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
4 Strategies to Reduce Taxes in Retirement
retirement planning

4 Strategies to Reduce Taxes in Retirement

Don’t let the possibility of higher taxes in the future sink your retirement income plan. Consider these four ways to help manage your taxes, keeping …
May 31, 2021
12 Housing Stocks to Ride the Red-Hot Market
investing

12 Housing Stocks to Ride the Red-Hot Market

The U.S. has a housing shortage and a love affair with home improvement, both of which could create tailwinds for this group of housing stocks.
June 8, 2021

Recommended

Do You Need Life Insurance When You're Young?
Financial Planning

Do You Need Life Insurance When You're Young?

As millennials have families and take on financial obligations, we need life insurance to protect those we may leave behind.
May 24, 2021
Is Your Home Insured Against Disaster? Better Check
Becoming a Homeowner

Is Your Home Insured Against Disaster? Better Check

Your insurance policy might leave you high and dry when things get wet (or hot, or shaky). We'll talk about making sure you're fully covered. Also, in…
May 18, 2021
Annuities: How They Could Work for You
Financial Planning

Annuities: How They Could Work for You

No doubt, investing in annuities can be a tough call for the active investor. But there comes a time when relinquishing some control in exchange for r…
May 6, 2021
Umbrella Insurance – Do I Need It?
insurance

Umbrella Insurance – Do I Need It?

You might think your home and auto insurance offer more than enough coverage, but if you’re wrong, one very bad day could wipe out your wealth. That’s…
May 5, 2021