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Keep Home Insurance Costs Down

- Wednesday, January 09, 2013

It seems like home insurance costs go up every year. Here are 10 ways that you can control your home insurance costs:

Increase deductibles. Insurance isn't meant to cover the small stuff. Set deductibles as high as you can afford. For example, a $150,000 house could have a $1500 or 1% deductible.

Make improvements. Install a backup generator, a whole house surge protector, and smoke/CO2 detectors. Refit roof trusses with strapping.

Opt for hip roofs. Hip roofs offer the most slippery shape in high wind settings or storms. You don't want areas that can catch the wind and are prone to damage.

Locate intelligently. Stay away from flood prone areas. Look for brick or stone houses in high wind areas and wooden frame houses in earthquake-prone areas. Locate in communities with professional fire departments. Have your home inspected before purchase. Also check the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange report of your home before purchase to see insurance claim history.

Don't make small claims. Frequent claims can drive up rates. Don't sweat the small stuff. Insurance is meant to protect from catastrophic loss.

Reinforce your home. Install storm shutters, reinforce the roof, retrofit older homes for earthquake resistance, and modernize heating, plumbing, and electrical to reduce risk of fire and water damage.

Improve home security. Add smoke detectors, burglar alarms, and deadbolts.

Exclude land value. It's unlikely the land beneath your home will be stolen or burned in a fire. Insure the value of the home only.

Combine policies with one insurer. Most insurance companies offer discounts for multiple policy households. Combine home and auto insurance. Then buy an umbrella liability policy over both to optimize cost.

Eliminate unnecessary coverage. Don't buy coverage you don't need: earthquake coverage is unnecessary in most zones; don't schedule jewelry if it's inexpensive, etc.

Talk to your agent about other discounts but also, be sure you have enough insurance.

Paying attention to your home owners insurance can ensure that you have the optimal coverage with the right risk/cost balance. For a review of your home policy, contact TriState Business Insurance.