Shopping for the Right Homeowner’s Insurance Policy - dummies

Shopping for the Right Homeowner’s Insurance Policy

If you’re currently shopping for insurance for a new home, or if you haven’t done any comparison shopping in a long time, you should spend a little time finding out what the marketplace has to offer. Insurance companies often offer discounts on your homeowner’s insurance if you qualify in certain categories, or you may be able to adjust your deductible to make ends meet.

Insurers reward loyalty. If you’ve been a loyal customer with the same insurance company for 10 or 20 years, you’re less likely to be dropped or see a drastic increase in your premium in the event of a legitimate claim than if you’d been with the company for only one or two years.

J.D. Power and Associates provides an annual National Homeowner’s Insurance Study and ranks companies based on customers’ ratings in the following categories:

  • Overall experience

  • Policy offerings

  • Pricing

  • Contacting (interacting with) the insurer

To do some research and compare policies on your own, obtain premium quotes from different insurance companies. Be careful to compare policies with identical features and benefits. You want to look for the financially strongest companies, with great claims payment history, where you can obtain all the required and desired coverage for the best price.

If you’re considering lowering your deductible (the part you pay before your insurance policy kicks in), keep in mind that insurance is intended to cover risks that you can’t afford to bear on your own. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium. By raising your deductibles to $1,000 from $250, you may be able to reduce your premium by as much as 25 to 30 percent. Just make sure that you don’t raise your deductible so high that you can’t pay that amount in case of an emergency.

Ask yourself the following important questions, which may save you money on your homeowner’s insurance:

  • Are your home, auto, and liability insurance policies with the same company? And if not, would you be willing to change in order to save money?

  • Do you have any safety devices (smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, alarm systems, and so on) in your home?

  • How long have you maintained coverage with the same insurance company?

  • Have you made any mechanical or structural upgrades to your home?

  • In an emergency, could you comfortably afford to pay your deductible if you raised it?

The answers to these questions may uncover some discounts. Contact your current or prospective insurance company to see whether you can save yourself a little bit o’ money while obtaining top-quality and adequate insurance coverage. Be sure to also ask the insurance agent whether any other discounts are available to which you may be entitled.