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The cost of homeowners insurance can vary from insurance company to insurance company, sometimes by hundreds of dollars. That few hundred dollars can make or break the bank, especially if you’re financially down on your luck. Before settling down for one homeowners insurance policy or another, keep the following tips in mind to make sure you get the most while spending the least.


Shop around


Don’t settle on the first insurance company you come across. It’ll take longer to do some research and shop around, but ultimately it’ll be worth it for both your peace of mind and your wallet. You can ask your friends, check the Yellow Pages, contact your state insurance department, or look up the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) to gather information about different insurance companies. This information isn’t just the positive reviews—by going to the NAIC, you’ll be able to look at the negatives surrounding them as well. Additionally, state departments often have typical rates of different insurers available to look at, and they can tell you the frequency of complaints coming in by company as well.


Understand what you paid versus the rebuilding cost


The land your home is built on isn’t at risk of theft or inclement weather, so it won’t be covered by your homeowners insurance policy. Because of this, don’t include the value of your land in deciding how much homeowners insurance you should buy. Doing this could end in you paying a higher premium than you should.


Improve your home security


Want some discounts on your homeowners insurance policy? Invest in the security of your home. Installing smoke detectors, burglar alarms, and dead-bolt locks can earn you a discount of at least 5%. Depending on your insurance company, your premium could be cut by 15-20% if you install sophisticated sprinkler systems, fire or burglar alarms that reach out to the proper monitoring stations, and so on. Getting a discount for installing these costly security systems isn’t a guarantee, so before diving into the purchases, find out what kind your insurer recommends, how much installation will cost, and how much you’ll save on premiums as a result.


Stay with the same insurer


Staying with an insurance company for several years could earn you a special discount for being a long-term policyholder. Depending on the company, this discount could increase the longer you stay with them. Periodically compare the price you’re paying with other policies, though, so you can make sure you’re still paying the right price.