insurance

An Easy Way to Save on Homeowners Insurance

Boost your home-insurance deductible and you’ll not only reduce your premiums but also avoid filing small claims that could cause a rate hike.

How high a deductible can I get on my homeowners insurance? If I boost my deductible, how much can I save on my premiums?

If your deductible is $500 now, increasing it to $1,000 can lower your premiums by up to 20%. Most insurers offer much higher deductibles, too, which is a popular strategy for people who have enough money in emergency funds to cover potential costs. Raising your deductible is a good way to reduce your premiums, and it makes you less likely to file small claims that could result in a rate hike.

At Chubb, about half of the wealthiest customers choose a deductible of $10,000 to $50,000. “For homes here in Malibu that are valued at $10 million to $25 million, having a $25,000 deductible isn’t out of the ordinary at all,” says Derek Ross, president of Kulchin Ross Insurance Services, an independent agency in Tarzana, Cal.

The higher the deductible, the bigger the premium savings. Let’s say, for example, you have a policy with Fireman’s Fund with a $1,000 deductible and a $3,000 annual premium. You’d save about 24% by boosting your deductible to $2,500, 37% by raising it to $5,000, 47% by raising it to $10,000 and 53% by raising it to $25,000. Compare the premium savings with the extra dollar amount at risk to make sure that boosting your deductible is worthwhile.

You should file a claim only if it is at least several hundred dollars more than the deductible. “If your insurer raises your rate by 10% for three to five years after you have a claim, that could easily exceed the amount the insurer paid beyond the deductible,” says Ross. Whatever deductible you choose, keep enough money in an emergency fund to self-insure up to the deductible -- or even a few hundred dollars more.

The risk of self-insuring may not be as high as you think. The average person files a homeowners insurance claim only once every eight to ten years, says Jeanne Salvatore, of the Insurance Information Institute. You could take the money you save in premiums and add it to your emergency fund each year so that you’re prepared when you do have a claim, recommends Ross. You could also use the extra money to boost your dwelling, property and liability coverage levels by tens of thousands of dollars.

Most Popular

Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
The 25 Cheapest U.S. Cities to Live In
places to live

The 25 Cheapest U.S. Cities to Live In

Take a look at our list of American cities with the lowest costs of living. Is one of the cheapest cities in the U.S. right for you?
October 13, 2021
Gen X: How to Make Sure Your Future Self Remains Funded
personal finance

Gen X: How to Make Sure Your Future Self Remains Funded

If you’re a Gen Xer, like me, now might be the right time to talk to a financial professional to learn more about how to adjust your retirement planni…
October 20, 2021

Recommended

Is Hybrid Long-Term Care Insurance Right for You?
Long-Term Care Insurance

Is Hybrid Long-Term Care Insurance Right for You?

If you hate the idea of paying for long-term care insurance you may never use, a hybrid policy could be for you. The money you paid in premiums doesn’…
October 28, 2021
Is Your Home as Protected as You Think? It’s Time for a Policy Review
home insurance

Is Your Home as Protected as You Think? It’s Time for a Policy Review

It’s better to find out your coverage falls short before something happens rather than after. Here’s how to get started and what to look for as you re…
October 27, 2021
11 Reasons You Don't Want to Retire in Florida
retirement

11 Reasons You Don't Want to Retire in Florida

An overabundance of boomers, critters, sweat and weirdness. Welcome to the dark side of the Sunshine State.
October 6, 2021
Penalty for the Unvaccinated?
Coronavirus and Your Money

Penalty for the Unvaccinated?

A “yes or no” box to verify your vaccination status could be part of open enrollment for health insurance in the future.
September 29, 2021