With home insurance, as with so many other areas of life, you get what you pay for. While some providers offer the bare minimum at rock-bottom prices, others specialize in offering top-notch coverage at an equally high premium. The difference between the two will affect your monthly payments and how much you’ll ultimately end up paying over time. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get the most bang for your property insurance buck without overly sacrificing your coverage or financial security. Here are five tips that can help you save money and get the most value from your policy:
Know What You’re Looking For
It’s crucial to understand what you’re looking for from your home insurance policy. While some things are more or less important based on where you live, your particular needs will play a major role in determining which provider is best for you. For example, if you have expensive antique furniture, a pool, or landscaping, you may want more coverage for these items than the average homeowner does. Similarly, if you have a high crime area, you may want to increase your coverage in that area as well. Once you know what you’re looking for, you’ll be better equipped to shop around to find the best value.
Ask for a Quote From at Least Two Providers
When choosing your home insurance provider, it’s a good idea to get at least two quotes from providers in the price range you’re looking in. You’ll want to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples—i.e., identical coverage, although one may offer a lower price than the other. When you get quotes from several providers, take the time to ask specific questions. Make sure you understand the exact coverage you’ll get, as well as any discounts or offers the company may be offering. It’s also helpful to call around and speak with current customers of the different companies you’re comparing. You may get a better sense of the customer experience, as well as the coverage you’d be getting from that particular company.
Check for Deposit and/or User Fees
Home insurance providers typically tack on a few fees and add-on features, such as a homeowners policy (collision and comprehensive coverage) or an umbrella policy (which protects your home and possessions from a covered loss in the event your traditional policy does not cover it). While collision insurance is required by law, many providers still tack on a small co-pay without even offering it as an option. This is a sneaky way to hike your premiums without the customer knowing. Some providers may also charge an additional fee to increase your deductible, which is the amount you’d pay out of pocket for a covered loss. If you don’t like this fee, you can shop around to find a provider that does not charge it.
Review Coverage Limits and Exclusions
Like many aspects of life, the more you pay, the better the coverage will be. To gauge the level of coverage you’re getting, make sure you know what the limits are on what your policy covers. You should also know if there are any exclusions on your policy—things your policy may not cover. Some policies may have a $100,000 per dwelling limitations on coverage, which means if your home is worth $100,000 or more, the insurance company will not cover any of the damages. If you’re interested in purchasing a home with unique, high-value features or fixtures, you may want to consider increasing your coverage to increase the likelihood that you’ll get full replacement value in the event of a covered loss.
Negotiate Discounts and Add-Ons
Many providers will offer discounts and add-ons that you can take advantage of. For example, some providers will offer a discount for bundling your car and home insurance. If you also have a health insurance plan with your employer, you may be eligible for a discount on your home insurance as well. If you can shop around and compare quotes from multiple providers, you can often find significant discounts on your premiums.
Home insurance is a crucial financial investment. It can protect your home and assets from damage and theft, including damage due to earthquakes and other natural disasters. And it can also help pay for the costs associated with replacing damaged properties. When shopping for coverage, make sure you know what you want from your provider. Armed with that knowledge, you can negotiate a better deal on premiums and increase your chances of receiving full coverage.