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Insurance Information Institute’s director for strategic communication Janet Ruiz advises homeowners to do research on the insurers and actively seek discounts to save money on homeowners’ insurance. Here are a ways you can research your potential insurer:
- Ask friends and relatives for recommendations, based on their own experiences.
- Contact your state’s insurance department and see whether the company has a record of complaints. You can find your state regulators on this list from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
- Check the financial health of potential insurers by checking a rating service such as AM Best. One good source is Consumer Reports’ homeowner insurance ratings, which evaluates insurance carriers on the basis of factors such courtesy, timeliness of payment, promptness, simplicity of the claims process, and the ease of reaching an agent.
- Talk to the company yourself and see if its representatives take the time to answer your questions and address our concerns.
Once you’ve figured out who will be insuring your home, try out some of these tactics to decrease the cost of your policy:
- Go with a higher deductible. If you’re willing pay more than the usual minimum of $500 or $1,000, you may be able to save a few dollars. (One thing to keep in mind when you’re doing this is that if you live in an area where you have a higher risk of certain disasters, a policy may already come with a separate deductible for damage from those particular events).
- Bundle your policy. Some companies will give you a better deal if you buy multiple policies — for example, an auto insurance policy or umbrella liability coverage.
- Look for discounts. You may be able to get a price break on the basis of your age, or if you’ve upgraded your plumbing or electrical systems, or if you’ve installed security measures such as a burglar alarm or fire alarm system, according to the institute. Jenny Fitzpatrick, product director for Allstate Insurance, notes via email that you also may be able to get a discount if you have a newer home or roof, or if you have a history of being claim-free.
- See if you qualify for group coverage. You may able to get a deal through your employer, or through a professional, business or alumni association.
- Stay with the same insurer. Some companies will give you a discount for being a longtime customer.