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Tips for Buying Homeowner’s Insurance

Considering that for most people a home is their largest asset, they understand the importance of protecting their investment with homeowner’s insurance. What they may not know, however, is that insurers offer numerous discounts based on various factors ranging from the type of building material used to your home’s proximity to a fire station. Keep in mind that while multiple opportunities exist for premium discounts, not every discount is available in every state or with every insurance company.

When shopping for homeowner’s insurance, you should follow these tips:

·   Accept a higher deductible – When you file a claim, the deductible is the amount you pay personally toward the loss before the insurer pays the balance of the claim. Deductibles on most homeowner’s policies start at $250. If you raise your deductible, your premiums will be lower. However, before you accept a higher deductible, be sure you can afford the additional out of pocket.

·   Use one insurer for both your homeowner’s and auto policies – Most insurance companies offer multi-policy discounts.

·   Consider the cost of insuring any home before purchasing – The geographic location of your home has a significant impact on the amount you pay in premiums, especially if your home is located in an area frequently hit by natural events that cause large scale damage. The age of the house will also play an important role, as does the age of the electrical, heating and plumbing systems. Older structures, pipes and electrical wiring pose a greater risk.

·   Buy insurance coverage for your home, not the land it sits on – Never include the land value when you calculate how much insurance you need.

·   Be sure your home is safe and secure – Dead bolt locks, burglar alarms, and smoke detectors generally qualify you for premium discounts. Your insurance company may also offer an even larger discount if you install a home-security system. Check with your insurer to see which systems entitle you to a discount before proceeding.

·   Stop Smoking – Smoking increases risk of fires. Some insurers offer discounts if your family is tobacco free.

·   Ask about discounts for seniors – Retired people stay at home more, so they can spot fires sooner. Older people also spend more time maintaining their homes.

·   Review your policy each year – Any improvements you have made to your home should be reflected in your coverage. Talk to your agent about increasing your coverage as necessary.