Home insurance tips

Looking for ways to keep your home insurance up to date? As 2015 draws near, now could be the time to act. Homeowners across the country will face harsher weather conditions in the coming months, possibly leading to more insurance claims. To protect yourself against rate hikes, you should place a heavier emphasis on making sure your home is properly insured, without overpaying.

Head into the new year with extra money by following these tips:

Keep an eye on your credit score
In many cases, the amount of money you pay for home insurance is directly related to your credit score. Though most people aren't aware their financial past plays a large role in determining perceived risk, insurance companies conduct a comprehensive background check of each applicant before issuing a policy. This is because past habits are good indicators of future behaviors, and if you aren't able to pay your debts in a timely manner, then you'll likely be hit with higher insurance costs. To prevent this, make sure you have sizable balances remaining on your credit cards, and pay more than the minimum each month.

Prepare for winter
With winter comes excess cases of insurance claims. That's because snow, wind, hail and ice can have a negative impact on the condition of your home. Update both the interior and exterior of your home to make sure it doesn't succumb to winter damage. You can do this by replacing any damaged shingles on the roof while also applying caulk to seal any holes or cracks. Additionally, ensure that your home isn't at risk of a fire by checking your heating system and keeping your chimney free of debris.

Reevaluate your home's worth
The more expensive your home, the more expansive your coverage is likely to be. However, if your home has depreciated or is being assessed at a lower market value, then you have good reason to approach your insurer regarding your policy when it comes time to renew.

Get the discounts you deserve
Most homeowners aren't aware of all the discounts they are eligible for. That's why 2015 is the perfect time to have a second look at your insurance plan. You can significantly reduce your homeowners insurance costs if your insurer offers discounts. Some of the more common discounts include being a long-time owner, being a loyal customer and updating your home with green materials. Discuss with your provider how you can save money on your premiums.

Increase your security
Having a better security system can protect you from theft, vandalism and break-ins. You'll also be lowering your insurance costs, because most providers offer security discounts. Though the initial upfront costs for installing an entire new system may be pricey, you can save a considerable amount of money in the long run by being proactive now. You don't have to opt for the most high-tech equipment to make your home is safer. You can simply buy a newer model of an alarm system, change your home's locks or have motion-sensor lights installed.

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