No one wants to pay more for their Texas home insurance than they have to any more than they want to pay their hard earned money to someone who’ll nickel and dime a claim. What people want is to pay a fair price for their home insurance without being over or under insured. With that in mind, here are a baker’s dozen of ways you can save on your Texas home insurance.
Compare rates: Rates fluctuate from year to year. In the past three years, residents of north Texas have watched their rates go more up than down. Even in times like this, not all carriers increase their rates equally so it makes sense to comparison shop every two to three years. Being blindly loyal to one and only one insurance company could mean you’ll pay more than you should.
Combine policies: If you’re willing to compare home insurance, be sure and compare the total package of home and car insurance. Most insurance companies provide multi-policy discounts for combining home and auto coverage. That means the home premium receives a discount for the car policy and the car premium is discounted for the home policy. By comparing the total package premium with what you’re paying now, you’ll know what provides the biggest bang for your budget.
Updates: Many insurance companies provide discounts for updates to roofing, plumbing, electrical, as well as heating and cooling systems. The discounts are greater if you’ve done a total replacement of the system, but there are discounts on partial updates such as replacing a water heater, electrical box, roof, etc. Let your agent know if you’ve updated any of these areas.
Security systems: Have a monitored burglar or fire alarm? Many carriers provide discounts for security systems that are monitored by a company such as ADT, Brinks, etc. If your system ties in with the police and fire department, the discount may be even bigger. Not all is lost if you don’t have one. Having a fire extinguisher and smoke alarms also helps.
Deductibles: The deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before the policy begins to pay toward a claim. Lower deductibles mean a higher premium and higher deductibles contribute to a lower premium. In north Texas, there are usually two deductibles; one for wind and hail and one for most other perils (water, theft, smoke, fire, etc.). Think about what you can legitimately and easily pay out of pocket for a claim and adjust your deductible accordingly.
Claim history: Most insurance companies provide a claims free discount for someone who hasn’t filed any claims. Some companies take this a step further and provide a discount for someone who hasn’t filed a claim in 3 years, 5 years, or some other time frame. If you’ve not filed a claim in 3 or 5 years, remind your agent and see if that qualifies for a discount.
Be sure to determine if it makes sense to file a claim. Get a couple of estimates to confirm the cost for the repair exceeds your deductible. If it does file it, however if it doesn’t, remember some carriers’ rate for $0 paid claims. That can cost you whether you comparison shop or remain with your current company.
Umbrella policy: Just like the auto / home discount, some insurance companies offer a small discount for carrying an umbrella or personal liability policy. If you have this policy, be sure you’re getting the discount for it if one’s available.
Career & education discounts: Some insurance companies provide discounts for teachers, fire fighters, nurses, members of the armed forces, and more. Others provide discounts for people with an advanced degree such as a masters or doctorate. Whatever your job or level of education, be sure to share that with your agent.
Affinity discounts: Where did you attend college? Who do you work for? Do you have a membership with AARP or AAA? Depending on the insurance company, you may qualify for a discount if there’s an affinity program with that school, company, or that association.
Gated communities: Living in a gated community provides a nice degree of protection from burglaries and vandalism claims. Several companies provide a discount for living in a gated community just like they do for having a monitored alarm system. Make sure you share this with your agent if it applies.
Fire protection: For our neighbors living in the country and away from fire hydrants, make sure your agent knows if the fire department has access to a stock pond on your property or if they have pumper trucks. These can help reduce the impact for living in an area with a higher fire protection class code. It’s also important to note who the primary responding fire department is and how close the nearest fire station is as this can help reduce the amount you pay for home insurance.
Mortgage free: Have you paid off your mortgage or are you paying cash for your home? Congratulations!! Many companies offer a discount on the home premium for someone who doesn’t have a mortgage.
Credit: Most insurance companies offer you some level of credit scoring to determine what they pay for home insurance. People with good credit pay less than people with poor credit. Building good credit helps you in so many ways; paying less for home insurance is just one of them.
How many of these discounts does your insurance company provide? The more you qualify for, the less you’ll pay for home insurance and that’s not a bad thing for your budget.
Do you have a question, comment, or experience you’d like to share? Post them in the comments section of our blog or on our Facebook page. I’d love to hear from you.