Did you quit smoking last year? Move into a gated community? Do you live within five miles of the nearest fire station?
These factors — and many others — make you a safer bet for your homeowner's insurer, which means you can get a significant discount on your insurance premium. Something as simple as installing deadbolt locks and smoke detectors could nab you a discount of as much as five percent, experts note.
How to lower your homeowner's insurance costs
Let's start with the basics — have you combined your homeowners and auto policies? Most companies want as much of your business as they can get, so look for significant discounts when you bundle your coverage with one insurer.
Next, consider the fact that, the more you limit your insurance company's losses, the less the company needs to charge you. Insurance is all about betting on risk, so lower your risk of having a bad experience — by installing fire, smoke, burglar alarms, or any other home monitoring system — and you lower the risk of your insurance company writing a check.
What's on your roof? Using impact-resistant roofing products on your home can cut your bill, and many types of shingles and roofing systems qualify. This may not be a primary consideration when you buy a home, but if you're re-roofing your existing dwelling, check with your insurer. Adding impact-resistant roofing means you can earn a five to 10 percent discount on your homeowner's insurance premium.
Are you behind a gate? Gated communities limit access to potential thieves and other hazards. Your homeowner's insurance costs could be lowered because of this security measure.
Smoke a discount: Are you and your family non-smokers? Smoking is a big cause of structure fires, so if you've kicked the habit and kept everyone else in the family from walking a mile for a Camel (or a Lucky, Marlboro, or other brand), you could earn a credit of five percent or more. Smoking also affects your life insurance premiums.
Pay on time: Paying your bills on time is a huge factor in your credit score, and can play a big role in what you pay for insurance. While a few states outlaw tying credit scores to insurance premiums, most allow it, and insurers claim there is a significant correlation between people with low credit scores and those who file more claims. So take good care of your credit and lower your insurance bill.
Is your home new or renovated? A newer home or one that's been significantly upgraded in the last few years is considered less of a risk, since wiring, plumbing, and other factors all have been installed or brought up to the current local building code, so talk to your agent about a potential discount.
Are you retired? A number of insurance companies offer discounts for clients older than 50, 55, or 65, whether you're working or not. Nevertheless, once you are off the job, additional discounts may be available. Insurers know a retiree who's at home is less likely to be burglarized and has lots of time to maintain the property.
Other discounts: According to the insurance agents Swingle Collins Associates of Dallas, other available discounts include:
- Jewelry stored in safe deposit box
- Deadbolt locks
- Lightning protection
- Shatterproof windows
- Storm shutters
- Interior sprinklers
- Water detection sensor
- Water flow alarm
- Water-valve shut off
- Temperature monitor
- Gas leak detector
- Emergency gas line shut-off
- Fire station within five miles
- Fire hydrant within 1000 feet
Bonus tip — got gifts? While you're checking for discounts, make sure to note any big-ticket items that came into your household during the holidays. If you got some pricey jewelry, camera gear, or other expensive gift, it may not be covered by your homeowner's insurance policy. Check to make sure your new additions are within your coverage limits — if not, you may need to add a rider. Jewelry, antiques, and some other items may also need a written appraisal to qualify for coverage.
This article was provided by our partners at MoneyTips.