Hurrican Shutters

Installing "Peace of Mind"

Homeowners Insurance

Posted by cat5shuttersllc on March 11, 2014

Homeowners InsuranceGet a list of discountsInsurance companies offer discounts to homeowners for improvements that make their homes a better risk. These include safety features such as indoor sprinklers, smoke detectors and dead bolt locks. Discount programs change frequently, and we can’t list all the possible discounts here. If you haven’t spoken to your agent within the past year or you’ve made a major home improvement, you may be missing out on significant discounts.

Raising your deductible—the portion of a claim that comes out of your pocket—is the easiest way to cut your insurance cost. Bumping your deductible from $500 to $1,000 can save you up to 25 percent on your premium. Raising it to $2,500 can save you 30 percent, and raising it to $5,000 can save you 35 percent or more. The downside, of course, is that you’ll be stuck with a bigger bill if you file a claim. But consider this: If you raise your deductible from $500 to $2,500 and your premium decreases by $500 a year, your savings will cover the deductible increase in four years. If you put those savings aside, you’ll have a cash cushion to pay the higher deductible. And after the first four years, you’ll save $500 every year without any extra financial risk. DIYers can often offset the impact of a higher deductible by doing part of a repair project themselves.

Replace washer hoses.Washing machine hoses that leak or even burst are a common cause of water damage. Some insurance companies offer a discount of up to 10 percent on your premiums if you replace the rubber hoses on your washing machine with no-burst stainless steel hoses (available at home centers and hardware stores). In 10 minutes, you could save five times the cost of the hoses on your next bill, but this is a smart move even if your insurer doesn’t offer a discount.

Drop additional structures coverageMost insurers assume your house isn’t the only building on your property. If you don’t have a stand-alone shed, garage or other structure on your property, remove this coverage and save yourself 5 percent.

Inform your agent about upgradesInsurance companies like to insure homes with newer plumbing and electrical systems as well as burglar alarms and sprinkler systems because these features reduce the risk of fire and water damage. If you make upgrades to any of these systems in an older home, let your insurance agent know. One homeowner we spoke with called her insurance agent to report some recent plumbing upgrades, and after a 15-minute conversation, the agent raised her overall coverage by $50,000 and reduced her annual premium by $400.

Think twice before filing a claimEvery time you file a claim, you risk higher insurance rates in the future. So in the long run, filing a claim can cost you more than you receive in a payout. Paying for a smaller loss yourself will almost always cost less than the premium increase you’ll face later. A good rule of thumb is don’t file a claim if it’s worth less than $1,000 over your deductible. Statistically, if you file two claims in a three-year period, or make claims related to maintenance issues such as a chronic leak or some missing shingles, you risk triggering a rate hike or worse. Your insurance company may even drop you completely. Just inquiring about a claim (without even filing it!) could raise your rates.

Make automatic payments.Many insurance companies will discount your premium 2 percent if you pay your premiums by “automatic withdrawal” from a bank account.

Beef up your garage door.Strong winds often wreck garage doors. So a tougher door might cut your premiums by 10 percent. You have two options: Install a new hurricane-resistant garage door, or use a retrofit kit with horizontal and vertical bracing to strengthen the existing door. A retrofit solution for a double-door garage can be ordered online or special-ordered from a home center. If you have a $1,000 premium, your payback would be about five

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