Home insurance is one of the hidden costs to owning a property, but there are several ways to ensure you get the best value in order to reduce the expense. Remember that value does not necessarily mean lowest price, as you should be able to expect a high quality service in the case that you need assistance in filing a claim.
Take time to look for the best deal, as adequate research could save you a large amount of money over the long term. Check consumer guides, insurance agencies, and online quote services to gain a better idea of price ranges. Consider specific companies by asking friends for referrals, checking Internet comparison sites, and contacting your state insurance department.
You can receive information to help you choose an insurer from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. They can provide you with approximate rates and the frequency of consumer complaints, which you can use to gauge the quality of a company. You should ensure that any companies in which you are interested have financial stability by checking with rating companies such as A.M. Best or Standard & Poor's.
Ensure that you do not pay a higher premium than is necessary due to a miscalculation of the value of your home. The price you paid for your home is far more than what rebuilding would cost, and this is what is covered by your insurance. The land under your home is not at risk of the factors covered by your homeowner's policy.
Consider combining your home and auto policies to receive a discounted rate. Some companies reduce premiums when customers purchase two or more policies. Do not just assume that this will be the most cost effective option; always check to see if you would pay less taking coverage from two different companies.
If you already have a policy, consider raising your homeowner's insurance deductible to save money. (This is the amount you have to pay before the insurance company will begin to pay a claim.) The higher the deductible you have, the less expensive your premiums. Most insurance companies recommend having a deductible of no less than $500. If you can afford to do so, increase your deductible to $1,000 to save up to 25 percent on your policy.
The insurance policies available to you will differ depending on where you live in the country. If your home is more likely to experience a disaster, you may have separate deductibles for different types of damage such as windstorms, hail storms, and earthquakes. Making your home more disaster resistant — such as by reinforcing the roof, adding storm shutters, applying stronger roofing materials, or retrofitting an older property to withstand earthquakes — can help to reduce your premium.
Always consult with your insurance agent to find out how you reduce your premium. You may be able to reduce your premium by diminishing the risk of water or fire damage through more modern heating, plumbing, and electrical systems. In addition, most companies offer a 5 percent discount when you install a smoke detector, dead-bolt locks, home safe or burglar alarm, and a further 15 to 20 percent for a sprinkler system or burglar and fire alarms that call the police or fire department.