Reduce Your Homeowner Insurance Rates

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1 Reduce Yur Hmewner Insurance Rates One f the mst frequent cmplaints I get frm my clients is the cntinued escalatin f hme insurance rates. Rates are increasing because f the years lng series f weatherrelated claims that began back in The price increases began years befre this as cmpanies began t get an adequate rate fr the cverage they ffer. It was understd years ag that insurance cmpanies culd nt cntinue t pay mre in hmewner claims than the premium they cllect. And hmewner insurance lsses have nt prduced a prfit fr the industry in a lng time! If yu are t reduce yur hmewner insurance rates then it will cme frm buying hme insurance with the gal f absrbing the minr lsses. Hme insurance premiums are rising fr a number f reasns ther than claims experience. That said, lss results are driving cmpany managers t take aggressive rate actin in additin making changes t hme plicies. Since past claims histry drives future hmewner insurance rates, rates have risen t meet the bttm line f the insurance carriers. They simply cannt pay ut mre than they cllect. They are required t maintain statutry reserves t meet the uncertain future bligatins and regulatrs keep a clse eye n the bttm line t. It wuld simply be a mistake nt t address rate inadequacy r declining reserves. T d s might invite the Ohi Insurance Cmmissiner t take ver the carrier and attempt t rehabilitate the bk f business. S, it ges withut saying that if yu are t reduce yur hmewner insurance rates yu'll have t change cverage, increase deductibles, absrb minr lsses, r seek anther carrier. It nly makes sense that yu can't slve all f the rates pressure by seeking anther carrier. Increasing hmewner insurance rates are nt cnfined t just a few cmpanies. Carriers that carefully underwrite their new business and existing clients ffer hpe that yu wn't have t keep suffering rates increases brught n by the general claims experience f the industry.

2 While yu are cnsidering yur ptins it is wise t remember that it is nly thrugh a device like hme insurance that yu can affrd the insurance yu need t prtect yur hme. By aggregating many clients f a similar need int a risk pl can the rate be reduced enugh t cver the expected claims f the grup while prviding all buyers an affrdable rate. This cncept is knwn as the "law f large numbers." The cncept means that as the grup f similar risk units ges up, the ptential lss results becme mre predictable. As the cmpany gains cnfidence in their predictins they are mre willing t ffer a rate we can affrd t insurance ur hmes. While yu want t reduce yur hmewner insurance rates, yu als want t insure with careful carriers and manage yur risk fr lss in a way that desn't abuse the cncept f insurance. It is never a wise idea t use insurance as a way t finance the maintenance f yur hme. Many f the claims paid fr wind lsses n a rf ccurred after the rf had passed its nrmal lifespan. As a cnsequence, insurers are scrutinizing rf cnditin as tight as I can remember in my 37 year insurance career. What yu can d? If yu want t reduce yur hmewner insurance rates, r stem t rise f csts, then yu mst f the things that can benefit this gal are already in yur hands. It begins by understanding yur cverage and understanding yur cverage will help yu cntrl claims and premium csts. Having the right cverage can mean the difference between devastatin and recvery, and making a claims that prbably shuld nt have been made in the first place. If yu ever have a cncern abut what is r is nt cvered, yu can always call us fr clarity and ask hw these tips might apply t yu. Ways t help cntrl yur rates? I suggest using higher deductibles. The ld standard deductible f $500 shuld nw be raised t $1,000 as a minimum. Of curse, yu shuld pt fr higher deductibles nly if yu can easily pay that amunt if yu need t file a claim. If yu have a $500 deductible, yu are already paying a surcharge since all f ur carriers have mved the minimum deductible t $1,000 in recent years. Generally, we d nt suggest the use f actual cash value (ACV) settlement ptins n hmewner insurance plicies when yu ccupy the hme. Hwever, ne way t reduce yur hmewner insurance rates is t cnsider the cst f using lwer ACV limits versus the cst f insuring n a replacement cst basis. It has been my experience that replacement insurance, while appearing mre expensive, cvers the full cst f replacement. Actual cash value cverage (standard n mst plicies) pays the depreciated cst f the insured items and this means yu will need t fund the difference t rebuild r cnstruct yur hme

