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Homeowners insurance is a policy that covers the damages to your home and personal property in the event of an emergency.  Most policies cover repairs, replacement costs, liability and extra living expenses.  Over the last 10 years, insurance rates have steadily increased with the average yearly premium now standing at $952.  The good news is we have 6 ways you can lower your rates without sacrificing coverage.

Increase your deductible

Your deductible is how much you’ll have to pay out of pocket before your insurer starts to pay a claim.  Most insurance companies commonly recommend $500 as your deductible.  However, by selecting a higher amount, your premium will be lower.  Choose the maximum you can afford to pay in the event of an emergency.  Even if you only raise your deductible to $1,000, you may be able to lower your premium.

Shop around

Many people suggest shopping for insurance every three years to ensure you’re receiving the best rates.  Call a few insurance companies and compare the potential savings.  Depending on the insurer, you may receive discounts for being claims-free, married or widowed, or for having a home security system installed.

Bundle your insurance policies

Many companies offer special discounts to customers who purchase two or more policies from them.  You can save up to 15 percent by purchasing your home and auto insurance from the same company.

Install a home security system

Installing dead-bolt locks, smoke detectors or burglar systems in your home can save you 5 percent on your premium.  Depending on the insurance company, you may be able to reduce your premiums up to 15 or 20 percent by installing a sophisticated sprinkler system and a home security system that automatically alerts the police or fire department in the event of an emergency.  Since not all systems may qualify, be sure to ask your insurer for product recommendations and determine how much you will save by having it installed.

Upgrade your home

Ask your insurance agent what improvements can be made to protect your home from natural disasters.  You may be able to lower your premium by adding storm shutters, shatter-proof glass or reinforcing your roof.  Also consider upgrading your plumbing and electrical systems since they reduce the risk of broken pipes and electrical fires.

Improve your credit

Many insurers believe that a person’s credit history is a good indicator of how risky they are to insure.  Insurers have found that people with poor credit tend to file more claims so those policyholders pay more for coverage.  Improving your credit can help lower your premium.  Some strategies for cleaning up your credit include paying your bills on time, keeping your balances as low as possible and checking your credit report regularly to catch any mistakes.