There's a certain irony about insurance. As a service, the different policies you buy for driving, living in your home and getting medical treatment are probably the most expensive things you own. Normally, when you spend that much, you want the maximum use. That way, you feel you have value for money. So you drive that mean machine whenever you get the chance. But insurance is the one thing you hope never to have to use. It means you have suffered some level of personal disaster and, no matter what you may tell yourself, the money that comes in from the insurers never makes you feel better about the losses. With premium rates rising faster than inflation over the last ten years, now is the time to draw the line in the sand and reduce the rates you pay.
Increase the deductible. If you agree to self-insure a proportion of the losses, you will earn a discount - usually between 10 and 30% depending on the amount of deductible and the type of damage you agree to cover. The risk is that you suddenly have to find the cash to trigger the release of the rest of the claim. This requires self-discipline. When you agree to self-insure, you have to save a capital sum against the risk. Without an emergency fund, you can find yourself caught in a disaster situation without enough on the credit cards to pay the deductible. Remember, some deductibles are a percentage of the rebuilding costs so we can be talking several thousand dollars. Once your emergency fund is substantial enough, start disaster-proofing your home. Not only can this earn discounts, it reduces the risk of having to make a claim. So, for example, if you live in an area where high winds are common, fit storm shutters and reinforce the roof. If there's a high risk of burglary, add a security system. It's up to you to manage your spending to get the maximum savings on the premium rates.
Check you are receiving all the discounts you are entitled to. Start by bundling as many policies together as possible. Find out who gives the best rates for multi-vehicle and home cover. Now ask about discounts if you do not smoke, are happily married, have been claim-free for the past five years, or are a senior citizen. If you press the local agent, you can get a list of all the available discounts and go through them to see which apply to you. Before you confirm the policy, do a full comparison check. Insurance rates are not set by a central agency. Thanks to competition, some insurers offer better rates than others. If you do not get quotes from all the major insurers, you will never know what you might be missing. It only takes a few minutes on a site like this and it could save you a lot of money.
Cheap home insurance is a natural goal. We all resent paying out against risks that might never happen. But never cut the price you pay and lose all the real value in the service. Many insurers offer cheap rates but give bad service if you claim. When you get home insurance quotes, look for affordable rates from reputable companies.