any major life event such as getting married or after making any major home renovation. After getting some rates from different insurers, take a look at their financial ratings and read insurance reviews to get a better overall view of how the company will be when you need them most.
- Review Your Policy
As mentioned above, you should review your policy at least once a year. Over the course of a year, many changes can take place. You may have switched jobs, the value of your home may have changed, the value of your possessions may have changed or you may have purchased more valuables. Reviewing your policy to ensure you've selected the right amount of coverage can help you find ways to save money.
- Ensure You Have the Right Amount of Coverage
The amount you paid for your home is not the same as what it would cost to rebuild your home in the event of a catastrophe. Also, the land that your home sits on doesn't have any risk of being burned down or stolen. When deciding on the amount of coverage you need, be sure that you're only including the actual value of your home.
Ensure You Have the Right Policy
Not all home insurance policies provide the same coverage, especially if they are through different companies. Carefully read through the policy coverage, terms and exclusions. It's possible that there is coverage you don't need which can save you money up front or coverage not included that you should add which can save you money if you ever need to make a claim.
- Increase Your Deductibles
The deductible is the amount of money you have to pay out of pocket before the insurance policy goes into effect. The higher your deductibles, the cheaper your insurance rates will be, and vice versa. Be careful not to make your deductible so high that you cannot afford to pay them, but keep them as high as your household budget will allow. Raising your deductible to $1,000 could save you as much as 25%. You should also double check your policy to see if you have multiple deductibles. Some areas that are more prone to disasters may have another deductible for a specific disaster.
Limit Your Claims
Insurance provides coverage for when you need it, but often times, submitting a claim increases your risk in the eyes of your insurance company and they will raise your premiums. Submitting multiple claims can even result in your policy being cancelled. When deciding whether or not to submit a claim, consider the long term costs alongside the immediate costs and benefits.
- Make Your Home Disaster Ready
Depending on the state you live in, you will be more prone to experiencing certain natural disasters more than others. Earthquakes, hurricanes or even thunderstorms can cause severe damage to your home that could end up having you file a large insurance claim. Whether you risk damage from winter storms, wildfires or one of many other disasters, adding storm shutters, reinforcing your roof or other items specific to your location, you can save on your insurance costs.
- Maintain a Good Credit Score
Your credit score is going to be an important factor in determining your home insurance rates. Establishing and maintaining a good credit history can help cut your insurance costs. Before you apply for coverage, check your credit score and make sure that it is up to date and free of errors since more insurers have begun to use your credit score to calculate your homeowners insurance quotes. If you currently have a poor or bad credit score, look at ways to increase your credit score and then reapply for coverage or speak with your agent to see if you qualify for a discount.
- Increase Your Home's Security
The more protected your home is from burglars, fires and other related claim events can save you between 5-20%. Installing deadbolts and a home security system greatly reduces the risk of vandalism and theft. Insurance companies will offer you even lower rates if your home is protected by a system that includes off-site monitoring. Installing smoke detectors or a sophisticated system including sprinklers and automatic fire/policy department notification can help reduce rates by as much as 15-20%. Not only will your home be safe for you and your family, you'll also see more money in your pocket.
Fun Addons Can Add Up
Features that add more fun to your life such as a pool, hot tub, trampoline or even a deck can each increase your costs. Some add to your home's value, but others are considered a potential safety hazard. When considering adding a feature to your existing home or shopping for a new home, be aware of these various home features and their impact on your rates.
- Quit Smoking
Smoking is dangerous to more than your health. For home insurance, smoking greatly increases the chances of a house fire, and that means your rates will be higher if you smoke. While not all insurance companies take your smoker status into consideration, you can get better rates from the ones that do if you quit.
- Multi-Policy Discounts
The odds of more than one insurance policy having a claim filed at the same time is very low, so the more policies you have with the same company, the less risk you actually pose. If you can find a suitable policy with the same company that insures your car or provides you with life insurance, you can save money by receiving across the board discounts. Ask your agent if they offer other policies that can be bundled together at a lower cost than your currently paying.
Insure Unique or Valuable Items Separately
If you own expensive jewelry, such as an egagement ring, fine art or collectibles, you may need to add a rider to your current policy for them to be covered. You may also want to request quotes from a specialty insurer to see if they can either offer better rates or better coverage for these valuables.
- Look for Other Discounts
Different insurance companies offer different types of discounts that can help you get cheap home insurance. Some may offer discounts for being a member of AAA while others give discounts to seniors who are AARP members. You may also get discounts for being part of a specific occupational organization, through your homeowners association or for other reasons. Speak with your insurance agent to see what discounts they offer to see if you can qualify for them.
- Be a Loyal Customer
While switching companies can offer you better rates, some insurance companies reward customer loyalty by providing higher discounts the longer you are insured with them. Some offer 5% while others may offer up to 10-15% for customers who stick around for 3-5 years with the same company.
Pay Your Bill Early and Use Auto Pay
Many insurance companies charge less if you pay the entire billing cycle in full rather than making monthly payments. You can save 5-10% by paying early. Also, setting up automatic payments will ensure your policy does not lapse or that you'll be charged any late fees.
Be Aware of a Pet's Impact
Dog owners are usually affected the most when it comes to increased costs, but other dangerous animals or furry pets that can increase repair and home maintenance costs can impact your policy.
- Ditch the Government Sponsored Plan
Getting insurance if you are classified as a high risk may limit your options to only a policy sponsored by the government. If you're currently on one of these types of plans, you should look into getting cheaper home insurance from a private insurer that may also offer better protection.
- Consider Homeowners Insurance When Buying a New Home
Many people don't think about the cost of insuring a home when evaluating a purchase. There are a number of home specific factors that can affect your rates that should be taken into account. If you're in a flood prone area, you may find it difficult to get coverage or may need to buy a separate flood insurance policy. Homes that are old probably also have old wiring and other features that will increase premiums. If you want to get more information about the claim history of a certain property, research its CLUE report which can help you examine the type of issues you may expect with the home.
Reduce Your Flood Risk
If your house is located in an area with a high risk of flooding, you can still take steps to lower your costs such as elevating your utilities above ground, installing flood vents to minimize damage during a flood or even elevate your entire house if the risk is great enough.
Remove Old Structures from Your Property
Old structures can be unsightly but also can be at risk of collapsing. Even if you own vacant land, but there is an old, unused barn or shed on it, your liability, and premiums, will be higher.
Your Land Doesn't Need Protection
Often, the value of your land is included when calculating your rates. The actual home and its contents are usually more important to protect instead of the actual land they are on. Removing the value of your land can help reduce your home coverage cost, but you should discuss this with your insurance agent in order to fully understand the risks.