Balancing Risk on Your Rewards Finding the Perfect Insurance to Protect what You’ve Built
Home insurance premiums can be very expensive. We recommend five easy pieces of advice to help you reduce costs and premiums considerably.
Know Your Property
Insurers rely, primarily, on the approximate rebuilding value/rebuild cost of a property, to assess the premium of your home insurance. This is why it is so important to know all of your property’s features. The different structural materials, the exterior cladding, the type of flooring and windows, etcetera, are just some of the elements that can cause premiums to vary substantially. Know the answers: How old are your heating system, electrical wiring and plumbing? These facts can also impact the cost of your insurance. The type of heating used, as well as the different types of auxiliary heating (gas or wood fireplaces, heat pumps, etc.), may also change the amount of the premium. Other features, such as the distance to fire stations, and standpipes, can affect the premium. It is, therefore, to your advantage to check all this information before requesting a quote. A lower rebuilding value will lower your premium; but, be careful; this is the base the insurance company will use when assessing your claims.Make sure it will be sufficient, in case you ever need to completely, or partially, rebuild your property.
Renovate Your Property
Since the amount of your insurance premium will be calculated based upon the reconstruction value of your property, renovating earlier can save you a lot in the long run. If you are planning to renovate your property, you could take advantage of this to change some elements that increase your premium. Costly, “risky” existing building elements replaced by more modern solutions will accrue savings in premiums over time. Replacing a worn hardwood floor with a quality floating floor, changing obsolete plumbing for a newer system, or switching from a combustion heating system, to an electric system, are just a few examples that would likely reduce premiums. Adding any of a variety of security systems, such as an alarm system, or sprinklers, will often reduce the premium as well.You should verify these options with your insurance broker when requesting a quote.
Have the Right Insurance Coverage
When choosing your insurance coverage, you will be offered several options, or endorsements. These will cover you for specific situations such as water damage, sewer back flow problems, issues with various structures such as swimming pools, and spas, etcetera. Several basic coverage options can also be modulated, according to your needs, by choosing the amount for which you will be covered. Whether for civil liability, or endorsements mentioned above, you can always ask to be insured for less than the basic amount offered by the company. Although the adjustment of the amount will not reduce the annual premium by more than a few dollars, the sum of these differences over the years can be worth it. Make sure however that the amounts for which you will be covered will be sufficient at such a time, as you may need to make a claim; or, that you will at least be comfortable with the amount you will receive, if you ever need it. It is also possible that some coverage options do not apply for your property. For example, if your property is far from flood areas, and is elevated (on a hill, or mountain), it is extremely unlikely that a natural flood coverage endorsement would ever be useful.
Take Advantage of Different Discounts
You probably already know that pairing your home and auto insurance will save you a considerable amount on your insurance premiums. If you have group insurance from your employer, you may be entitled to a discount on your home insurance, by doing business with that same company. Many insurance companies also offer promotions for properties located in certain regions, for certain age groups, or even for certain professionals. There can be premium discounts for long-term customers, or for homeowners who have been living on the property for a number of years.Ask around before making your decision. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Take the Time to Shop Around
Since insurance companies base their premiums on the risk they may incur, it is common for a company to offer you a lower premium if your property does not increase the risk it incurs in insuring you, in addition to the various methods of reducing the premium mentioned above. That’s why the best way to get a home insurance premium, at a reasonable price, is to get quotes from as many companies as possible. If you do not have the time, nor patience, to do all this research yourself, but you would still like to reduce your premium considerably, you could do business with an independent insurance broker. Brokers will be able to obtain quotes from a large number of companies, and they have access to preferred discounts that are not available to the general public. They also do business with more specialized companies; companies that may be able to better meet your specific insurance needs.
In any case, keep in mind: The more quotes you get from the more sources, the better your chances of getting a competitive premium.