You could save hundreds of dollars on your home insurance. here’s how

This story is part Tips for the houseCNET’s collection of handy tips for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.

Whether you’ve just bought a house or you’ve been living in the same house for years, one thing remains the same: if you have a mortgage, you need a home insurance policy. While the average cost of home insurance in the United States this year is $1,383, those rates are rising, in part due to inflation and supply chain issues, according to CNET’s sister site, Bankrate.

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“Home insurance isn’t just required for anyone who has a loan – it’s essential for protecting what for most people is our most important financial asset, our home,” says Douglas Heller, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America, a consumer research and advocacy nonprofit.

The cost of your home insurance is influenced by several factors, including the location, age and condition of your home. But despite rising rates, there are still ways to lower your bill, potentially by hundreds of dollars a year.

Here are seven ways to save money on your home insurance. (You can also find out how to save money by unplug your devices, turn off the lights and set your thermostat to the right temperature.)

1. Shop

Whether you’re buying a house and looking for an insurance company, or you’ve lived in your home for years, it’s a good idea to compare insurance premiums from different companies. They can vary widely, says Janet Ruiz, director of strategic communications for the Insurance Information Institute, a nonprofit that aims to help people understand insurance.

Sites like insure.com allow you to enter your information to get an idea of ​​what your rate might look like, before you have to fill in all of your information to get an actual quote. This makes it easier to shop between vendors before heading to the couple who can offer you the best rate, Ruiz says. (Check the privacy policy first: although these sites provide a free service, they likely send your data to third-party advertisers in exchange for this service.) If you know an insurance agent in your family or community, you can consult with them too, she adds. But be aware that some agents only represent one supplier, while others may pull quotes from several.

Read more: 5 steps to reduce your water bill

2. Consider loyalty discounts

Insurance companies often give loyalty discounts, which is worth considering if you’ve been with the same providers for a long time before switching to another. But even if you get a loyalty discount, it’s still worth shopping around because it’s very possible you’ll find a rate that offers similar coverage but costs less, Ruiz says.

3. Ask about bundles

It’s simple, explains Ruiz, but bundle your auto and home insurance under one supplier can earn you discounted rates for both.

Read more: Best car insurance companies

4. Make improvements (or let your insurer know about changes you’ve already made)

If you have made any improvements to your home, especially plumbing and electrical work, let your insurance company know. Plumbing and electrical problems are common expensive issues that insurance companies pay for, and making improvements could result in a lower premium for you, Ruiz says.

You can even work with your insurance agent to come up with a checklist of improvements or investments you can make over time to get a lower premium, Heller says.

5. Schedule regular home insurance checks

Your home insurance is automatically renewed each year. The next time this happens, check your coverage and contact your provider if you’ve made any changes to your home. It’s also a good idea to get a home insurance checkup from your provider every few years to make sure your coverage is still right for you. For example, maybe you drive an old car that isn’t worth much and you don’t want the same amount of collision coverage as you would for a newer car.

They’re relatively brief conversations, Ruiz says: “Take 15 minutes. It’ll save you a lot of heartache if you suffer a loss.”

6. New buyers: don’t wait until the last minute

Obtaining a home insurance policy is usually one of the last steps before closing on a home during the buying process. But it is not recommended. “I’ve seen so many people end up with a high price policy because they just waited until the last minute or didn’t realize it would take a few days,” says Heller.

Instead, start buying homeowners insurance as soon as your offer is accepted, says Heller. This way you will have time to explore all the options and find the best price.

Read more: The First-Time Home Buyer’s Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Home

7. Assess your deductible

Over the past decade, insurance companies have moved from a standard base dollar deductible — say, $500,000 on your policy — to percentage-based deductibles. You may have a 1% deductible on your coverage, so if you have a $200,000 policy, the insurance company won’t pay for damages under $2,000.

“It’s important to know how it works, and you may be able to choose a lower or higher deductible to save money on your premium, if you can cover out of pocket,” says Heller. There is a caveat, however: when insurance companies offer you savings, you generally give them less responsibility for the claim and you take on more risk yourself.

For more information, you can consult the current mortgage rates and how to prepare for a recession.

About Kristina McManus

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