Robyn A. Friedman — Globe Correspondent

August 17, 2022, 11:35 am

Jim and Susan Graham live in a 2,757-square-foot, Cape Cod-style home in West Tisbury on Martha’s Vineyard. Valued at around $2 million, the three-bedroom home sits on more than 2 acres.

However, despite the fact that the Grahams had a huge insurance claim due to burst pipes in 2015 — and had to rebuild their basement and first floor — they’re saving enough on their homeowners insurance to nearly cover the cost of insurance for their three cars.

The Grahams are saving money in two ways: by bundling their home and auto policies and by increasing their deductible.

Anyone who watches television has no doubt heard Flo from Progressive or Jake from State Farm tout the benefits of bundling — using the same insurance company for home and auto insurance. According to Travelers, customers can save an average of 12 percent by bundling.

The Grahams are paying a total of $9,864 for their homeowners and auto insurance coverage — and that’s after a 20 percent credit for hoarding and an additional 10 percent credit for having a central station alarm system , which automatically alerts a monitoring center in the event of a break-in, fire or other problem. They also reduced their premium by raising their deductible to $10,000.

Homeowners insurance premiums continue to rise — the average premium rose 1.8 percent in 2019, the most recent year for which statistics are available, to $1,272, according to the Insurance Information Institute, an industry trade group. But it may come as a surprise to learn that more than 26 percent of Americans have never compared insurance quotes, according to a ValuePenguin survey conducted in 2021. That may be costing them money, as the survey also showed that 76 percent of consumers who shopped saved money. doing so.

“Some discounts are pretty common, like the packaging discount,” said Angi Orbann, vice president of personal insurance property at Travelers. “But there are a lot of other discounts that maybe aren’t as popular with customers.”

The Grahams are saving money in two ways: by bundling their home and auto policies and by increasing their deductible.

Here are some of the most common ways to lower your premium:

Improve home safety and security. Installing security devices such as fire alarms, burglar alarms, locks or smoke detectors reduces the risk to an insurance company and can qualify you for a substantial premium credit. “Water is a growing trend in terms of losses, and we offer discounts for installing water sensors,” Orbann said. “Greater discounts are available for valves that automatically shut off the water.” This is especially important for vacation homes, which can be vacant for months.

Update your home. Have you replaced your roof or, if you’re in a storm-prone area, installed impact windows or storm shutters? If so, you may be eligible for a deduction to fortify your home. Updating the electrical system reduces the risk of fire, which can also qualify for a rebate, according to Loretta Worters, a vice president at the Insurance Information Institute.

Go green. Some companies, such as Travelers, offer a green home discount that saves policyholders up to 5 percent on their premium if their property is LEED certified.

Improve your credit. Raise your credit score and you can lower your premium. “The industry has proven that there is a direct correlation between credit score and likelihood of loss because someone with poor credit is more likely to put off routine maintenance on their home,” said Spencer M. Houldin, president of Ericson Insurance Advisors. . in Boston. “To that end, most carriers will extend a substantial loan to those with higher credit scores.”

Avoid pretensions. If you have been claim-free for many years, you may be entitled to a ‘claims-free discount’.

Keep in mind that not all companies offer the same discounts – all the more reason to shop around for the best deal. And don’t forget to contact your insurance agent at least once a year to keep the company informed of lifestyle changes or changes in your home. You may even want to check with your agent if you are considering a move, as location is probably the most important factor in determining your insurance premium.

“Do your homework,” Worters said, “but your insurance agent is a good place to find the best ways to save money.”

Robyn A. Friedman has been writing about real estate and the local market for more than two decades. Follow him @robynafriedman. Send feedback to [email protected]. Subscribe to our free real estate newsletter at Follow us on Twitter @GlobeHomes.

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