Saving money on home insurance seems like an impossible task, but I promise you, it can be done! A large portion of a household’s income is used to purchase insurance. If you are like me, you resent it. Insurance is one of those things that we all need and I grimace every time I review my bank statement and see my monthly premium payments.
I would much rather spend the money on things I don’t really need, like that sequined dress I can only wear on New Years Eve. Now THAT would be a fun purchase.
Insurance purchasing is unquestionably NOT a fun purchase. Well, let’s not spend more than we have to, shall we? Here are my recommendations for saving money on home insurance. Most discounts apply only to homeowners, but some can be applied to condo, tenants, and secondary residence (cottage) policies.
You may already have a lot of these discounts, as most are automatic, but some you can only get by asking for them.
Check your policy as the discounts are usually listed. Also, keep in mind that the type and amount of discount will vary between insurers.
If you have any type of burglary or fire alarm (except for the battery operated smoke alarm stuck on the ceiling type), you can usually get a discount from 5 to 20 percent depending on how many bells and whistles it has. You will have to provide proof in the form of an alarm certificate provided by your installer or monitoring company.
This discount is usually automatic, but check for it if you are at least three years claims free. Discounts can vary from 5 to 20 percent.
This is another reward for paying off that mortgage earlier! You will earn a discount of 5 and 10 percent. Insurers figure that if you own your home outright, you are less likely to burn it down when you are flat broke and can’t make your mortgage payments anymore.
Secured lines of credit can sometimes qualify, so check this one out if you have financed your home but it is not through a traditional mortgage.
This discount can be offered to anyone from 40 and up, but it varies between insurers and is usually between a 5 and 20 percent discount. Your insurer will require the dates of birth for those that are on the.
Interesting Fact: Did you know that this discount used to be called “old person’s discount” before it was changed to “mature owner’s discount”?
Fire Hall Pumper Certification
If you live in a rural area (also good for secondary residences, such as cottages) your responding fire hall may have qualified for a special status, meaning they are able to respond to fires very quickly and with enough access to water. Some insurance companies reward those living in the response areas of these fire halls.
Inquire with your fire hall and if they have passed the tests required for this certification, you may qualify for a better insurance premium. Check with your agent/broker for what is required to prove your fire hall qualifies for special certification.
If you carry home and auto insurance with one insurer, you should be getting a 5 to 20 percent discount.
This discount generally gets added on when you have been with the same insurance company for 5 years or more. It is usually from 5 to 10 percent.
If there are no smokers in your household, you can usually save an extra 5% off your insurance. You may have to sign a form to verify this status.
Check at work or your professional association to see if they have any arrangements with an insurer to provide a special rate for employees/members.
Sump Pump/Sewer Back-Up Preventative Measures
Insurance companies have been paying out in a major way for water damage claims in recent years due to aging city pipes, so some insurers will reward those that take measures to prevent this from happening.
If you have one of those fancy alarms that tells you that your sump pump is failing, or have installed some other type of water damage preventative, let your agent/broker know as this could save you some money.
Increase Your Deductible
Get quotes on different deductible levels. The savings can be quite substantial. Determine how much you could afford to pay out of pocket if something happened, and keep this in mind before changing your deductible. You don’t want to put yourself under more stress if you have to make a claim.
You may qualify for a better rate if you have recently updated or replaced major systems in your home such as furnace, roofing, electrical system, and plumbing.
It is my experience as an insurance broker for 23 years, that property rates have a bit of play (unlike auto insurance rates, which are heavily regulated). If you have been with the same insurer for many years and have been claims free, most will fight to keep you if you have found a better premium elsewhere.
If you are one to call up every week with a complaint, you will be told to “jump at that better rate elsewhere sir/madam”. Yes, I have uttered that phrase more times than I can count. Sometimes there really is nothing else that can be done.
Keep in mind that when it comes to insurance that you do get what you pay for. All policies are not created equal, contrary to popular opinion. The best premium offered may indicate an insurer that will nickel and dime you when it comes to claims time.