Homeowners insurance was designed to protect the homeowner from loss from fire, wind, theft, and any number of other disasters that can affect their home and property. It can be expensive, however, it can also be expensive to have to rebuild the home, or replace damaged or stolen possessions.
There are several things that you need to consider before buying insurance, and several things you can do to keep the cost of your premiums low.
1. Shop around. There are a lot of insurance companies out there. Find the best known, and investigate their track record of service and reliability. Use the same criteria, proposed deductibles and other factors when you check out each one.
2. It isn’t necessary to over insure. If you have a catastrophic loss, figure out what portion of the damages you could afford to pay for yourself. When you are estimating the worth of the contents of your home, don’t underestimate, but don’t go overboard in the other direction either. Your possessions are worth a fortune to you, but they might very well be a lot less expensive to replace than you think.
3. Factors inside and outside your home will affect the amount of your premiums. Obviously, if your home is in a flood zone, tornado alley, or near a fault line, there isn’t much you can do about it. However, there are some factors that you can change.
Homes that are made of wood siding, or cedar shakes are considered to be more at risk that those made of brick or stone. If you are heating with wood, coal, or space heaters, installing a regulation furnace will cut your insurance cost as well. One of the first questions you may be asked when buying insurance concerns the use of smoke detectors. These, along with the presence of fire extinguishers, will make a difference in the overall cost.
The outside of your home is important too. Broken sidewalks, dangerous steps and porches, and a general appearance of lack of maintenance are going to factor in. If your home looks as though it might fall down when the wind blows, or if someone is in danger of being hurt on your porch, you will be paying more for your insurance.
4. Insurance rates will go up in areas where there is more risk of robbery or vandalism. Keeping your home secure, providing outside lighting, proper door and window locks, and possibly even a fenced in yard, will lower your rates. Burglar alarms, and even grates on windows and doors, are sometimes advised.
Once you have picked out an insurance company, one of their agents will be able to give you more tips to keep your rates low and protect your home and family.