Top 5 in Real Estate Network® Members are dedicated to providing you with the most up-to-date, helpful real estate information. This monthly newsletter, "Real Estate Matters," offers articles on a range of topics that will inform you in your real estate pursuits.

Top 5 Ways to Save Money on Your Homeowners Insurance

In today’s economy, homeowners need to save money wherever possible. If you’ve been the victim of damage this winter, thanks to Mother Nature, you may be confronting the not-so-pleasant realities of your homeowners’ insurance policy. From high deductibles to lack of coverage to rising rates, many homeowners have been left to foot a big—unexpected!—bill.
As a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I am well versed in some of the ways you can save money when it comes to homeowners insurance. For starters, you may be able to save hundreds of dollars a year by shopping your homeowners’ policy around, so please e-mail me if you need a referral or two. Also, here are some great, money-saving ideas from the Federal Citizen Information Center (www.consumeraction.gov):
Increasing your deductible is an easy way to save money on a monthly basis. Even raising it by just a few hundred dollars can make a big difference in your premium.
Ask your insurance agent about discounts. You may be able to get a lower premium if your home has safety features such as dead-bolt locks, smoke detectors, an alarm system, storm shutters or fire-retardant roofing material. Long-term customers and those over age 55 may also be offered discounts.
Insure your house, not the land under it. After all, your land will still be there even if your home is damaged. If you don't subtract the value of the land when deciding how much homeowner's insurance to buy, you will pay more than you should.
Don't wait until you have a loss to find out if you have the right type and amount of insurance. Discuss with your insurance agent exactly what types of damage are covered, including natural “acts of God.” Many homeowners are caught offguard by this loophole.
Purchase enough coverage to replace what is insured. "Replacement" coverage gives you the money to rebuild your home and replace its contents. An "Actual Cash Value" policy is cheaper but pays only what your property is worth at the time of loss - your cost, minus depreciation for age and wear.
Consider any special coverage you may need for valuable and/or unique items, such as computers, cameras, jewelry, art, antiques, musical instruments, stamp collections, etc.
Remember that flood damage may not be covered by a standard homeowners’ policy. If you live in an area prone to flooding, take advantage of the National Flood Insurance Program.

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