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Saving on Homeowner's Insurance

No discussion on saving money could be complete without a section on Homeowner's Insurance. Many owners are not clear on exactly what their insurance covers or what the level of coverage is. They assume that if there is a catastrophic loss, they will be covered almost without exception. It is a smart idea to take a close look at your current Homeowners' Insurance policy and review the following major components.

Homeowners' Insurance checkup

What is covered: Have you made any additions or improvements to your house that will need to be added to the policy? If you have, inform your agent in writing and send photographs to validate the improvements.

What is the coverage level: Has the value of your house risen in the last year? If you do not have a rider that automatically raises your coverage on an annual basis, you will need to adjust your level of coverage to match the increase in property value.

Guaranteed replacement cost: Does your policy stipulate that you will be paid a guaranteed replacement cost or is there a limit to your coverage. Review this with your agent.

Liability Insurance: What are the limits of your coverage in a situation where someone may be injured in your home?

Content Insurance: Have you added any expensive items (computers are a prime example) that need to be added to your policy?

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How to maximize your coverage and minimize your premium cost

The following are a number of methods that you can use to potentially lower your annual premium for your Homeowners' Insurance. Consult your agent to see which apply and how much you can save. In addition, most will add to the safety and security of your house.

Dead bolts: Install dead bolts on all exterior doors.
Security alarm: Install a security alarm
Smoke detectors: Have smoke detectors on all living levels.
Fire extinguishers: Have operational fire extinguishers available in the house.
Consider a higher deductible: If you are comfortable with the possibility of having to pay a bit more out of pocket in case of a loss, raising the deductible (the amount you will pay when there is a claim) will lower your annual premium.
Multiple policy discounts: Have your homeowners' policy and auto policy with same insurer: Many insurers will give you a discount if you maintain both policies with them.

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