Anyone who watches television has surely heard Flo from Progressive or Jake from State Farm about the benefits of bundling – using the same insurance company for both home and auto insurance. According to Travelers, customers can save an average of 12 percent by bundling.
The Grahams are paying a total of $9,864 for their homeowners and auto insurance coverage — and that’s after a 20 percent credit for bundling and an additional 10 percent credit for the central station alarm system, which automatically signals a monitoring center. Break-in, fire, or other problems. They also lowered their premiums and raised their deductibles to $10,000.
Homeowner’s insurance premiums are on the rise — average premiums rose 1.8 percent in 2019, the latest year for which data are available, to $1,272, according to the Insurance Information Institute, an industry trade group. But it may come as a surprise to learn that more than 26 percent of Americans have never compared insurance quotes, according to a 2021 survey conducted by ValuePenguin. It probably cost them money, because the survey also indicated that 76 percent of consumers who shop around have saved money. By doing so.
“Some discounts are common, like the bundling discount,” said Angie Orban, vice president of property for personal insurance at Travelers. “But there are a lot of other discounts that customers probably aren’t familiar with.”
Here are some common ways to lower your premium:
Improve home safety and security. Installing protective equipment, such as fire alarms, burglar alarms, locks, or smoke detectors, reduces the risk to the insurance company and may qualify you for a significant premium credit. “Water loss is a growing trend, and we offer discounts for installing water sensors,” Orban said. “Large discounts are available for valves that automatically shut off water.” That’s especially important for vacation homes, which can be vacant for months at a time.
Update your home. Have you replaced your roof or, if you’re in a hurricane-prone area, installed impact windows or storm shutters? If so, you may be entitled to an exemption for strengthening your home. According to Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute, updating electrical systems reduces the risk of fire, which may also qualify for a rebate.
go green. Some companies, such as Travelers, offer a green-home discount that saves policyholders up to 5 percent on their premiums if their property is LEED-certified.
Improve your credit. Increase your credit score, and you can lower your premiums. “The industry has proven that there is a direct correlation between credit score and the likelihood of loss, as people with poor credit are more likely to postpone regular maintenance on their home,” Spencer M. said Holdin, president of Ericsson Insurance Advisors. Boston. “To that end, many carriers will give significant credit to those with high credit scores.”
Avoid claims. If you’ve been claim-free for several years, you may qualify for a “claim-free discount.”
Note that not all companies offer the same discounts—all the more reason to shop around for the best deal. And remember to check in with your insurance agent at least once a year to let the company know about lifestyle changes or changes in your home. You might also want to consult your agent if you’re considering a move, as location is probably the most important factor in determining your insurance premium.
“Do your homework,” Worters said, “but your insurance agent is a good place to find the best ways to save money.”
Robin A. Friedman has been writing about real estate and the housing market for more than two decades. Follow him @robynafriedman. Send a comment to [email protected]. Subscribe to our free real estate newsletter pages.email.bostonglobe.com/AddressSignUp. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeHomes.