1. SHOP for the BEST RATES  Just as you would a car, you can shop for a better insurance rate. Check with your neighbor or your State Department of Insurance.

2. RAISE YOUR DEDUCTIBLE  Deductibles are the amount of money you have to pay toward a loss before your insurance company starts to pay a claim, according to the terms of your policy. The higher your deductible, the more money you can save on your premiums. Insurance companies typically recommend a deductible of at least $500. If you can afford to raise your deductible to $1,000, you may save as much as 25 percent on your premium. Be careful!

3. BUY YOUR HOME AND AUTO POLICIES FROM THE SAME COMPANY Often companies that sell homeowners, auto and liability coverage discount 5 to 15 percent off your premium if you buy multiple policies from them. Make sure the 'discounted'  rate is lower than buying the different coverages from different companies by comparing individual rates.

4. DON'T INCLUDE THE VALUE OF YOU LAND The land under your house isn't at risk from theft, windstorm, fire and the other perils covered in your homeowners policy. So don't include land value to determine  how much homeowners insurance to buy. If you do, you will pay a higher premium than you should. Your agent should remind you of this and help you based on your homes square footage.

5. HOME SECURITY  Discounts of at least 5 percent for a smoke detector, burglar alarm or dead-bolt locks are common. In a new home, these may be standard. In older homes, probably not. Additional discounts may exist based on the type of system or even how close you are to a fire station or hydrant.

6. GROUP COVERAGE If your employer administers a group insurance program, ask if a homeowners policy is available and is a better deal than you can find elsewhere. (You still have to get your quotes) In addition, professional, alumni and business groups sometimes offer insurance packages which include a discount for association members. Again, compare with your own quotes on the same type of policy. Often, you may need an Insurance package  customized.

7. STAY WITH THE SAME COMPANY  If you've kept your coverage with a company for several years, you may receive a discount for being a long-term policyholder. But again, compare rates to see if rate is the best you can do!

8. LOOK FOR PRIVATE INSURANCE IF YOU ARE IN A GOVERNMENT PLAN - Your home may be uninsurable! How? In some states, insurance companies are trying to "reduce their risk" for one reason or another. The requirements may be so strict, that in effect, you cannot get insurance. Flood Plains, high crime, higher incidence of fire or other damage. You may be eligible for a state sponsored plan and save money. Again, attempt to get quotes from an insurance company. Often, you have to be denied first.

9. CONSIDER THE COST OF HOMEOWNER'S INSURANCE BEFORE YOU CHOOSE A HOME You may pay less for insurance if you buy a house close to a fire hydrant or in a community that has a professional rather than a volunteer fire department. It may also be cheaper if your home’s electrical, heating and plumbing systems are less than 10 years old. If you live along a shore line,  a masonry home may be cheaper to insure because it's more wind resistant. But - it may also be more expensive. If you live in an earthquake zone, look  a wooden frame home may be a better buy or one that has been designed for such area. Rates may vary by 5 to 15 percent.

10. ASK ABOUT OTHER DISCOUNTS A number of discounts may be offered by companies as we mentioned,  but they may not offer the same discount or the same amount of discount in all states. You must ask your agent or company representative about any discounts available. In the end, it all adds up. Examples a)  If you're at least 55 years old and retired, you may qualify for a discount of up to 10 percent at some companies. b) You have an Auto Policy and Homeowners Policy  c) Your child has moved out or reached a certain age (they may have been driving your car). Nothing is automatic. Shop, compare and ask. Insurance Knowledge is powerful! Be informed.

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