Everyone knows the standard spiel when it comes to saving money on your homeowners insurance-you shop around for the best deal, make sure your home is in a low-crime area and make sure your front and back doors have locks that are guaranteed to help keep would-be thieves on the outside. But is that all there is to it? Absolutely not! There are many, many ways to save money on your homeowners insurance, and putting these into action can save you hundreds a year the minute you sign on the dotted line.
First and foremost, did you know that your credit score plays a part in determining how much your premiums are going to cost you? Whether it’s a determination of how responsible a homeowner you’re going to be based on how reliably you pay your bills or how big a risk you’re going to be extending coverage beyond late payments is anyone’s guess, but improving your credit score is going to go a long way toward saving money on your insurance coverage.
How do you raise your credit score quickly? First and foremost, check out your credit report. Make sure there are no mistakes (yes, they do happen every once in a while) and see what debts you might have that you’ve forgotten about. Those doctor’s bills from five years ago that you made three payments on and forgot about because you weren’t getting statements anymore can still hurt your score, which is going to kill your chances of saving big on your insurance. Once mistakes are fixed and debts are paid it’s time to be a responsible citizen. Pay your bills on time and within six months your credit score will noticeably improve.
Check for association and employment discounts. Many organizations cut a deal with insurance providers to save their members money in exchange for driving a little extra business that way, and that could go a long way toward saving you 10-20% on your premiums. Hey, every little bit counts!
How are you making your payments? Are you sending in a check every month, or have you worked it out to take advantage of your insurance provider’s electronic bill pay options? Believe it or not, many providers are charging their policy holders $ 5 or more per payment that’s made using snail mail and paper checks. (Do you remember when they used to slap a charge of $ 2-3 on electronic payments because they had to invest in the equipment to process them or work through an outside provider? The times, they are a-changin’.) Paying your bills electronically can put that money back in your pocket.
Finally, don’t insure your land. It’s tempting to just take a look at your mortgage when you’re determining how much your home is worth and call it a day, but your land isn’t going to be noticeably damaged by most of the events that you’ll be filing a homeowners insurance claim for (unless you’re a farmer, but that’s another kettle of fish!). Saving money on your homeowners insurance is tied closely to the amount of insurance you have on your property. Lowering one will lower the other.
Saving money on your homeowners insurance isn’t hard, but you might be surprised to find out how much what you don’t know is costing you every year. Do your homework, make some changes, then sit back and enjoy the savings. You’ve earned it.