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Home Shopping Tips

1.Shop Around

Friends, family, the phone book and Internet are some of the sources you can use. Don’t consider price alone. The insurer you select should offer both a fair price and excellent service. Quality service may cost a bit more, but you buy insurance in case you need to make a claim, so it’s important to get a company with a good reputation. Talk to a number of insurers to get a feeling for the type of service they give. Ask them what they would do to lower your costs.

2. Raise Your Deductible

Deductibles are the amount of money you have to pay toward a loss before your insurance company starts to pay. Deductibles on homeowners policies typically start at $250.

3. Buy Your Home And Auto Policies From The Same Insurer

Some companies that sell homeowners, auto and liability coverage will take 5 to 15 percent off your premium if you buy two or more policies from them.

4. When You Buy a Home

Consider how much insuring it will cost. A new home’s electrical, heating and plumbing systems and overall structure are likely to be in better shape than those of an older house. Insurers may offer you a significant discount if your house is new. Avoiding areas that are prone to floods can save you about $400 a year for flood insurance. The closer your house is to firefighters and their equipment, the lower your premium will be.

5. Insure Your House, Not The Land

The land under your house isn’t at risk from theft, windstorm, fire and the other perils covered in your homeowners policy. So don’t include its value in deciding how much homeowners insurance to buy. If you do, you’ll pay a higher premium than you should.

6. See if You Can Get Group Coverage

Alumni and business associations often work out an insurance package with an insurance company, which includes a discount for association members. Ask your association’s director if an insurer is offering a discount on homeowners insurance to you and your fellow graduates or colleagues.

7. Improve Your Home Security and Safety

You can usually get discounts of at least 5 percent for a smoke detector, burglar alarm, or dead-bolt locks. Some companies offer to cut your premium by as much as 15 or 20 percent if you install a sophisticated sprinkler system and a fire and burglar alarm that rings at the police station or other monitoring facility.

8. Stop Smoking

Smoking accounts for more than 23,000 residential fires a year. That’s why some insurers offer to reduce premiums if all the residents in a house don’t smoke.

9. Seek Out Discounts For Seniors

If you’re at least 55 years old and retired, you may qualify for a discount of up to 10 percent at some companies.

10. Stay With an Insurer

If you’ve kept your coverage with a company for several years, you may receive special consideration. Several insurers will reduce their premiums by 5 percent if you stay with them for 3 to 5 years; by 10 percent if you remain a policyholder for 6 years or more.

11. Compare The Limits in Your Policy to The Value of Your Possessions at Least Once a Year

You want your policy to cover any major purchases or addition to your home. But you don’t want to spend money for coverage you don’t need.