Anyone who watches television has undoubtedly heard Flo from Progressive or Jake from State Farm tout 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 paid a total of $9,864 for their homeowners and auto insurance coverage — and that’s after a 20 percent package credit and an additional 10 percent credit for having a central station alarm system that automatically alerts a monitoring center in the event of a burglary, fire or other problem. They also lowered their premium by raising their deductible to $10,000.
Homeowners insurance premiums continue to rise — the average premium rose 1.8 percent in 2019, the most recent year for which statistics are available, to $1,272, according to the Insurance Information Institute, an industry trade group. But it might be surprising to learn that more than 26 percent of Americans have never compared insurance quotes, according to a study conducted by ValuePenguin in 2021. That’s likely costing them money, as the study also found that 76 percent of consumers , who shopped around, saved money by doing so.
“Some discounts are quite common, like the package discount,” said Angie Orban, vice president of personal property insurance at Travelers. “But there are many other discounts that are probably not as familiar to customers.”
Here are some of the more common ways to lower your premium:
Improve home security and safety. Installing security devices such as fire alarms, burglar alarms, locks or smoke detectors reduces the risk to an insurance company and can get you a significant premium credit. “Water is a growing trend in terms of losses, and we offer discounts for installing water sensors,” Orbán said. “Greater discounts are available for valves that automatically shut off the water.” This is especially important for vacation homes that may sit empty for months at a time.
Renovate your home. Have you replaced your roof or, if you’re in a storm-prone area, installed impact-resistant windows or blinds? If so, you may be eligible for a rebate for strengthening your home. Updating the electrical system reduces the risk of fire, which can also qualify for a rebate, according to Loretta Walters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute.
Go green. Some companies, such as Travelers, offer a green home rebate that saves policyholders up to 5 percent of their premium if their property is LEED certified.
Improve your credit. Increase your credit score and you may lower your premium. “The industry has proven that there is a direct correlation between credit score and the likelihood of loss, as someone with bad credit is more likely to put off routine home maintenance,” said Spencer M. Holdin, president of Ericson Insurance Advisors in Boston. “To that end, most carriers will extend significant credit to those with higher credit scores.”
Avoid claims. If you have no claims for a number of years, you may be entitled to a ‘no claims discount’.
Keep in mind that not all companies offer the same discounts — another reason to shop around for the best deal. And be sure to contact your insurance agent at least once a year to inform the company of lifestyle changes or changes to your home. You may even want to check with your agent if you’re considering moving, as location is probably the most important factor in determining your insurance premium.
“Do your homework,” said Worters, “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 home market for more than two decades. Follow her @robynafriedman. Send comments to [email protected]. Subscribe to our free real estate newsletter at pages.email.bostonglobe.com/AddressSignUp. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeHomes.