How to Save on Homeowners Insurance
HARTFORD, Conn. (WFSB) – This month, Channel 3 Witness News is offering ideas on how to save and make money in these challenging economic times.
For many, one of the most expensive necessities is homeowners insurance.
But there are ways to lower your bill.
Homeowners insurance is a necessary evil, but just like grocery shopping, you can save big by comparing prices.
“I think the first and most important thing is to shop around,” says Peter Kochtenberg of the Connecticut Insurance Institute.
The experts we spoke with said the average consumer should shop at least once a year, or every other time
“It’s imperative to shop around because every company is different,” says Loretta Worters of the Insurance Information Institute.
Because while there are different companies, offering different prices, there are also different discounts and incentives.
Raise your deductible:
One of the easiest ways to lower your premiums is to increase your deductible, which is the amount you have to pay when you make a claim.
“The higher the deductible, the more you can save on premiums,” Waters said.
Just make sure you have enough savings to cover any out-of-pocket expenses.
“Can I afford it, say I have a thousand-dollar deductible if there is a loss. Can I afford it myself?” Kochenburger said.
Skip Small Claims:
Speaking of out-of-pocket costs, skip the small claims if you can.
According to a report published by insurancequotes.com, on average, filing a single claim, from bike theft to water damage, will result in a 9% increase in your monthly premium.
“There should be coverage for really large losses,” Waters said.
“If you’re not going to report small claims, it can have its advantages. You also want to make sure you’re confident that the claim doesn’t become more important,” Kochenburger said.
Need home and auto insurance? bundle it up. That alone can save you up to 15%, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Also, feel free to ask your agent about any and all discounts.
You can get discounts for your college alumni association, your military service, where you work or don’t.
“If you’re retired, one of the things insurance companies see is that there’s less risk of a fire. Because you’re at home, there’s less risk of burglary otherwise,” Worters said.
There are also lesser-known discounts, such as no smokers in the home, which reduce the risk of fire.
Make some additions/fixes:
Small add-ons like multiple smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, door latches, etc. usually don’t cost that much and can reduce your monthly payment so you can save more money in the long run.
Tell your broker if you’ve had roof repairs or moved into a home with storm shutters.
“If you make your home more disaster-resistant, that’s another way to save money,” Worters said.
Don’t be underestimated: replacement cost range
While we’re always talking about saving money, sometimes a few extra dollars can save you thousands.
“I think the current statistics show that two-thirds of homeowners are underinsured and their policies don’t have enough coverage to cover the actual replacement cost of their home,” said Carmen Balber of the consumer watchdog.
“Yes, you want to save money, but you want to protect your investment,” Worters said.
Ask your agent for the full replacement fee range. This coverage will take into account inflation and other added costs.
“Consumers need to really be aware of that,” Waters said. “Key add-ons, including automatic inflation protection, so-called extended replacement costs and building or code ordinance coverage are what you need to get.”
“Homeowners can’t keep up with the real costs of rebuilding, and that’s especially an issue now, with COVID and the supply chain, labor costs are going up,” Cochenberg said. He said you should ask to renew your insurance at least every 2 years.
“Your house might be worth $200,000, but it might cost $300,000 to rebuild, and labor costs will go up,” Kochenburger said.
This is a small but important difference.
“If you don’t have this type of insurance, you’re really going to be underinsured,” Waters said.
Insurance companies even have exact county-by-county reconstruction cost figures, so don’t hesitate to ask, Kochenburger said.
“They have this information, and it’s useful, it’s not a bad place to start,” Kochenburger said.
Keep up with building codes.
Homes are being built to more expensive standards due to changing weather patterns.
If you have a newer home, it’s not a big deal, but, “if you’re insuring an older home, make sure your estimate includes meeting the latest building standards,” Balber said.
Last but not least, renters insurance.
Some landlords need it, but if you don’t, our experts recommend it, it’s usually just a few dollars, but it protects your personal property.
Follow the same rules:
Increase your deductible.
Lower your coverage.
Look for discounts.
Copyright 2022 WFSB. all rights reserved.