Columbia SC insurance costs aren't cheap. The average U.S. homeowner pays $952 for insurance on their home. While it’s not a budget-breaker, we all would like to pay less. Here are a few helpful strategies and tips that not only better protect your home from loss, but can help save you money, too.
First, it’s important to make sure you have the proper amount of coverage on your home. It’s vital to determine whether you’re currently paying too much or not enough. Columbia SC insurance costs experts recommend working with your insurance agent to calculate the estimated cost of rebuilding your home should a disaster occur. Keep in mind the replacement value of your home will likely be a great deal higher than the market value. Why? Because if you have to completely rebuild your home, it will probably be more expensive than what you paid for it. In addition, if you have a mortgage, your lender will usually only require coverage in an amount equal to what you paid for the home. In actuality, the mortgage holder really only cares about sufficient coverage to pay off the loan amount in the event of a total loss resulting from a fire or natural disaster.
Your insurance agent can assist you with ideas about upgrades and loss prevention steps you can take to lower your Columbia SC insurance costs – without running the risk of being underinsured. We’ve identified ten items that could reduce your homeowners insurance premiums.
Choose a higher deductible.
If you’re comfortable with paying for smaller claims out of your pocket, you definitely need to increase your deductible. Since most homeowners plan to use their insurance coverage for major perils, your deductible should be at least $1,000. Insurance experts say the more you’re able to pay from your cash reserves or savings, the more you’re able to save. Homeowners with $5,000 or even $10,000 deductibles can save even more – if they are capable of covering the costs.
Consider bundling your policies.
Insurance companies that offer policies covering home, auto or life often provide a discount for bundling them together under the same company. Experts suggest shopping each of the policies separately and comparing the costs to what bundling them would be. If the savings warrants, it makes sense to deal with one reputable, highly-rated insurance company.
Don’t sweat the small claims.
Avoid making small claims if possible. Should you incur damage to your home that you can handle out of pocket without filing a claim with your insurance company, do it. Like most insurance, the more claims you make (not just the size of each claim) the greater the likelihood your premiums will increase. In addition, before you think you’ll just change insurance carriers, experts point out many insurance companies are members of a larger database with information on customer claims. So, just changing carriers won’t necessarily mean you’ll start over with a new company – your premium may still be higher.
Opt for paperless billing.
Insurance companies – like many other business who receive monthly payments – always seek their own ways to cut costs. Encouraging customers to choose paperless billing has been one way insurers can do this. In turn, by passing on some of the cost savings to their customers, paperless billing can offer you a small discount on your Columbia SC insurance costs.
Pay premiums annually instead of monthly.
Most insurance companies include a small processing fee for premium payments paid monthly. However, some companies offer cost savings if you elect to pay your premium annually, or even semi-annually. Depending on how much the processing fees are, you could save up to $50 or more.
Install a central alarm system.
If you install a central alarm system – one that’s monitored by a home security company – you could qualify for a discount. Insurance companies reward their customers who perform proactive measures to limit or prevent damages that could potentially occur to their insured premises. An alarm system notifying first responders like the fire department or police department usually minimizes losses to both the homeowner and the insurance company.
If your home is older, update it.
Older homes, of course, likely have outdated electrical and plumbing systems. Such systems can often be responsible for damage – and resulting losses – for the homeowner and the insurance company. By replacing the electrical and plumbing systems you can save money on your Columbia SC insurance costs by minimizing the risk older systems pose.
Professionally install storm shutters and doors.
Notice we used the word, “professionally.” If your home is located in a hurricane-prone area, having professionally installed protective storm shutters and storm doors can save money on your insurance premium. Check with your carrier ahead of time and find out what they will require for a premium discount. Most companies will want receipts for the work performed or other certification that the work was completed by a professional installation company. Having specially designed storm shutters and doors may help save Columbia SC insurance costs.
Install an automatic generator.
During a power outage – especially in some parts of the country – water pipes can freeze quickly, creating considerable damage in the event of breakage. If you have an automatic generator wired directly to your home’s electrical system you can avert such a disaster. In return, most insurance providers will give you a money-saving discount for being prepared – and potentially eliminating damages or loss.
Exercise customer loyalty.
One of the hallmarks of good customer service is rewarding customers for their continued brand loyalty. Insurance companies do the same thing. For example, one nationally recognized insurance company will lower a customer’s deductible by $50 for every year the customer has had the policy – without increasing the premium. It’s a simple, but effective way of saying “thanks” for being a loyal customer. The net effect, of course, is the customer is saving money by not having to pay for the lower deductible. It's just another way you can save on Columbia SC insurance costs.
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