These great tips can reduce your home insurance premiums by 10 to 45 percent
and save you up to $300 a year on your car insurance. How much you can save
depends on where you live, your insurance company's rate
structure and risk philosophy, your individual policy and your
insurer's list of available discounts.
If you're installing new siding, install Class A rated fire-resistant materials such as metal, fiber cement
shingles and clapboards, and
masonry. Using these materials can
reduce your premium by up to
20 percent, especially in dry
areas of the country that
are more susceptible
to fire damage.
A swimming pool (especially with a diving board), a hot tub
or a trampoline.
A dangerous condition on
your property (like cracked
steps or a low spot that collects
water or ice) that could
injure someone. If the injured
party files a claim with his or
her insurance company, your
rates will rise.
Having a pit bull, Rottweiler,
Doberman Pinscher or wolf
mix. These breeds affect your
insurance rates because dog
bites cost insurers about $310
In hurricane-prone areas, installing
wind-resistant shutters can save you up to
30 percent on the hurricane portion of your
premium (often about 60 percent of the total
premium in coastal areas), which means an
overall savings of almost 20 percent. For an
average home, basic metal shutters start at
about $700. If your wind premium is $1,000, the
shutters would pay for themselves in three to
five years. Search online for “storm shutters” or “hurricane shutters.”
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 ($20 a pair 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.
Insurance companies offer big discounts (up to 45
percent) for tough roofing materials.
Talk to your agent to learn about the exact discounts for materials
other than standard asphalt. In most cases, metal roofing
gives you the largest discount, but it also costs two to four
times as much as standard asphalt shingles. For a less expensive
roof that still qualifies for a discount, consider heavier grade
Class 4 modified asphalt and shake shingles.
Some companies will discount your premium 2 to 5 percent if
you have safeguards in place to warn of
plumbing failures. These include battery-operated or
plug-in temperature sensors ($20 to $60
depending on the type) which detect furnace
breakdowns and leak detectors ($15 to
$200 depending on the model). For purchase info, search
online for “leak detectors” and “temperature sensors.”
It doesn't make sense to keep
paying for collision and comprehensive
(C&C) coverage for a car that is ten or more years old.
Find the “book” value of your
vehicle on the Internet
(nada.com, edmounds.com or
kbb.com) or at the library. Then
add up the annual premiums for C&C.
Chances are, you're paying for the full value of the vehicle
every three years. If you're comfortable accepting a low level of risk, cancel your
C&C coverage and put that money away. You'll probably come out ahead.
Some companies offer incentives
for paying the invoice within 10 days,
rather than taking the full 30 days.
If your insurer offers a “prompt
pay” discount (ask for one), it may
be worth your while to reprioritize
your bill payment schedule. If you're
temporarily short on cash, it may
even make sense to pay with your
This one's a no-brainer. If your kid is
away at college, minus the family car,
your insurance rates will be lower. Tell
your agent that your kid is at school
and work out arrangements for those
few days when he or she is home. If
your student has a car at school, you
should still notify your agent. The rates
may be lower based on the school's
If you drive 20 miles to work every day, you're paying
a higher premium than people who drive only
5 miles. So if you get a new job closer to home, tell
your agent immediately. Also, if you're lucky
enough to retire, tell your agent so they can reclassify
you as a “pleasure driver.” You'll see a drop in
your premiums in both cases.
Insurance companies check your driving
record regularly and increase your premium
on the very next bill if they find a traffic violation.
But they're not always so quick to reduce your premium
later when the violation falls off your record. So
keep track of the dates of your tickets and ask for a reduction
once your record is “clean” (usually three years, but
check with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles).
If you get a small dent or other minor damage
on an older car, think twice about filing a claim
and getting it fixed. To avoid rate hikes, it
might be worth your while to just live with it if
there are no safety issues. And if you have towing
coverage on your policy and use it to get
your jalopy towed every six months, be ready
for a 10 percent rate increase on your next
renewal. Buy a roadside assistance plan (available
from AAA, AARP and other vendors)
instead. It's cheaper.
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.
Copyright © 2013 The Family Handyman. All Rights Reserved.