Homeowner's insurance is a must for any home. However, current times dictate that every household better manage their expenses. Take a few minutes to review the following suggestions to both make sure you have coverage, and that you are not overpaying for coverage.
Tip 1: Review the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) Report on the Property You're Interested in Buying
CLUE reports detail the property's claims history for the most recent five years, which insurers may use to deny coverage. Make the sale contingent on a home inspection to ensure that problems identified in the CLUE report have been repaired.
Tip 2: Seek Insurance Coverage as Soon as Your Offer is Approved
You must obtain insurance to buy. And you don't want to be told at closing that the insurer has denied your coverage. (Before buying, always ask your professional REALTORÂ® if the home or land you plan to purchase and build on is in a flood plain. While insurance most likely will be available, the cost could be significantly higher).
Tip 3: Maintain Good Credit
Insurers often use credit-based insurance scores to determine premiums
Tip 4: Buy Your Home Owners and Auto Policies From the Same Company and You'll Usually Qualify for Savings
But make sure the discount really yields the lowest price. (Be sure to consider service, when evaluating cost. A non-responsive insurer in times of disaster is not a great buy!).
Tip 5: Consider Raising Your Deductible
If you can afford to pay more toward a loss that occurs, your premiums will be lower. Avoid making claims under $1,000.
Tip 6: Ask About Other Discounts
For example, retirees who tend to be home more than full-time workers may qualify for a discount on theft insurance. You also may be able to obtain discounts for having smoke detectors, a burglar alarm, cementious siding material, or dead-bolt locks.
Tip 7: Seek Group Discounts
If you belong to any groups, such as associations or alumni organizations, they may have deals on insurance coverage.
Tip 8: Review Your Policy Limits and the Value of Your Home and Possessions Annually
Some items depreciate and may not need as much coverage. Keeping photos (date / time stamped) of your home and its contents in a safe place outside of the home may be helpful in documenting and expediting a claim.
Tip 9: Investigate a Government-Backed Insurance Plan
In some high-risk areas, federal or state government may back plans to lower rates. Ask your agent.
Tip 10: Be Sure You Insure Your House for the Correct Amount
Remember, you're covering replacement cost, not market value.