No one enjoys paying for homeowner’s insurance, but it’s something every responsible homeowner has to do. The key is to find cheap homeowners insurance. Finding inexpensive homeowner’s insurance is not always easy, especially if you live in an area like Kissimmee, Florida, which is prone to natural disasters like hurricanes and flooding.
For this reason, insurance is often more expensive in Florida, and you’ll probably have to purchase a separate flooding rider as well, just to ensure you have coverage for such a catastrophic event. Fortunately, by following these tips for finding cheap homeowner’s insurance, you can lower your costs.
12 Tips for Finding Cheap Homeowners Insurance in Kissimmee, FL
The best way to save money on homeowner’s insurance is to comparison shop by getting quotes from several companies. Insurance rates vary widely based on a number of factors, including how much your home is worth, how much insurance you need, any riders you decide to purchase, where your home is located, and any specific luxury items inside the house that you decide to cover. Your situation is totally unique, so it’s important to shop around for cheap homeowners insurance.
Fortunately, the internet has made it much easier to compare prices on homeowner’s insurance than it used to be. A variety of online tools are available to help you determine how much you will pay for your policy. Be sure you know what type of policy you want, how much insurance you’re looking for, what your home is worth, and if your mortgage company requires any specific riders (such as flood or earthquake riders) before you begin your search.
Use Referrals With Caution
While it is worthwhile to get recommendations for homeowner’s insurance companies from friends and family, what is the cheapest option for them may not be the cheapest option for you. This is because everyone’s needs are different, especially if they live in another part of the country. Florida is unique in that it faces many natural challenges, so the companies insuring your friends and family may not have to deal with the same situations, making their insurance cheaper than yours.
Referrals from comparison websites are a little more helpful because they do take into account various situations. However, unless you are able to input your own information, those referrals are again, fairly generic and the companies they say are the cheapest may not be when it comes to your unique circumstances.
Bundle Your Insurance Policies
Insurance companies want to sell you as many policies as possible not only because they earn more premiums, but also because when you have more than one policy with a company, you are less likely to change insurance companies on a whim. It takes more effort to research and buy more than one type of policy than if you have just one, so insurers love it when you bundle with them.
Bundling insurance policies also benefits you, though. Since insurance companies want to have as much business of yours as possible, they are often willing to give you a discount on each policy you have with them. The more you have, the more you save. So, consider moving your auto and life insurance policies to the same company that has your homeowner’s policy to get a discount on all of them.
Be Careful Not to Over-Insure
Many people believe they should be insured for the cost to re-buy their house in the event it is destroyed by fire or other disaster. However, the market value of your home is determined by the actual structure, the land, and the location of your home, while homeowner’s insurance only takes into account the structure. You do not get compensated for damage to the land.
Therefore, you should only insure your house for what it would cost to rebuild it if it were to be entirely destroyed. This will lower your premiums and still give you peace of mind that you’re covered. Additionally, consider insuring your belongings for replacement value rather than actual cash value due to how quickly material goods depreciate on average. Jewelry and antiques may be exceptions, but always double-check their values before insuring them so you don’t overpay.
Itemize Your belongings
In conjunction with being careful not to over-insure, you will want to go with a plan that allows you to itemize your belongings and insure them separately under a more specific homeowner’s insurance policy than a general one. You can definitely get a general policy from just about any insurance company, but you will probably be over-insuring your belongings because you are accepting a policy that covers most homeowners.
By inventorying and itemizing your belongings, you are sure to pay for only the insurance you need. Of course, it is time-consuming to do this, but if you’re serious about getting cheap homeowners insurance, this is one of the best ways to do it. For instance, you may not need a lot of coverage for electronics, but the average homeowner does. With an itemized policy, you will only pay to insure the electronics you actually have.
Skip Guaranteed Replacement Cost Policies
Numerous types of homeowner’s insurance policies are available, and premiums vary based on which coverage you get. As mentioned above, replacement value plans will be slightly higher than cash value plans, but for belongings, the replacement value is better so that you are covered for depreciation. Replacement value plans typically have a cap that will limit the insurance company’s responsibility, but you will usually be able to buy a new item to replace the one that was damaged or stolen.
Guaranteed replacement cost policies, though, are almost never necessary and are very expensive. These policies allow homeowners to replace their belongings and house no matter what the cost. You can exceed any plan limits under the cheaper options and are assured of getting brand new items to fully replace anything that was damaged or stolen. These plans should be avoided if you’re looking for the cheapest homeowner’s insurance policies, especially in Florida.
Choose a High Deductible Policy
One of the best ways to get cheap homeowner’s insurance is to choose a policy with a high deductible. The deductible is the amount of money you will pay out of pocket for a claim before the insurance company pays its part. The deductible you select should be as high as you can afford in the event that you need to make a claim. Of course, keep in mind that you will be responsible for that amount, so it should not cause a financial hardship for you to pay it.
According to research, choosing a $1,000 deductible instead of a $250 deductible can save you as much as 24% on your overall premiums. Choosing a $5,000 deductible instead of a $250 deductible can save you up to 37% in premiums. With a high deductible, you are somewhat gambling that you won’t need to use the insurance, and if you do, you’ll have to pay the deductible, but at least it’s capped so you won’t be stuck with the entire bill.
Make Some Changes
Just like taking a driver’s education course can lower your premium on auto insurance, making some changes to your house can give you discounts on your homeowner’s insurance. For example, some insurance companies will give you a break on your premiums if you make your home safer from potential disasters. Adding carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and even deadbolts to your doors can earn you savings. They may not be substantial, but every little bit helps.
Installing a security system is one of the biggest changes you can make to your home that will lower your premium with many insurance companies. It should be one that is professionally monitored, but there are some DIY systems available that aren’t too difficult to install and will still qualify for a discount. In Kissimmee, you may also want to consider exterior upgrades that better protect against storms and hurricanes, such as shutters, shatter-proof windows, and a more durable roof.
While a swimming pool is nice to have, especially in Florida, insurance companies do not like them. They present a huge potential risk of injury and death, so companies charge more in premiums to protect against those risks. Trampolines are another fun apparatus that children love, but again, due to the increased odds of an injury occurring to someone using the trampoline, insurance companies charge higher premiums.
Another somewhat surprising risk that could impact your homeowner’s insurance premium rates is having a dog. Some breeds are perceived as presenting a higher risk of injury than others, including pit bulls, rottweilers, and German shepherds. If you own one of these breeds, it is possible you could pay more in premiums because the insurance company is mitigating its risk of having to pay out on a serious bite or other injury.
Keep Your Credit Rating Up
Insurance companies are a business and as such are looking to make a profit. They do not want people to file claims, even though they know that there will be many times when claims are valid. However, people with poor credit are more likely to file claims than people with excellent credit. Therefore, if you have a bad credit rating, you will pay more in premiums to protect the insurance company against higher risk.
If you currently do not have good credit, there isn’t much you can do right away, but you can begin rebuilding your score, which will pay off in the long run. Once you see your credit score rising, ask your insurance agent to review your policy. You don’t have to wait for your annual renewal to have your policy re-evaluated based on your creditworthiness. If it has risen enough, you will see lower premiums right away.
Review Your Policy Annually
It’s easy to just renew insurance policies without really looking at what coverage you actually need and what you’re paying for. Additionally, it’s also easier to accept a rate increase from your current company than go through the hassle of comparing policies with other companies like you did when you first purchased insurance. However, insurance companies are aware that people are less likely to change companies once they’ve been customers for a while and make take advantage of your inaction.
Shopping for insurance each year can be a headache, but if you’re looking for cheap homeowners insurance, this is a great way to get it. Other insurance companies will want your business and will try to provide quotes lower than your current rates. Comparison shopping is a benefit to policy holders, especially when you can do it online. Consider all new items you’ve purchased and whether any changes have been made to your home for the most accurate rates.
Ask About Additional Discounts
You may not know about all the discounts that are available to you as a homeowner through your insurance company. Keep in mind that companies want you to pay as much in premiums and file as few claims as possible so they can make a profit. However, there may be some discounts that you qualify for that can lower your premiums, even if only by a little.
Some insurance companies offer discounts for non-smokers, senior citizens, and members of certain associations or universities. Even choosing to receive your bill electronically rather than by mail can earn you a 5% discount with some companies. It never hurts to ask about additional discounts. The worst a company can say is no. At that point, you can start looking around for companies that do have these types of discounts.
Finding the cheap homeowners insurance does require some work on your behalf, but the amount you eventually pay will be well worth the effort. Keep searching until you find a policy that you can both afford and will provide you with adequate coverage. There are plenty of options out there and one will be right for you. If you’re ready to start your search, contact AbsoluteChoice Insurance today, and we’ll get you on the path to coverage.