Ways to Cut your Homeowners Insurance Premiums

1. Live near a fire hydrant. This is probably only relevant to people choosing a lot and building, but it is a nice discount.

2. Make sure there are close fire and police stations. It’s cheaper to ensure your house if emergency personnel can get to it in a crisis.

3. Install safety features like a burglar alarm, hard-wired smoke detectors, and fire sprinklers.

4. Make sure your shingles are fire resistant. Wood shingles look nice, but make it easy for fires to spread. Try choosing a synthetic material instead.

5. Limit your claims. Your policy may say it’s covered when a vandal breaks your window, but is it worth filing? Claims will increase your premiums. If the damage is small, it may be better just to pay for the repair. (And don’t bother asking the insurance company for a straight answer. They won’t say how much and if a claim will affect your rates.)

6. Keep your home in good repair. Things like a cracking foundation make it an insurance risk.

7. Avoid “attractive nuisances” like swimming pools. If some uninvited “guest” decides to take a dip and gets hurt or drowned, you could be liable. I’ve even heard of steep driveways costing the homeowner because kids will be tempted to skateboard on them or use them as a bike ramp.

8. Keep your dog behind a fence to avoid any conflicts. He may be a gentle beast, but if someone’s mutt picks a fight and the owner tries to break it up, your insurance company might foot the bill and take it out on your premium.

9. Take good care of your guests, and if you have children monitor their activities when they bring friends home. Kids will be kids, but if a neighbor child decides to climb your tree and falls it could affect your rates. (Of course the fact that someone got hurt is more of a concern, but it is also an insurance risk.)

10. Keep your sidewalk shoveled and de-iced in the winter so no one slips on your property.