"When you buy a house for $500,000," says Realtor Tony Yollin
, "paying a few thousand a year for home insurance doesn't seem like that big of a deal." Indeed, compared to the price of a home at the time of purchase, home insurance might not seem expensive. But if you know what home insurance discounts to ask for, you can shave a lot off you bills.
"I've sold houses for 30 years, but I'm also a homeowner," says Yollin, of Venice, Calif. "In the course of talking to someone one day they told me I was paying way too much for my homeowner's insurance. So I looked around and switched companies when I found I could save hundreds a year."
Here are six ways to get home insurance discounts:
1. Discounts for home renovations
"One thing people don't think to ask is if they can get a reduction for home renovations," says Christina Pulciani
, an insurance agent with Allstate in Wheat Ridge, Colo. "Many times new roofs or certain renovations in the past years can get you a reduction."
2. Discounts for bundling home and auto policies
Both Pulciani and Bob Dean, founder and President of Dean and Draper Insurance Agency
in Houston, agree that when you bundle your home insurance and auto policies, you can become eligible for a big discount. "Think about asking to put your home and auto together because they can reduce the homeowner's premium," offers Puliciani. "If you are going to have two lines of insurance already, you will end up reducing your rates."
Dean agrees, saying it can also have the added benefit of reducing not one line of insurance, but two. "When you bundle homeowner and auto insurance, credits can apply to both: sometimes 15 percent on auto and 10 percent on homeowner's."
3. Discounts for new home construction
Don't forget when your house was built. "If your house was built in the past 30 years you can save on your insurance," offers Pulciani. "Over 30 years and there's a surcharge, so that's something to look for when you buy your house." Your age can get you a home insurance discount too. "People over the age of 55 can get a credit," according to Dean, "so inquire about that."
4. Discounts for paying up front
"A common thing people don't know about is that you can get a 5 percent credit for paying your premium in full at the start of the year," says Dean. "It's worth asking. Remember this also saves you on the installment charges during the year as well, so that's on top of the 5 percent discount."
5. Discounts for home security system
You are eligible for a premium reduction if you have a home security system, so be sure to ask.
6. Discounts for a claim-free record
"If you don't have any claim in the past five years, you get a claim-free discount," according to Allstate's Pulciani.
Yollin offers an unusual suggestion: "Don't get referrals from your real estate agent on your homeowner's policy. Usually you're best off going to your company and seeing what they'll do for you," He says. "Since you have had a relationship with them, they are the best bet to get you a deal and be able to do something more for you."
But Dean of the Dean and Draper agency also cautions not to necessarily go with the lowest rate. "Be careful, sometimes the bottom price isn't the best product."
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