Saturday, October 17, 2015

23 Ways to Save Money on Homeowners Insurance


There are more than 100 million homeowners in America. According to 2014 data calculated by Zillow, nearly 8 million homeowners are upside down on their home. These statistics prove that many Americans are homeowners and as such should ensure they have adequate coverage for their home and to help them save money on future expenses.

Homeowners insurance as known as hazard insurance or property insurance is insurance that a homeowner must purchase as required by mortgage lenders. It protects a home against damages and protects the possessions in the home. Homeowners insurance also provides liability coverage against accidents that occur in the home or on the property.

There are eight forms of homeowners insurance HO-1 through HO-8. Each form provides various levels of protection. HO-1 is the most basic form of coverage for damage to property, personal liability coverage, and medical payments to others coverage. HO-2 insures the property, structures in connection with the property, personal property on and away from the property, and loss of use. The policy also provides personal liability coverage and medical payments to others coverage. HO-3 includes HO-2 coverage plus coverage of the property, related structures, and personal property, unscheduled personal property; losses to the property and other structures are paid on a replacement cost basis, and losses to personal property are paid on an actual cash value basis. HO-4 also known as renters insurance provides coverage for a tenant for damage to unscheduled personal property, personal liability coverage and medical payments coverage.

HO-5 insures the property and other structures in connection with the property, unscheduled personal property on and away from the home, and loss of use. This policy also provides personal liability coverage and medical payments coverage. Coverage is provided on a risk basis. HO-6 covers the real property interest and the personal property of insureds who own a unit in a condominium or share an ownership interest in a coop building. It also provides personal liability coverage and medical payments coverage. It is similar to the HO-3 but provides less coverage because it is designed to coordinate coverage with a master policy covering the structure and common areas that the condominium or coop purchases. HO-7 insures mobile or manufactured homes.

HO-8 includes HO-2 and HO-3 insurance policy written for an older home that would cost more to repair than its market value. It provides full replacement cost coverage for the property and contents and adds additional coverage such as backup of water from sewers and sump pumps, increases the liability limits for things such as bank notes, securities, trailers, loss of jewelry, furs and silverware with no depreciation other than wear, tear and deterioration. It provides additional coverages for trees, shrubs, food spoilage and lock replacement.

You have two options to pay for homeowner’s insurance: 1) include it in your monthly mortgage payment, or 2) pay it on your own either monthly, quarterly or annually. When shopping for homeowner’s insurance you should have the following data to get the most accurate quote.

  1. When was the home built?
  2. Where is the home located?
  3. What type of home do you have?
  4. How many stories do you have?
  5. What type of roof and how old is the roof?
  6. How many claims have been filed over the past 5 years?
  7. How old is the plumbing and electrical system?
  8. What is the square footage?
  9. Do you have protective devices installed?
  10. Have you had any new renovations or improvements?
  11. Do you have any valuables stored in your home or garage that need to be insured?
  12. Do you own a home business?
  13. Do you have any business equipment or assets stored in your home that need to be insured?
  14. Has there been any recent damage to your home?
  15. Do you live in a flood zone or earthquake prone or high-risk area and will you require this type of insurance?

Here are 23 ways to save money on your homeowner’s insurance:
  1. Comparison shop. Get at least 3 quotes with different companies to compare prices or use sites like,
  2. Security. Install security devices such as smoke alarms which can save 10% to 20% if connected to a fire or police station and security alarms.
  3. Age of home. Homes that are less than 15 years old may get lower premiums.
  4. Health. If all occupants in the home are non-smokers or if you stopped smoking after you got your initial policy you can get a lower premium.
  5. Multiple-policy. Insure both your auto and home with the same company for a multiple-policy discount and save up to 20%.
  6. Renew. Renew your policy with the same company to save money.
  7. Dependable. Verify the company is reputable by checking the company’s state license  or looking up the company on the Better Business Bureau website.
  8. Discounts. Ask about discounts and specials for AARP, AAA, military and other memberships.
  9. Construction. Ask about discounts for newer construction, masonry, a sprinkler system, detached garage, if you are 55 or older, retired or if you live in a one-story or single level home.
  10. Deductible. Increase your deductible and save 10-37% on your policy.
  11. Loyalty discounts. Reduce your premiums by 5% if you keep your coverage with the same company for 3-5 years or up to 10% if you keep your coverage for 6 years or more.
  12. Insurance. Insure your home not the land; only ensure the cost to rebuild your home. Use a calculator to help you determine the cost to rebuild Ask about replacement value coverage to replace the cost to rebuild your home and the contents of your home.
  13. Review. Review coverage yearly and make any necessary updates including your inventory list.
  14. Environment. Look for changes in the neighborhood such as installation of a fire hydrant within 100 feet of the home, erection of a fire station, police station or hospital which may reduce rates.
  15. Credit. Maintain good credit to ensure you get the lowest rates possible.
  16. Improvements. Notify the company if you installed a new roof especially higher with grade materials, energy efficient/green products, deadbolt locks, new fire extinguishers, wind-resistant/hurricane or storm shutters, storm doors or windows, washing machine hose replacement can save up to 10% or temperature sensors or leak detectors for furnace and plumbing and use pictures and receipts as proof.
  17. Prepay. Some companies give a 5-10% discount for paying your annual bill up front instead of in paying in monthly installments. Some companies charge a fee when paying in installments.
  18. Fire-resistant. Buy fire-resistant materials such as siding, metal, fiber cement shingles and clapboards, and masonry, which can save up 20% especially in fire prone or wild fire areas.
  19. Pay sooner. Some companies offer incentives for paying the invoice within 10 days of receipt instead of paying within 30 days of receipt.
  20. Reduce risk. If you own a swimming pool especially with a diving board, hot tub or a trampoline or have huge cracks or damage to your property removing these items or getting repairs fixed or if you own a dog breed that is not prone to violence it may reduce your premiums.
  21. Pay off mortgage. If you pay off your mortgage, notify the company to get a reduction in premiums. Those who own their home outright are more likely to take better care of it.
  22. Consider private insurance. If you currently have a government insurance plan such as the Fair Access to Insurance Requirements consider purchasing private insurance.
  23. Location.  Consider moving if you live in high-risk areas prone to flooding, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes or crime. Coverage costs more if you live in these types of areas.

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