New homebuyers often spend a lot of time thinking about the decor of their new place, while more seasoned homeowners spend their days looking at ways to add value to their home.
Every homeowner considers how best to protect their family and belongings, whether by adding a security system, putting on a new roof, or making repairs to damaged elements. Though a necessity, few people spend a lot of time thinking about their home insurance policy. No matter what else you do to your home, homeowners insurance is a must-have. It is the most important thing you can do to protect your family.
Find the Best Home Insurance
To really protect your home, you need an insurance policy that addresses your major liabilities or risks. If you are like most homeowners, you also need a policy that is easy on the wallet. It is possible to find a balance between these two demands. Here are seven ways to determine the most affordable policy for the protection you need.
1. Always Check Out the Competition
You may have seen an ad for a local insurance agent or gotten a referral from a friend or your real estate agent. While it can be more comfortable to work with someone you know or who has come with great references, don’t limit yourself to one insurance quote. You will find huge price differences between providers. There are online quote estimation tools that can help you figure out a ballpark range for your premium. There are several things that factor into a quote, which is why a recommendation from a friend or family member won’t always mean you get the same pricing.
2. Have Your Home Adequately Insured
There are several areas of coverage in a standard homeowners policy, and most of the time, these inclusions are enough for your situation. However, you may be working with an agent that tries to sell you on the value of over-insuring your home. Your base policy should be figured on the cost of rebuilding your home if a total loss occurred rather than rebuying it. Your policy doesn’t insure the land or damage to it, so you can’t take into account the value of your property. Market value is based on the land and its location, but insurance looks strictly at the dwelling and its contents.
Be sure you have a home inventory done to figure out the worth of your belongings. Unless you have a priceless art or wine collection stashed in your basement, you may want to consider an actual cash value policy over a replacement policy. This could save you money on your premium, but if you have to file a claim, this could leave you with less money than you thought. Take into account depreciation with your belongings when choosing the policy.
3. Consider Bundling Your Policies
For many insurance providers, homeowners insurance isn’t the only thing they offer. In fact, if you choose to use the same agency for your auto insurance or other policies, you can usually get a multi-policy or bundling discount. Always be sure to compare the rates over separate policies with other companies before you decide that bundling offers the best price.
4. Extend Your Deductible a Few Hundred Dollars
You have the option to make your monthly bill lower by choosing a higher deductible expense. This is the amount that you will pay toward a claim before the full benefits of the policy take over. While you may worry about this expense if you are filing a claim, raising your deductible from $250 an incident to around $1,000 a claim could save you close to 24% on the cost of your premium. If you decide that a higher deductible makes sense for your situation, be sure you have a savings account or plan for paying the greater amount when you file a claim.
5. Reduce Your Risks
Location has a lot to do with your risks, but you have some control over other factors that raise your premium rates. Swimming pools present drowning and injury risks, and as much as your kids love the trampoline, it also increases the potential for injury. Certain breeds of dogs also cause insurance plans to go up, as the risk of an attack or bite goes up with vicious breed dogs like pit bulls or rottweilers. If possible, avoid these rate-raising elements on your property.
6. Install Extra Safety Precautions
If you can lower your risk of incident, an insurance company looks more favorably on your property and generally presents a lower rate. You can prevent or reduce the risk of theft with a security system, deadbolt, or privacy fence. You can minimize fire damage with smoke detectors, a sprinkler system, or fire extinguishers. These are easy, DIY solutions that can save you money on your quote.
7. Protect Your Credit
Your credit score plays a part in your homeowners insurance quote. If you have good credit, you are more likely to get a lower rate than someone with poor credit. High credit score holders are less likely to file insurance claims, making them a better risk for providers.
Providers To Check Out
To get started looking for cheap homeowners insurance, consider the following companies. They are known for their affordable rates and good coverage options.
- Geico– known for having affordable mix-and-match options rather than prepackaged tiers
- Farmers– known for having the most affordable tiered packages
- Allstate-known for being the most affordable for first-time homebuyers
- Liberty Mutual- known for having the best discount options
Over time, don’t be afraid to revisit your homeowners policy and question the costs. Your insurance company could raise your limits or the prices as a response to inflation, so it doesn’t hurt to look at new providers. If you have made improvements to your home, it may also qualify you for a discount. Check out the competition at least once a year to see if you can do better.
Even if the cheapest policy seems outrageous, don’t sacrifice money for peace of mind and home protection. Look into several providers and settle on a policy that offers the most protection for the most comfortable cost.