Guest post by Simon Colburn
Your home is your greatest investment. And so, naturally, making sure you have that investment insured is of the utmost importance. No homeowner wants to feel left out in the dark or unprepared for what life may throw at them. Our homes are where memories are made and our greatest personal treasures stored. Insurance gives us that peace of mind knowing that everything we hold dear is protected and secure. Yet, if you have found yourself asking whether you need all of the insurance you have for your home, you are not alone. We all want more money in our pockets, so here are 10 ways to reduce your home’s insurance costs.
1. Make your home more resistant to disaster
Updates to your home’s utility systems and exterior are one way to lower your insurance costs. Adding storm shutters and stronger roofing materials provides greater protection from damaging weather, while updating existing heat and air units, electrical wiring, and plumbing will lower your home’s insurance premiums by increasing its ability to withstand any potential disasters you may encounter. These updates often have the added benefit of improving the comfort of your home.
2. Improve your home’s security
We all want our homes to be safe and protected, and ensuring that they are can help lower those insurance premiums. Adding items to your home such as updated security systems, deadbolts, and smoke detectors can reduce your rates and potential property claims. Also, adding sprinkler systems or anti-theft and fire devices that connect to first responders in the event of a disaster can bring down those insurance costs significantly. Be sure to check with your insurance provider to determine how much these discounts can impact your monthly payments.
3. Stay with the same insurer – build up no claims and rewards
Being loyal certainly has its perks, especially when using certain insurance companies. Having an existing policy for over 5 years can lead to discounts on your home insurance premiums, with loyalty extending beyond 10 years yielding greater benefits. Also, filing no claims during these times impacts the discounts you may receive for your loyalty to your home’s insurance plan. Be sure to check with your insurance provider about what they may (and may not) offer.
4. Make sure you don’t over-insure
Insurance providers want to make sure you have as much insurance as you can handle, but we don’t always need as much as we have. One way to avoid over-insuring is to determine what your home’s “build from scratch” value is. Just make sure it is not the market value, as the two values are not identical. The land your home sits on is not at risk of damage or theft and does not require the same insurance coverage as your home. Knowing this can help you determine how much insurance you need to cover your home and possessions.
5. Limit the amount of time your property is left continuously unoccupied
If possible, limit the amount of time your home is completely unattended. If you have to be gone from it for an extended period for work, leisure, or otherwise, try finding a house sitter. Empty homes are more susceptible to crime. When homes have a higher likelihood of crime, insurance rates tend to rise as well. Doing your best to avoid long times away from home will positively impact your home insurance premiums.
6. Maintain your home
Home maintenance and house chores can be tedious and time-consuming but keeping up with them can help reduce your insurance costs. Homes that are defenceless against wear and tear often come with higher insurance premiums due to an increase in the likelihood you will use them. Don’t hesitate if it’s time for a new roof, paint job, or other updates, as keeping up with these necessities benefits the homeowner in reduced home insurance costs.
7. Avoid coverage and extras you don’t need
Home insurance policies often offer added coverage that isn’t necessary for your home. Be sure your home’s insurance policy only has the coverage you find most important and necessary for keeping your family, home, and possessions safe. Removing extras can reduce your home insurance premiums significantly.
8. Install a safe – expensive items aren’t usually covered
Whether it’s a family heirloom or the latest tech, protecting your home’s most valuable items is paramount, as they increase your home’s likelihood of being targeted by thieves. Given this, investing in a safe for your valuables is not only an excellent way to protect the items that mean most to you, but it can also reduce your insurance costs.
9. Pay annually instead of monthly
We often fret over our monthly bills, but when it comes to your home’s insurance, it is always wise to think long-term. If it’s possible, pay your home’s insurance premiums annually instead of monthly. This will reduce your overall cost as most insurance companies charge interest on your monthly payments. This interest can range from 5 to 10 percent.
10. Review your policy and the value of your possessions at least once a year
Taking inventory of your possessions may be a difficult task, but it is greatly beneficial in determining how much insurance coverage you need. You never want to find yourself over- or under-insured for your prised possessions. Also, be sure to continually review your policy. Your insurance needs can change and so can your policy if you need it to.
No one ever wants to see their greatest investment, or their possessions ruined, destroyed, or stolen, so having the proper amount of home insurance is essential for you and your family’s well-being. Yet, we sometimes get caught up in the whirlwind of lengthy policies and extended coverage that may not be what suits our situations best. To avoid spending too much on insurance costs, remember these ways to reduce your premiums as they will ultimately keep the protection your home demands while providing you and your family the increased financial security you deserve.
About the author
Simon is the company director of Property Claim Assist and has been in the insurance industry for the majority of his working life – so it’s an area he knows extremely well. After periods at Equity Insurance Association and Red Star Policies at Lloyds, he moved to the City of London, where he spent eight years as a claims manager for The Black Sea & Baltic General Insurance Company.