The holidays will be here before you know it, and having extra cash on hand is always appreciated. One unexpected place you might find it is with your home insurance.
Raise your deductible.
The deductible is the amount that you pay before the insurance company pays a claim. Higher deductibles mean lower payments. According to NerdWallet, you could save 20 percent by raising a $500 deductible to $1,000. If you do increase your deductible, make sure that you can cover the costs of repairs should something happen.
Ask about discounts.
You may qualify for insurance discounts for being part of a professional association, such as groups for teachers, nurses or first responders. There are also discounts for being retired, for paying via automatic bank payments, and for paying in full upfront. You may qualify for a new home discount, or a discount if you have updated your utilities (electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling) in an older home. There are discounts for a new roof and an automatic sprinkler system. You can even be rewarded for being a loyal customer.
Remove attractive nuisances.
You may be paying extra for high-risk items. These attractive nuisances are potential dangers that could attract kids and cause injuries. Examples include trampolines, swimming pools, and playground equipment. If you are willing to get rid of these items, it may lower your payments.
Skip a payment.
Some insurance companies allow you to skip payments around the holidays. At California Casualty, you have the option to skip payments in either November/December or in December/January. (You also have this option to skip in the summer.) Ask your agent for details.
Take care of minor repairs.
Your home insurance policy can take care of both major and minor damage from a covered loss. But sometimes it’s easy enough to take care of those minor repairs on your own, out-of-pocket. That way you’ll avoid filing a claim and if you remain claims-free for a period of time, that qualifies for a discount, too.
Buy home and auto insurance from the same company.
Make your home secure and disaster-resistant.
The better protected your home is, the less chance that there will be a claim. That’s why disaster-proofing and securing your home can save you in insurance premiums. To protect against disasters, consider storm shutter, impact-resistant roofing. Having a fire extinguisher could earn you a discount. For enhanced security, a burglar alarm and deadbolt locks can earn you discounts. While some of these repairs and updates are expensive, they will pay off in the long run. Remember that flood and earthquake insurance are not included in standard homeowner’s coverage. However, you can make home improvements that reduce their cost as well. Importantly, you will need a new home inspection before new rates can take effect, and you may need to pay for it.
Check your credit score.
Your credit score indicates your ability to pay your debts. Missing payments, not having a long credit history, and high credit card balances could create an unfavorable credit score. A credit score under 630 could increase your insurance rates, according to NerdWallet. You can get a free credit report once a year from the three credit agencies, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Check your score, and take actions to improve it.
In addition, in some states, you can get your credit-based insurance score, which indicates how likely you are to file an insurance claim. If you are eligible for that report, you can find it at CLUE (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) from LexisNexis
Review your insurance limits annually.
If your insurance is billed to your mortgage bank, you may not think much about your annual premiums. But it’s a good idea to review your policies annually to make sure you’re not paying for coverage that you no longer need.
This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.