6 ways to lower your homeowners insurance rates

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In order to keep your home insured, you have to pay monthly or annual premiums. The amount is largely dependent on your address, the age of your home and your insurance score.

Rates are also affected by factors that are completely out of your control — things like the financial health of your insurer and the reinsurance companies (your insurance company’s insurer who helps them pay for claims). When carriers suffer a record-setting number of losses in a given year, that affects future premiums. 

If your rates went up in the last month or year and you’re wondering how that happened, the horrible wildfire season may be part of the reason, but there are plenty of ways to mitigate the increasing prices. Here are six ways to lower your homeowners insurance rates. 

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1. Talk with your insurance company

If you noticed something has changed on your homeowners insurance bill, like an increase in coverage amounts and higher rates, the first thing you should do is call your insurer and discuss your bill with them. They’ll most likely give you a reason and may suggest tangible ways to get your rates lowered as well as any potential discounts you’re missing out on.

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2. Look for discount opportunities

Potential discounts you can find on your insurer’s policy declarations page are:

  • Multi-policy discount: If you have two or more policies under the same carrier, like a home and auto insurance bundle, that can potentially save you anywhere from 20% to 30% on premiums, depending on the insurer.
  • Claim-free discount: Some carriers will offer you discounts for not filing claims.
  • Protective devices discounts: If your home is fitted with deadbolts, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and fire and burglar alarms that contact law enforcement directly, most insurers will offer you a nice discount.
  • First-time homebuyer discount: Most insurance companies will offer discounts for new homebuyers.
  • Senior citizens discount: If you’re 55 or 60 and older, your insurer may offer up to 10% off your premiums.
  • Long-term policyholder discount: If you’ve been a policyholder with the same insurer for five years or more, it’s common for insurers to offer 10% loyalty discounts. 

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3. Choose a higher deductible

The lower your policy’s deductible is, the higher your premiums will be, and vice versa. If you’re currently paying a $500 or $1,000 deductible and your rates went up, a good way to get those down is to ask your insurance company about raising your deductible. You only pay your deductible when you file a claim, and if you’re a responsible homeowner who’s never had to file a claim before, then increasing your deductible may be a good option.

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4. Disaster-proof your home

If you remodel sections of your home, modernize or winterize your home’s electrical and plumbing, or added storm shutters, storm-resistant shingles, or a disaster-resistant garage door to your home, let your insurance company know — they will likely reward you with lower rates.

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5. Shop around for a better deal

If a company won’t budge on their rates, don’t be afraid to comparison shop for a better price. This may lead you to … 

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6. …switch insurers

This is especially true if you live in a high-risk coastal area and buy your policies through government programs, like the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) in Texas. You may be paying more for government plans than you would if you went through a private insurer, so be sure to check with agents in your area to see if they offer comparable – but more inexpensive – policies.

Still curious about how homeowners insurance works? Here are the answers to 20 questions you may be too embarrassed to ask.

This article originally appeared on Policygenius and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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