GREENSBORO, N.C. — If you thought your home insurance premiums could get cheaper over time, think again.
On average, bills are projected to climb about 7% this year. And with natural disasters on the rise, there likely won’t be much relief anytime soon. But there are some hidden ways you can take some control of your premium. Consumer Reports reveals the savings strategies to manage rising insurance costs.
With homeowners’ insurance premiums expected to rise faster than inflation, Consumer Reports says now is the time to shop around.
"You do get a loyalty benefit for sticking around with companies, but it’s not as great as the benefit from getting an overall lower price from shopping around," said Toby Stanger of Consumer Reports.
BUNDLE YOUR INSURANCE
Once you’ve found the right insurer, CR says bundling is the best way to get a big discount.
That means buying your homeowners and auto coverage from the same company, which can save up to 30 percent. Think about extra items to bundle, like coverage for a boat or motorcycle.
RAISE YOUR DEDUCTIBLE
Raise your deductible by at least $500. Moving to a $1,000 deductible from a $500 can shave your premium by 25%. while a low deductible could save money if you have a claim, odds are you won’t have one anytime soon.
REPORT HOME IMPROVEMENTS
Anytime you replace old plumbing, add security cameras, or install gas or water leak detectors, let your agent know. You may be able to trim off 2 to 6 percent with each additional item.
If you live in a fire-prone area, even cutting back dry brush around your home and outbuildings could generate a credit on your bill.
GREAT SERVICE IS PRICELESS
And finally, when choosing an insurer, land on one that provides great service — regardless of the premium cost. Two insurers have consistently landed in the top tier of Consumer Reports' ratings: Amica and USAA.
Consumer Reports says a major reason for the hike is extreme weather-related disasters. But even if you don’t live in a disaster-prone area, your rates could increase, so it’s even more important to use these cost-saving recommendations.