- Investopedia says that bundling insurance policies such as homeowners, auto, and life can bring you a more attractive rate for all your coverage. Having all your insurance handled though the same company also makes it easier to pay and to make claims when, say, that tree goes over in a hurricane and takes out the car and the house.
- Asking for a CLUE (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) report when buying a house can let you know about issues with a property such as previous storm damage or flooding – before you make that down payment. CLUE can tell you things about your property that the seller may not have disclosed. CLUE databases maintained by Lexis-Nexis are a lot like those of credit reporting bureaus, CBS news reports, and contain detailed records of insurance claims and losses. Like your credit report, it’s free to you once per year.
- Take out an umbrella insurance policy. Extra liability insurance covers you past the limits of your typical home and auto insurance in case of a lawsuit. If you have a lot of assets and believe after consulting with your broker that you are at risk of being sued, an umbrella policy can shelter you and your family from devastating losses.
- Make your home safer and more claims proof. If you live in an area where there’s hail, invest in a Class IV roof that’s more impact resistant, add storm shutters, and work on wind-proofing your home.
- Update, not upgrade. In an older home, wiring faults can cause fires and old pipes can burst – even without the help of Florida’s occasional meetings with the Polar Vortex. Updating your plumbing and wiring, hardwiring your smoke detectors, and even making sure that dryer and HVAC vents are regularly cleaned go a long way towards preventing fires.
- Security counts. Something as simple as a deadbolt lock on your doors can bring down your rate, and adding security cameras and burglar alarms can qualify you for even more discounts. Asking your insurance agent which systems qualify and what they recommend will help you make sure you get the right system and the right coverage for your home and possessions.
- Clean up your credit report and maintain a good score. Some insurance companies will base their rates on your credit report, so make payments on time, don’t constantly add more credit – since that adds more risk – and keep your outstanding balances low.
An insurance agent can explain even more ways to save on your homeowners insurance and your other policies, too. Consulting with a professional will help you obtain the coverage you need, instead of cobbling together a patchwork of policies and companies from all over the map. Don’t forget to sit down and review your coverage once a year, and to trim or increase your coverage to match.