When buying a house in Lake George, Bolton Landing or anywhere in the Southern Adirondacks, there’s a lot to consider. When thinking about your budget, in particular, I like to remind my clients to factor in the cost of homeowner’s insurance as part of the overall investment.
How much you pay for homeowner’s insurance varies greatly depending on the size of your house, its location and the insurance company. If you are concerned about the cost of homeowner’s insurance, here are some steps you can take to lower your premiums, including a few things to consider even before you buy a home.
1. Choose Your Home Wisely
While you’re house hunting, remember that the size, location, condition, age and construction of a home all affect your homeowner’s insurance. For instance, homes near fire departments and hydrants typically cost less to insure, while waterfront homes on Lake George usually cost more. If there’s a swimming pool, you’ll need to consider liability insurance. However, if the roof is made of fire or hail resistant materials, you may even qualify for a discount.
2. Bundle Your Home & Auto Insurance
Speaking of discounts, many insurance companies offer a rate reduction if you have multiple policies with them. Depending on the insurer, bundling your home insurance with your auto insurance could save you an average of 10-20% on homeowner’s insurance.
3. Ask About Other Discounts
There are discounts out there for everything from being over 55 and retired to paying your premium via automatic bank payments. Some carriers even reward customers if all of the residents of a home are non-smokers. Others offer new homebuyer discounts, or special rates if you just bought your home. It pays to ask.
4. Make Your Home Safer
Insurance companies look at your home’s susceptibility to threats, such as fires, storms and burglary. You can often reduce risk and qualify for cheaper rates by upgrading your home’s plumbing and heating systems, installing burglar and fire alarm systems, or adding dead-bolt locks. Of course these upgrades can get expensive, so it’s always best to confirm the discount amount beforehand to properly weigh the cost benefit.
5. Raise Your Deductible
Your deductible is the amount you pay out-of-pocket for an insured loss before your insurance kicks in. The lower your deductible, the higher your premium. If you raise your deductible above the standard $500 to $1000, you may be entitled to a rate reduction. You’ll be responsible for more of the financial burden in the event of a loss, but if you have a savings for emergencies, it might be worth the risk to enjoy lower rates today.
6. Be a Loyal Customer
Many insurance companies reward policy holders with a discount for their loyalty. So once you choose a company, it usually makes sense to stick with them for the long haul. When shopping around, it doesn’t hurt to ask about loyalty programs and discounts, and find out how long before those kick-in. Of course, it also makes sense to do rate comparisons every few years to make sure the price you are paying is still competitive.
7. Reassess Your Coverage
Once you’ve purchased a home and homeowner’s insurance, you can continue to save by periodically reviewing your coverage and the value of your personal property. For instance, if you took out a floater policy or high-limit insurance for jewelry, antiques or artwork that has decreased in value or been sold, you may be able to cancel or reduce those riders.
More Ways for Home Buyers to Save
Homeowner’s insurance is money well spent. What you pay is more than worth it when you consider what it would cost to rebuild your home and replace your personal property in the event of a disaster. Just remember, your policy is based on the cost to rebuild your home, not the property value, which includes the land. So don’t include the land value when deciding how much homeowner’s insurance to buy.
Before signing on the dotted line, do your due diligence. Ask friends, family, and even your real estate agent for insurance company recommendations, get quotes from at least three insurers, and keep risk/cost factors in mind when shopping for a home.
As a real estate agent, I love helping my clients save money almost as much as I like helping them find the perfect home. If you are in the market for a house in Lake George, Bolton Landing or anywhere in the Southern Adirondacks, contact me online, or give me a call at (518) 321-1870.