3 frm yur pcket. This is usually penny-wise and pund-flish in almst every instance where I have checked fr ther clients. As mentined earlier in this article, carefully decide whether t submit a claim fr minr lsses t yur hme r prperty. If yu will nly get a cuple hundred back after the deductible is met, yu may want t pay ut f pcket. I have fund that filing a claim may affect yur premium in future years because f the payment f incidental lsses and the accumulatin f a pattern f making frequent claims. The frequency that yu make claims is nw measured ver five t seven years and after ne lss in this time frame yu will have exceeded what many carriers cnsider nrmal claims frequency. Peridically review yur plicy with us t ensure yu get the discunts yu are entitled t and that yu have the right endrsements. It might be yur gal t reduce yur hmewner insurance rates but yu may als discvered areas where yu have a hle in yur cverage that yu find it better patched with an apprpriate cverage endrsement. Either way, yu want yur cverage t respnd t lsses that are significant and while absrbing minr claims makes sense, it desn't make sense t leave imprtant cverage ff the plicy. Understand that yur claims and credit histry are imprtant parts f the calculatins we make in making hmewner insurance rates. If yu are ging t be successful in a gal t reduce yur hmewner insurance rates yu will need t understand that yur credit scre, claims histry, and age/cnditin f yur hme will impact yur rates. It is yur bligatin t maintain yur prperty and t understand that hme insurance is nt a maintenance agreement. In fact, if the claim is nt sudden, accidental, and cvered by the plicy, it desn't make sense t make the claim. In the end I want yu t have all the cverage yu buy but ne f ur gals is t help yu avid the unnecessary claims that neither pay r are cvered. These events will appear n yur recrd fr years and have an impact n whether yu can btain insurance at a cmpetitive rate in the future. Hw t reduce the ptential fr a hmewners claim? Perfrm regular maintenance t yur hme and make imprvements Use and maintain wrking smke detectrs including battery perated detectrs. Install, use and maintain wrking carbn mnxide detectrs t have an early warning n ptential heat system prblems. Keep yur gutters clean s they drain away water that wuld therwise end up at the base f yur hme. Maintain an envirnment arund yur hme where trees are trimmed, bushes are kept back, s they dn't create additinal hazards.

4 Cmmn sense and recent events strngly suggest that when ging ut f twn and away frm yur hme yu shuld turn ff yur water line. Regularly inspect yur sump pump, and clear debris near external drains, and install a back up system if pssible. Establish a schedule t replace the hses n yur washing machines every five years r less. Cnsider ding the same n yur dishwasher. What s nt cvered by hmewners insurance? Plicies differ, but typical exclusins include damage frm: Earthquakes and earth mvement, including subsidence unless yu have purchased this cverage. Flding r water damage caused by sewer backup r basement leak Fld cverage is available thrugh this agency with the NFIP. Fld damage requires a separate plicy. Sewer and drain backup cverage is nt autmatically included but is available in mst instances Leaks thrugh the wall, flr r windws in yur basement are nt cvered. Pwer failure riginating ff yur premises is nt cvered. Sme cverage fr refrigerated fd can be cvered with an endrsement Cllapse is nt cvered. If yu want t reduce yur hmewner insurance rates with hmewners rates rising as they are, it s imprtant t have a plicy that fits yur needs and critical that yu assume sme f the respnsibility fr the cverage and minr lsses. Call us t ask questins, make adjustments and gain peace f mind. Hw des Ohi stack up? 9th lwest premiums in the U.S. 2 States with lwer rates are: Arizna, Delaware, Nevada, Washingtn, Wiscnsin, Utah, Oregn and Idah 3 The latest data shws the average Ohi hmewners premium was $725, cmpared t the natinal average f $1,023 2 Ohi s average hmewners premiums went up by $53 in 2013, by $27 in 2014, and a $29 avg. increase is expected in Certain items, like jewelry and guns, may have limited cverage.

5 2 Surce: Ohi Department f Insurance (ODI) based n 2012 data, the mst recent available frm Natinal Assciatin f Insurance Cmmissiners (NAIC). 3 Surce: Ohi Insurance Institute (OII) based n 2014 NAIC data. 4 Surce: OII. This infrmatin was inspired by a similar article prvided t me by the Prfessinal Independent Agents Assciatin f Ohi but has been largely rewritten. The statistics at the end were researched by the PIAA. We are a prud member f the PIAA f Ohi and America. This infrmatin was inspired by a similar article prvided t me by the Prfessinal Independent Agents Assciatin f Ohi but has been largely rewritten. The statistics at the end were researched by the PIAA. We are a prud member f the PIAA f Ohi and America. This article was written by Terry A. McCarthy, a 37 year veteran f the insurance industry, wh has wrked bth in management as an agency wner wrking with clients in the real wrld. I am bth a trained business and financial cnsultant but is als a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU). I am a graduate f Central Michigan University with a Bachelrs f Applied Arts in Bradcasting and Jurnalism. I am licensed in Ohi, Michigan, and Indiana. Insurance Assciates Agency Inc. is a West Chester, OH based insurance agency ffering mst frms f persnal and business insurance including Aut, Hme, Life, Business, Bnds and Retirement needs. The ffice is pen n weekdays, Mnday thrugh Friday, frm 9-5. Other hurs are available by appintment.

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