Money Essentials

Home insurance: Maximizing your savings

Many homeowners discounts are available, but you have to ask for them.


You can't change many of your risk factors. But you can save money by taking advantage of discounts that insurers offer for behavior that lowers your risk.

That could be anything from driving less than the average number of miles per year to quitting smoking.

Certain types of people -- senior citizens, for instance -- also are eligible for price cuts. You'll also save by installing certain safety or protective equipment in your home.

There's one catch: You have to ask. By one estimate, consumers lose some $300 million a year by not taking advantage of discounts.

Here are some other money-saving tactics:

Combine coverage. Because it's cheaper to service two policies from the same customer, insurers often cut premiums up to 15% if you link auto and homeowners policies.

Sweat the small stuff. Frequent claims are red flags for insurers; some won't renew policyholders with more than two claims in three years. So try to carry more of the risk by covering claims under $1,000.

Also: Try to boost your credit score. Many insurers give better rates to homeowners with good credit histories.

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