Discounts from your insurance company are available for a wide variety of factors, ranging from the type of building material used to build your home to how close you live to a fire station. These discounts will vary by state and insurance company.
1. Shop around
Check with many different home insurance companies to get rate quotes (an independent insurance agent can provide rate quotes from several companies). Do your friends or family members like their homeowners insurance company?
2. Raise your deductible
The deductible is the amount of money you have to pay toward a loss before your insurance kicks in. Typically, home insurance deductibles start at $250.
Make sure you can afford to pay the higher deductible out of pocket if something should happen.
3. Buy your home and auto policies from the same company
Many companies will give a multiline discount if your buy both homeowners and auto coverage from them.
4. Consider insurance when buying a home
If you're looking at buying a home, think about the cost of insuring the home. A newer home's electrical, heating, and plumbing systems and overall structure are likely to be in better condition than those of an older home. This can lead to a discount on your premiums.
You'll also want to consider the construction of the home and where you live. If you live on the East Coast, you'll want the house to be able to stand up to wind damage, while on the West Coast, you need to keep earthquakes in mind.
5. Insure your home, not the land
While your home and its contents are at risk from fire, theft, windstorms, and other perils, the land your home sits on is not. Don't include the value of the land in deciding how much homeowners insurance you need to buy. Your agent can help you assess the coverage you need.
6. Improve security and safety
Items such as dead bolt locks, burglar alarms, and smoke detectors can usually bring discounts of 5 percent each, depending on the company. Your insurance company may also offer a significant discount of 15 or 20 percent if you install a sophisticated home-security system. If you're thinking about buying such a system, check with your insurer to see which systems you'll get a discount for.
7. Stop smoking
Smoking accidents account for more than 23,000 residential fires every year. Some insurers offer to reduce premiums if no one in the home smokes.
8. Look for senior discounts
Insurance companies have found that retired people stay at home more and spot fires sooner than working people. Older people also have more time for maintaining their homes. If you're at least 55 years old and retired, you might qualify for as much as a 10 percent discount.
9. Look for group coverage
Alumni and business associations often work out insurance deals with an insurance company, which includes a discount for association members. Ask your association's director about any such deals.
10. Stay with an insurer
If you've kept your coverage with a company for several years, you may receive special consideration. Several insurers will reduce their premiums by 5 percent after staying with them for three to five years; and some companies will discount you as much as 10 percent after six years.
11. Check your policy annually
You want your policy to reflect the value of your home and belongings. If you review your policy every year, you will be able to make the necessary adjustments. If, for example, you just sold a valuable painting, you won't to need the same amount of coverage. But if you've added a garage, you'll need to increase your coverage.
12. Look for private insurance first
If you live in a high-risk area - one that is especially vulnerable to coastal storms, fires, or crime - and think you'll be forced to buy homeowners coverage from your state's high-risk insurance pool, check first with an independent insurance agent. You may find that you can still buy insurance at a lower price in the private insurance market than from your state's insurer of last resort.