The rate you pay for homeowners insurance depends on many factors that are out of your control, but there are a few things you can do to pay less: bundle your policy with another one at the same company, install home security devices, increase your deductible, disaster-proof your home, adjust your coverage, shop around for quotes, or even choose a different dog breed.
1. Bundle your insurance policies
Most insurance providers will give you discounts on homeowners and car insurance if you buy both from the same company. The size of the discount can vary from 3% to 25% depending on the provider and individual factors, so it’s worth getting a “bundled quote” from several companies. The only caveats here are that your best homeowners insurance option might not necessarily be the best place to get car insurance, and in some cases it might still be cheaper to use separate companies.
2. Install home security devices
Another common homeowners insurance discount is for security devices like burglar alarms, fire alarms, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, deadbolt locks, and sprinkler systems. According to the Insurance Information Institute, home security improvements can save you as much as 15% to 20% on your premium, but keep in mind that some of these devices can be expensive themselves.
3. Increase your deductible
After a loss, your policy’s deductible is the amount of money you’ll have to pay out of pocket before your insurance carrier covers the rest. For example, if your deductible is $2,000, and a fire causes $5,000 worth of damage to your house, you’ll have to pay $2,000 yourself, while your insurance will cover the remaining $3,000. When you increase the deductible on your policy, it makes your monthly (and annual) premium cheaper, but you take the risk of paying more out-of-pocket in the event of a loss. (See our guide to insurance deductibles.)
4. Disaster-proof your home
Similar to home security devices, installing disaster-proofing materials makes your home less risky for insurance companies, so some offer discounts for things like storm shutters, shatterproof glass, and reinforced roofs. This is especially true for homes in disaster-prone areas like California and the coasts.
5. Choose certain dog breeds
Believe it or not, some homeowners insurance providers will increase your premium if you own a dog on the company’s list of aggressive breeds. In fact, your dog can even be cited as a reason to deny coverage. The most common breeds on these “restricted lists” are akitas, Alaskan malamutes, mastiffs, pit bulls, and Rottweilers.
6. Adjust your coverage
Some policies are more customizable than others, but most allow for some degree of personalization. It’s always a good idea to audit your coverage and drop anything you don’t need, and to keep auditing on a regular basis when your needs change. But don’t overdo it — saving a little money now isn’t worth paying thousands more later.
7. Consider excluding your land
Some policies cover the land you own in addition to your home. Since you’re far more likely to claim a loss on your house, consider removing land from your insurance policy if it’s possible and if you can no longer afford it. Just make sure your agent explains exactly how this might affect your risk as a homeowner before removing anything from your policy.
8. Compare quotes
This might seem obvious, but shopping around is actually the best and easiest way to save money on homeowners insurance. Surprisingly, most people go with the first provider they come across, even though another company might offer better rates for the same coverage.