7 Ways to Lower the Cost of Your Home Insurance in Seattle
It’s understandable if you don’t give a lot of thought to your homeowners insurance premiums. As a Seattle area resident, you’re living in a real estate market that’s one of the costliest in the nation, so the additional amount you’re charged for this coverage can seem like pocket change compared to what you’re paying to finance the home itself.
Besides, you likely pay your premium as a part of your mortgage, along with your house payment and tax bill. So you might not even know what the homeowners insurance part of that monthly payment bundle costs. As a result, it’s an expenditure that can easily get overlooked when searching for ways to rein in the budget.
The chances are good that you’re paying too much. Rates are set based on the insurance company’s estimate of the cost of replacing your home. So, Seattle’s high home sticker prices mean that replacement costs — and, therefore, home insurance rates — can be stratospheric.
Since you’re paying plenty for your home insurance, it would be to your benefit to find ways to reduce your premiums as much as possible. Here are 7 quick suggestions for potentially lowering the costs of home insurance in Seattle.
1. Lower Your Risk Factors by Protecting Your Home in the PNW
Regardless of the type of coverage, insurance companies base the premiums they charge on their prediction of financial risk. In other words, they must know whether they can turn a profit on the coverage. If not, they’ll end up paying out more than they take in. Therefore, one way you can reduce your home insurance premiums is to reduce that risk of payout on the insurer’s part.
Some insurance companies will grant discounts on such safety add-ons as burglar alarms, smoke detectors, and deadbolt door locks. To protect against damaging Seattle winds, such added features as storm shutters and reinforced roofs can earn better home insurance rates.
Ask your insurance agent what risk factors can increase or lower the cost of your home insurance in Seattle. Find out which additional safeguards can gain you a rate advantage above and beyond your additional investment while also increasing your sense of safety and security in your home.
2. Bundle Your Seattle Coverage
Does your home insurance policy come from the same company that handles your auto insurance in Seattle? How about your life insurance, boat insurance, or business coverage? There are definite cost advantages to “bundling” your home insurance with other policies offered by the same insurance company.
If you already have a good relationship with an agent on one or more of those other insurance plans, it doesn’t hurt to at least ask if homeowners coverage is also available. You might be able to save a lot of money in the process.
Do you have a summer cabin or second home? Combining homeowners coverage from the same source can also earn you rate savings on both properties. It’s at least worth exploring.
3. Raise Your Deductible to Save Money on Home Insurance in Washington
Your deductible is simply the amount of money you pay for covered damages before your home insurance steps in and pays the rest of the claim, up to your policy amount. The typical deductible is around $1,000, though homeowners can have a lower or higher amount. Sometimes much higher.
Accepting a higher deductible is a good way of markedly reducing your cost of coverage. That’s because the insurance company is responsible for a lower settlement for their policyholders who have higher deductibles.
Naturally, you have to consider your ability to pay the higher amount out of pocket. Raising your deductible from $1,000 to $2,000 might result in significant savings on your monthly premium, but how well can you afford to write a check or extend plastic for $2,000 if a tornado strikes your home and does several thousand dollars in damages?
Also, keep in mind that the deductible must be met by every claim you file. Therefore, if you file two claims in one year, you’ll be responsible for the first $2,000 on both claims.
On the other hand, if you bank the savings that the higher deductible yields on a monthly basis, you might have an easier time paying the higher out-of-pocket if you do suffer significant covered damage. This is a conversation to have with your insurance agent. See what your rates will be at various deductible levels and figure out whether the monthly savings is worth the added financial risk.
4. Don’t File Unnecessary Home Insurance Claims in the PNW
Remember, all insurance rates are set on the insurance company’s calculated perception of the return on their investment. If the perception is that you will make a certain number of claims against the coverage, the premiums are set higher than if the perception is that there will be fewer claims action on the part of the policyholder.
That’s true of all insurance contracts, not just homeowners. So what’s “too many” claims? There is no precise number to answer that question, but keep in mind that the total number of claims can boost your rates higher than one large claim. What that means is, if you file a $3,000 claim a month after filing a separate $2,000 claim, that $5,000 in claims (minus your deductible) is likelier to raise your rates than if you file just one $10,000 claim.
Why? Because multiple claims can be seen as a sign to the insurance company that there’s a likelihood that you could file a whole lot more over time. On the other hand, one large claim from someone without much or any additional claims action can be perceived as someone who had a single bad experience but won’t constantly be filing new claims.
So think twice about filing for relatively insignificant events. If, for example, you sustain $1,500 in storm damages and you have a $1,000 deductible, does it really make sense to risk raised premiums to file what’s only going to be just a $500 settlement once your deductible is met?
5. Keep Your Credit History as Clean as Possible in the PNW
Most of us are just a few steps away from taking a serious financial hit. A bout of bad health, a lost job, a poor business decision…and we may see the results in our credit report.
Even if it’s not our fault, a poor credit report can result in a rate escalation by your home insurance provider. It might not seem fair, especially if you’ve never missed a premium payment date by even a day, but it’s a fact worth noting: a poor credit history can result in higher home insurance premiums.
6. Stick with Your Existing Home Insurance Provider (or Shop Around) in the Seattle Area
We know it sounds confusing suggesting that you either do one thing or take the complete opposite action, but stay with us on this.
It can be advantageous to remain loyal to a good home insurance plan and agent relationship. That’s because some insurers will drop your rates after a defined term of service. For instance, you might qualify for a 5% premium reduction after three or five continual years. That same company might drop the rates again after six years of homeowners coverage, as long as your claims activity isn’t significant.
However, you won’t necessarily be offered this rate advantage from every insurer, which is just one reason you should also not be afraid to shop around. It’s natural to grow complacent if you get used to spending a set amount for coverage and stay ignorant to the fact that several of your insurance company’s competitors might be able to offer basically the same policy at better rates.
It can make a significant difference over the years (or even decades) that you own your home. That’s why you owe it to yourself and your family to shop around to see if other providers can off you a lower cost on home insurance.
7. Shop with an Independent Insurance Agent in Seattle
When you decide to either sign up for your first home insurance policy or find a better deal on existing coverage, you’ll always be best off to first connect with an independent insurance broker.
When you do business with agents who work for individual insurers, they only have access to the product offering from that company. An independent agent, on the other hand, represents the portfolio of several major carriers. That means they can first sit down with you and discuss coverage features, options, and price points before offering you a selection of home insurance plans that meet your needs.
Many independent agents represent a range of lines of insurance. If so, they can also give you access to diverse and affordable plans for auto, life, health, and other needs. Your independent agent partner will also make sure you know about all of the insurance discounts that might further reduce your cost of coverage in Seattle.
Find Affordable Home Insurance in Seattle, WA Today
Pick up the phone and dial (800) 455-8276 to talk with one of our independent insurance agents. Or meet face to face with an agent at an office location near you. You can also get a quick home insurance quote online. However you reach out, we’ll show you how to lower the cost of your home insurance in Seattle.
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