Whether you are a first time home owner or you have experience with home ownership there are two things that are often on your mind - home owners insurance and property taxes. Today we will deal with home owners insurance specifically ways that you can keep your cost down. Before addressing the cost of home owners insurance let me sound off that the cheapest is not always the best. Be sure to choose a reputable company that honors genuine claims. Once you've done that, here are some strategies to help you lower your insurance premium.   

 1.         Research Before You Buy: Prior to taking the plunge to buy your home do some basic research not just about the neighborhood but about the specific home you are going to buy. The quickest way to do this is to review the claims history of the home. Request for a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (C.L.U.E) Report. This will detail all claims on the house including how much was paid for each claim and what the claim was about. So if your seller tells you there are no water damage issues but you see flood claims on the report that is a red flag that can potentially cost you more on your insurance claim. C.L.U.E. is available from various sources including LexisNexis  for a small cost of about $30. If you an existing home owner requesting this report could help you correct any misinformation in the report too.  

 2.         Improve Your Credit History and Credit Score : Your credit score affects both your mortgage rate and your insurance premium rate. Insurance companies will always ask for your permission to pull your credit report and you might be surprised how much weight is attached to your credit score in determining your premium. Just one more reason to maintain a good credit history and credit score. Be sure to pay those bills as and when due. Request your credit report once or twice a year and correct any false or outdated negative reports with all three credit bureaus. There are products and programs that can assist you in routinely monitoring your credit history and score. These programs such as SafeScore will alert you of any changes in your credit report and credit score. Other systems will in addition give you Identity Theft Protection.   

 3.         Secure Your Home with a Wireless Monitored Alarm System:     One of the questions insurers often ask is whether you have a monitored alarm system in the house. Typically you can get anything from a 5% to 20% discount on your insurance premium simply by having one this. In the time it takes you to read this article several homes would have been burglarized in the United States. It's reported that a burglary occurs every 15 seconds in America. You owe it to you and your family to make your home one of the least attractive to a burglar on your street. Insurance companies know that given a choice to break into a home with an alarm system and one without thieves have repeatedly stated that they would choose the one without the alarm system. Even merely having a sign in the yard that your house is protected could be the determining factor whether yours is broken into or your neighbors. In choosing an alarm system it is recommended that you opt for a wireless system. It's common knowledge that burglars can easily disarm your system by disabling your phone line if you have a wired system especially if you have an older system with no backup in place. A wireless system eliminates this problem. In addition to reducing your insurance premium, a wireless system could also reduce your household bills by eliminating the need for a landline.    

 4.         Get Multi-Product Discount:  Combine your auto and home owners insurance with the same provider whenever possible. Some insurers will give you up to 15% discount when you get both policies from one insurer. Be sure to get individual quotes for both services from different companies and then determine whether combining both saves you money. One thing for sure is that it saves you the hassle of dealing with two different companies.   

5.         Raise Your Deductible:  Deductible is the amount the home owner has to pay before the insurer pays on any claim. Generally most people opt for a $500 deductible because they do not want to have to pay a large sum out of pocket in time of claim. However if you have a great claim history or do not live in a disaster prone are you may consider raising your deductible to $1000. Raising your deductible can give you up to 25% reduction in your yearly premium. Keep in mind that you only pay the deductible if you make a claim but you pay your premium every year whether or not you make a claim.   

 6.         Make Your Home More Disaster Proof:  In addition to all the above tips, there are other things you could do to increase the safety of your home at minimal cost. These include having properly working smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and deadbolts on all entry doors. Insurers also consider the presence of trampolines and swimming pools as increased hazards and could give you higher premiums for them. Eliminating them could potentially lower your insurance cost. For more information on safeguarding your credit history and credit score or in choosing an alarm system or to lower the cost of your existing alarm system call (412) 436-1990 and reference this article.

Gigi Chukwumezie, MBA

www.dartosucceed.info                              (412) 540-4885                   Text:  getinfo   To: 55469