The cost of home insurance is on the rise nationwide. From May 2021 to May 2022, 90% of homeowners saw an increase in their quoted annual premium from the year before, according to the July 2022 Policygenius Home Insurance Pricing Report.
Experts point the blame at a rise in inflation, a shortage of labor, and an increase in expensive natural disasters. Here’s what you can do to keep your home insurance costs down.
1. Reshop your home insurance and compare companies
It’s recommended that you reshop your home insurance annually. It’s important to compare multiple policies and get a few quotes from different companies to make sure you’re not missing out on a better deal elsewhere. You can switch home insurance companies at any time, even if your current policy is still active.
2. Bundle your home and auto policies
A major way to score a discount with an insurance company is to bundle your policies. Many insurers offer multi-policy discounts, and you can get anywhere from 5% to 30% off your premiums when you bundle your home and car insurance policies together.
3. Raise your deductible
Your deductible is the amount you’re responsible for paying when you file a claim before your insurance kicks in to cover the rest. Typically, insurers allow you to set your deductible at $500, $1,000, or $2,000. The higher your deductible, the lower your premiums — and vice versa. Your deductible is subtracted from your overall claim payout, so keep that in mind when choosing the amount.
4. Replace your roof
The age and condition of your roof has a big impact on your home insurance rates. Generally, if your roof is newer and in good shape, you’ll see lower rates than if it’s older and in bad condition. You may see several hundreds of dollars off your premiums for a new roof.
5. Upgrade your household systems
If you have older household systems — like aging pipes or aluminum electrical wiring — updating those systems with newer materials can shave some money off your home insurance premiums. That’s because insurers base your home insurance premiums on how likely you are to file a claim. If you have old pipes and wiring, you’re more at risk for fires and water damage. By replacing these systems with updated ones, your home is less likely to be accidentally damaged.
6. Install smart home technology and safety features
Just like replacing your home’s wiring and plumbing can help mitigate your home’s risk, so can installing safety features — like sprinklers and deadbolt locks. Insurers also offer discounts if you fortify your home with smart home technology, like smart locks, water leak detection systems, cameras, burglar alarms, and more.
How to save on home insurance if you live in a high-risk area
Another factor that affects your home insurance costs is where your home is located, even down to what ZIP code you live in. If you live in an area of the country that experiences frequent natural disasters, like wildfire-prone California or hurricane-prone coastal states, taking these steps can help lower your premiums.
Fire-proof your home
Home insurance rates in California went up nearly 10% from May 2021 to May 2022, according to the Policygenius Home Insurance Pricing Report. This is likely due to the effects of climate change that’s resulting in costly wildfires, the increase in inflation, and the shortage of labor.
There are several programs in place in the Golden State to help homeowners keep their insurance costs down, including Firewise USA and Wildfire Prepared Home. In order to qualify for these programs and receive discounts off your home insurance premiums, you have to take steps to fortify your home against wildfire damage.
Here are a few examples of the criteria your home will need to meet:
- Class-A fire-resistant rated roof that’s clear of debris
- Decks and porches that are clear of debris and don’t have trees or shrubbery on them
- No fallen pine needles, leaves, and other debris in your yard
- Noncombustible vents or ones resistant to corrosion, ember, and fire
Install wind-resistant upgrades
If you live in an area that experiences severe wind damage, storm-proofing your home may result in a discount on your home insurance. You can do this in many different ways, including:
- Storm-proof garage doors
- Impact-resistant coverings over all windows and doors with glass openings
- Secondary water-resistant layer on your roof
- Double-wrap roof-to-wall attachments
Once you take the steps to wind-proof your home, consider getting a wind mitigation inspection. This is when a certified inspector comes to your home and assesses how wind resistant your house is. Once you get the report, you can show it to your insurance company to see if you qualify for discounts.