Homeowners InsurancePaying your insurance premiums ranks right up there with root canals, but just like dental work, you need insurance to keep your home and finances healthy. Take the time to review your insurance annually and learn how to get better coverage while paying out less money in premiums. There are a few tips and tricks you’re going to want to know about bringing down your rate, and some real surprises that you might not have heard. You can save a real bundle if you work with an experienced independent agent to meet your coverage needs.

  1. If you have a government subsidized insurance plan, look to the private market to see if someone has a better rate. Citizen’s Insurance was created in 2002 as an insurance source of last resort for properties that were otherwise too risky for insurance companies to touch, and ended up being the 800 pound gorilla of Florida insurance. As Citizen’s depopulates, shifting the risks of storm damage to private capital from public debt, other insurers are picking up the slack. You may be able to get a better rate on your homeowner’s insurance by bundling your homeowner’s policy with other types of insurance such as automobile and life insurance.
  2. Improve your home! There are discounts for wind mitigation, roof construction, fire and burglar alarm systems, and even installing fire suppression systems like sprinklers. You don’t have to go that big, either. New doors and deadbolts, more secure windows, camera systems, or even certified fire extinguishers and smoke alarms can help to slice dollars and cents off your bill. You also want to be proactive and eliminate hazards before they turn into a claim, like cutting down that tree that leans over the neighbor’s driveway before it lands on their car.
  3. Look at your finances. Can you afford to increase your deductibles? While increasing deductibles can lower your rate, it can also leave you in a bad financial position if disaster strikes and your bank account is sucked dry to cover the higher deductible. Be realistic about what you can afford in a worst case scenario, and that includes taking a hard look at where you live. Certain areas have a higher risk of wind damage, flood damage, sinkholes and other hazards, and so the premiums are higher in turn. If you really want that great house on a waterway or that high-rise beachfront condo, you have to be willing to accept that you’re going to have to fork out more than someone living inland at a higher elevation.

Take the time to assess your position, get your documents in order, and then talk to an independent insurance professional about ways to improve your insurance position. Don’t get quotes online, don’t try to patchwork your coverage together, this is a real sit-down and work at it job. Making sure that your coverage doesn’t have any gaps or surprises take someone who really knows insurance, not Googling and guesswork.