We are all looking for ways to save on the cost of homeowners insurance without sacrificing quality. In this blog, I would like to suggest a number of ways to reduce your homeowners’ insurance premium. In each case, you will be building a policy that fits your specific needs and avoids waste and duplication.
- Be Sure your Home Is Properly Insured for Replacement Cost, not Market Value – Don’t confuse the market value of your home, which includes the value of your land, with the replacement value. Your land is not covered for fire, windstorm, vandalism, etc. so you are wasting your money if you try to insure these things. You are looking for what it would cost to replace the home itself with a new home if you had to rebuild. A cost estimator can help determine this replacement value.
- Raise Your Deductible – The deductible is the amount of money you will pay out of pocket in the event of a loss. At our agency, we believe that it is cost effective to maintain a relatively high deductible. Through the years, you will save a considerable amount of money by maintaining a high deductible, even if the savings in one year is minimal. Remember, if you live in a disaster-prone area, your insurance policy may have a separate deductible for certain kinds of damage. If you live near the coast in the East, you may have a separate windstorm deductible.
- Make your Home more Disaster-Resistant – By making your home more resistant to loss, you can save significant premium dollars. Consider adding storm shutters or impact glass. Reinforce your roof. Consider renovating your plumbing, heating, and electrical systems to reduce the possibility of fire or water damage.
- Improve your Home Security – Burglar and fire alarms are not cheap, but can give you significant discounts on your homeowners insurance. Purchase systems that ring at the local police or fire station. If you were to have a house fire or if you were to be visited by a burglar, you will be very glad that you made investments in quality alarm systems.
- Maintain a Good Credit Score – Establishing an excellent credit history can cut the cost of your homeowners and automobile insurance. Insurance companies are relying more and more on credit scores to price their policies and decide whether or not to accept a new customer. Be sure to pay your bills on time, only purchase the credit you need, and keep your credit balance as low as possible to improve your credit score. It is wise to check your credit score regularly.
- Review your Coverages Every Year – During the year, you may decide to add or sell items of value—like jewelry or furs—and can then add or delete them from your scheduled items (extra insurance for items whose full value is not covered by standard homeowners’ policies such as expensive jewelry, high-end computers and valuable art work). This can save you money and fine tune youe homeowners policy.
- Don’t Forget About the Cost of Homeowners Insurance When Purchasing a Home – If you are buying an older home, you will save money if the electrical, plumbing, and heating systems are up to date and if the construction is up to code. If you buy in a flood-prone area, remember the extra cost of flood insurnace. Flood damage is NOT covered by a homeowners policy. If you are in area prone to wind damage, a concrete block home is preferred over a frame home. Check the CLUE (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) report of the home you are thinking of buying. These reports contain the insurance claim history of the property and can help you judge some of the problems the house may have.
John Gracey Backer, CPA
John Gracey Backer, CPA, is the Treasurer of Gracey-Backer, Inc., an Insurance Agency in Delray Beach, Florida specializing in All Lines of Malpractice, Professional and Personal Insurance for the Healthcare Provider. He can be contacted at 800-272-6055 ext 128, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.