Tips To Lower Your Homeowners Insurance

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insurance policy signing homeownersFirst of all, I am not an insurance agent.  Never have been and never will be one.  I make my money the old fashioned way.  But you don't live as long as I have and not learn a thing or two along the way either.  So here are my hard learned tips for you to save some money on your homeowners insurance.  Just remember, if all else fails you can always just ask your agent for a discount.  What's the worst that could happen?

 

OBVIOUS DISCOUNTS:

  • Shop – C’mon people.  Use the internet and find those bargains.  Just make sure you are comparing all the terms and coverage the same way.
  • Credit Score - Maintain a healthy financial approach and your credit score can drive discounts too.
  • Bundling  – Group multiple policies together like homeowners; life; auto; business; RV; etc..
  • Deductible – bumping your deductable up from the industry standard of $500 to $1000 can save up to 25%.
  • Protection – Smoke Detectors; burglar alarms; security systems; gated communities; storm shutters; sprinkler systems; or dead bolt locks can all help reduce your insurance costs.
  • Replacement Values – Don’t over insure yourself by insuring what you think the house is worth; it’s tax value or an appraisal.  The true value of your home is based upon many factors including the cost of the lot or property itself.  A policy for replacement value does not need to include the cost of the land.
  • Claim Free – Well duh.  But the logic here is quite simple.  Fewer claims = lower risks = cheaper policies.  So don’t claim every little thing.  You insurance should be for the big stuff.  This also ties into raising your deductible to help you avoid filing those little nuisance claims.

HIDDEN DISCOUNTS:

  • Retirement - Some companies offer retirees a significant discount.
  • Neighborhood changes – Did they just build a new fire station near you?  Fire hydrants?  Did FEMA redraw the local Flood Boundary Maps? 
  • Method of Paying – My insurance company offers a discount if you pay the whole amount in a lump sum once a year.  Or perhaps you’d rather have automatic payments straight from your checking account? 
  • Deductibles – sometimes there are policies with a deductible based upon a percentage instead of a fixed dollar amount.  Make sure you know what you have purchased and if its variable.
  •  Smoking – Smokers pose a higher risk of accidental fires and insurance companies really don’t like those either.
  • Group Discounts – Do you qualify for an affiliate discount through your credit unions, college alumni association; professional organizations; or even what credit card you use?
  • Cash Value – This is the opposite of the replacement value option.  If you really don’t care to rebuild your home and simply want to “cash out” for the depreciated value of the property, this is much cheaper insurance.  It is risky however because guess who sets the value of your stuff?

home icon

Last but not least - the simplest and easiest discount is to just ask for it, really.  Homeowners insurance is a sometimes volatile and competitive business…..because real estate is a dynamic market.  Property values change all the time and all the costs that insurance companies use to estimate your policy costs move around too.  By never asking your insurance agent to review the policies your rates may just stay artificially too high. 

 

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College Costs HOW Much?! Financial Aid Tips to Prevent You from Losing Your Mind

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Today, two-thirds of college students have to take out loans to pay for their education, and the average borrower graduates with close to $27,000 in debt!  Right now, the standard repayment schedule is 10 years – meaning that your kids will likely have kids of their own before their college tuition is paid for!

Wouldn’t it be nice to help them come up with a payment plan that doesn’t need to be paid back (and, no, I’m not talking about winning the lottery, suddenly agreeing to a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, or going on a bank robbing spree).
 
Instead, your kids can get scholarships and grants.  Neither has to be paid back.  But to get them, you (and your kids) will have to do some work now, before they head off to school.
 
To make things easier, try some of these tips!

Make it a New Year's Date

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GlassesToday it seems like 24 hours is just too short for one day - and forget getting your work done in just 8 hours. That does not include traffic; travel; shopping; taking care of the kids; mowing the yard; making meals; and taking out the trash. No matter how busy we get, there’s no excuse for compromising or giving up our role as fathers and husbands. Speaking about taking out the trash, when’s the last time you took your wife for a special New Year's night out?

The #1 Thing to Teach Your Kids About the Internet

Average: 5 (1 vote)

girl on pcAt some point every parent will eventually realize that our kids are more technically savvy than we ever will be. What was innovation and magic for us is commonplace for them. They grew up with computers; cell phones; tablets; ipads, ipods, iphones; i-this and i-that devices are everywhere. They don’t have conversations…they text; tweet; post; blog; and Reddit / Pinterest their daily encounters. So here is the hardest thing you will ever teach your kids about the internet…

Treating Back Pain at Home

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back massageFor a long time now I have suffered from occasional lower back pain. Lifting heavy loads; twisting; and basic over exertion have all taken their toll on my back. Sometimes it’s even comical (though still painful). Like the time I was reaching for the toilet paper and bam, out goes the old man’s back. Seriously, what sadistic person mounts the roll behind you on the wall at shoulder height? If your spouse comes to help you in this position, you really know their love will last a lifetime. So here is how I fix my own back pains at home…

Should I Drop Our Home Phone?

Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

antique phone oldI am currently in the middle of this conundrum about whether to keep or cancel our home phone line. We are currently paying about $60 a month for this landline and with our cell phones we hardly seem to use it at all anymore. So the analysis and second-guessing is in full swing as I try to answer this question. What would you do….

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