How to lower your homeowners’ insurance premiums to make ends meet

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With inflation, everything costs more and making ends meet is a constant struggle for local families. So, News4JAX is giving you tools and tricks to help you save on some of your more expensive recurring bills.

Monday, we showed you ways to cut the cost of your car insurance – by possibly 15% to 40%, and now we want to take you step-by-step on ways to save on your homeowners’ insurance.

The Insurance Information Institute (III) does data-driven research to offer resources for people so they can better understand insurance and assist them in making the right decisions about their policies. III has put together some of the best ways you lower your homeowners’ insurance premium.

Shop around: While you may have to invest some time to shop around with different insurance companies, III says the investment could equal significant savings and peace of mind.

  • Ask your friends. They will be honest with you about their experience with an insurer.
  • Contact your state’s Department of Insurance: Florida | Georgia. The department acts as your ally in the insurance world and can do everything from resolving consumer questions and complaints to recovering unpaid insurance benefits to preventing discriminatory policies and practices.
  • Check online insurance quote services.
  • Look up the financial stability of an insurance company you are considering with rating companies like A.M Best and Standard & Poors.

Raise your deductible: Your deductible is the amount of money you will have to pay out of pocket towards a loss BEFORE your insurance company starts to pay a claim. The amount of that deductible is spelled out in the terms of your policy. The higher your deductible, the less you will pay for your premiums. Most insurers recommend a $500 deductible. However, if you can afford to raise your deductible to $1000, III says you can save as much as 25 percent on your premiums.

Find out if you are insuring too much for your home: What you paid for your home and the cost to rebuild are not the same. III says people can get this confused and end up paying a higher premium than you should. The land under your house is not at risk from incidents like theft and fire, so don’t include that in the value when deciding how much homeowners insurance to buy.

Buy policies with the same insurer: You’ve heard of the term “bundling.” Consider buying your home and auto insurance policies from the same insurer. III says you will save five to 15 percent off your premium if you buy two or more policies from one insurer. But, while shopping around, make sure this combined price is still lower than buying the different coverages from different insurance companies.

Check for special discounts: Companies differ, and they may offer something different depending on the state but ask about special discounts. For example, if you are retired and over 55 years old, III says some companies offer a discount up to 10%. Why? Because you’re home more and less likely to be burglarized.

Longtime customers can benefit: III says some insurers will reduce their premiums by five percent if you stay with them for three to five years and by 10% if you remain a policyholder for six years or more. But make certain to periodically compare this price with that of other policies to make sure you are getting the best rate.

Make your home disaster-resistant: Ask the insurance agent or a company representative to tell you the specific protection improvements you can make on your home that will lower your premium. For example, adding storm shutters or stronger roofing materials may cut your premium.

Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis was successful in getting an initiative passed to help you save on certain home-hardening products. The Home Hardening Sales Tax Exemption is in effect until June 30, 2024. You will not have to pay sales tax for impact-resistant doors, impact-resistant windows, or impact-resistant garage doors.

Beef up your home security: III says smoke detectors, burglar alarms, and dead-bolt locks can get you at least a five-percent discount with some companies. Check with your insurer to see what security upgrades you can do to help save on your premium.

For additional ways to save, visit the Insurance Information Institute website.

For information on flood insurance, find out more about the National Flood Insurance Program on FEMA’s website.