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Lower those insurance rates
RE/MAX Genesis
Wednesday, February 27, 2008 • Posted February 26, 2008 10:00 PM

Did you know that Texas homeowners pay the highest insurance rates in the nation? Texas consumers pay an average of $880 annually for homeowners insurance. Apparently, insurance carriers in our state believe that Mother Nature tends to hit Texas with some pretty hard blows, including rain, hail, wind, snow, and hurricanes. We all wind up paying the price for the property damage that results from these events.

Sweet-talking your insurance carrier is not likely to bring your premiums down, but there are some things you can do to save on insurance. Whether you’re in a home or are looking to buy one, consider these money-saving tips.

The property matters

If you are looking for a house, take the property into account. Newer homes are usually in better shape and may cost less to insure. If the electrical and HVAC systems are less than 10 years old, your insurance will likely be cheaper than a home where those systems are older. Some carriers offer discounts of five to 15 percent if you purchase a new home.

You might also consider requesting a CLUE (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) report from the current owner of the home. Only the homeowner can order this report contains that contains the insurance claim history of the property and can help you judge some of the problems the house may have.

Finally, take a close look at your home’s location. Flood insurance, for example, is not covered by a standard homeowners policy. So if you purchase property in an area where flood insurance is required or where you feel you need this protection, your overall insurance costs will be higher.

Raise your deductible

Deductibles are the amount of money you have to pay toward a loss before your insurance coverage kicks in. A home-insurance deductible can be as low as $250, but raising your deductible produces considerable savings. If you do choose to increase your deductible, make sure you can afford to pay more toward a loss that occurs.

Use the same company

Many insurance carriers will give you a discount if you purchase multiple policies from them, such as homeowners and automobile insurance. A multi-line discount will typically save you five to 15 percent. But if you choose to go with one company, make sure the savings really yield the lowest overall price.

Don’t include the land

The land that your house sits on is not at risk for theft, hail, wind damage, etc. So when you are shopping for homeowners insurance, don’t include its value when deciding how much insurance to buy.

Secure it

Most insurance carriers will offer a discount of at least five percent for added security protections, such as dead bolts and smoke alarms. But some companies will cut your premium by as much as 15 or 20 percent for installing a more-sophisticated security system, like a burglar alarm that notifies the police or an indoor sprinkler system. While these systems are not cheap, they may save you money in the long run. Before you decide to buy or install any of these security measures, find out from your insurer if the system qualifies for a discount and how much you’d save on premiums.

Stop smoking or retire

Easier said than done, right? Well, smoking contributes to thousands of residential house fires each year. If you are not a smoker, or choose to quit, contact your insurance carrier. Some will offer to reduce the premium if there are no smokers living in the house.

If you are 55 years or older, you may qualify for a substantial discount. Some lenders offer up to 10 percent. When shopping for a policy, ask the carriers if they offer this discount.

The amount you pay for homeowners insurance can vary by hundreds of dollars per year, so spend some time asking questions and shopping around. If you’re not sure what to ask or who to trust, ask your Texas Realtor for advice. An expert in the field, your Realtor can help you understand this and many other aspects of buying and owning a home. For more information on homebuying process, I invite you to visit TexasRealEstate.com.

For services, contact RE/MAX Genesis at 830-833-2000 or lightfoot@moment.net.

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