Reviewed by Daniel Mirkovic
Updated September 11, 2023
Many home insurance customers ask what they can do to keep their premium as low as possible. While insurance rates can and do fluctuate over time, there are a number of ways for customers to control their home insurance premium by tailoring their coverage and taking proactive measures to reduce risk.
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Historically, home insurance policies have usually offered a standard deductible of $500. Over time, as property has become more valuable and rates have risen, $1,000 has emerged as the new standard deductible. In many cases, insurance providers actually surcharge policies in exchange for keeping the $500 deductible. Since insurance is intended to deal with “big” losses, and not for maintenance or small claims, you can usually achieve significant savings by taking a higher deductible.
We suggest that you choose the highest deductible that you would be financially comfortable paying in the event of a loss; this will ensure that your premium is as low as reasonably possible, without putting yourself in a bad position if a loss were to occur. Keep in mind that deductible savings will “plateau” at a certain level, beyond which it won’t make sense to go any higher – speak to your insurance provider to obtain a range of deductible quotes, and choose the one that represents the right balance for you.
What if you don’t have a garage or a golf clubs? Most home insurance policies include coverage for these things, whether or not you actually have them. Why pay for coverage you don’t need? At Square One, we allow you to customize your policy and eliminate coverages that you don’t need or want to buy, matching your premium to your own needs instead of a “one size fits all” price.
Complete a household inventory checklist. If you only own $60,000 in personal property, you shouldn’t be paying for more. Most home insurance policies insist you insure your personal property for an arbitrary amount based on the value of your home, without consideration for how much you might actually need. This can lead to over-insuring your personal property, which serves no purpose because the policy will only pay for what you actually own.
It can also lead to under-insuring, which would leave you out of pocket in the event of a claim. To protect yourself against either situation, complete a household inventory and purchase insurance that meets your specific needs.
Insure your home for the amount it would cost to rebuild, not what you paid for it. When you bought your home, you paid the market price for the house and the land. Depending on when you bought, and where you live, that could be significantly higher than the cost to rebuild. If you’re insuring for more, you’re paying too much. Similarly, don’t under-insure your home: while you may save a few dollars in your insurance premiums, the financial impact of inadequate coverage can be crippling if a significant loss were to occur.
Insurance has always been intended to help you recover from large losses that you can’t handle on your own. For this reason, your premiums will be affected if you make multiple small claims. Lost claims-free discounts, and even surcharges, can significantly outstrip the value of small claims over time. If you have a $500 deductible, and lose a $600 television, consider if it’s really worth making a claim for $100.
If you have a discount for being claims free, you could lose it, and if you have more than one claim, a surcharge could be applied to your policy.
If you repair dangerous steps, or replace that rotting deck, you’ll reduce the chance that someone will be injured on your property. Keeping your property safe and sound reduces the likelihood of losses, which means you won’t have deductibles to pay, and you won’t lose claims-free discounts under your home insurance policy.
Water damage claims are by far the most significant category of losses paid by insurance companies. Rubber and plastic appliance hoses are a major contributor to water losses, because they dry out, bulge and burst over time. One burst hose can create thousands of dollars of damage within a few minutes, and a burst hose while you’re away for a few hours can easily cause tens of thousands of dollars of damage. Plus, consider the disruption to your lifestyle that follows if your home needs tear-out, drying or partial reconstruction.
Protect your home, reduce the chance of a claim, and keep your rates low, simply by replacing hoses with braided steel ones!
Is your roof nearing its life expectancy? Is that hot water tank over ten years of age, or is it beginning to rust and show signs of wear? Does your furnace have problems or seem to run all the time? Keeping these things updated can prevent a big loss, and may result in a discounted rate from your insurance company.
If you prefer to pay your insurance in monthly instalments, you may end up paying more because of financing fees charged by most insurance providers. At Square One, we offer monthly payments without any financing fee or interest charges.
ready for an online quote? Your time matters, and so does your stuff. Get a personalized home insurance quote in 5 minutes. That’s less time than it takes to wait in line for coffee.
From time to time, it’s a good idea to compare your policy’s premium against other options. On average, renters in British Columbia pay $49 per month for home insurance, while homeowners pay $82 per month; however, these numbers are across the whole province, and often don’t reflect the reality of individual cities. Do you want to know how your Square One home insurance cost compares to other people with similar needs?
Often, we ask our friends, family and other people we trust for their opinion, how much they pay, and which insurers they prefer. However, the best way to get a fair comparison is to find a great number of people with a similar profile – including their location, home value, type of dwelling and other details. A new Canadian company, InsurEye, provides a solution for this kind of comparison with its new free Insurance Premium Comparison tool. Square One participates in the InsurEye platform, which uses socially aggregated knowledge to provide useful comparisons and help you save money on insurance.
The InsurEye Peer Comparison service collects, validates and precisely analyzes thousands of insurance experience from real people. Peer Comparison includes spending information for Home, Auto, and Life insurance products, both available online and from insurance companies, brokers and agents. As users share information about their insurance spending, this collective experience identifies the peer groups who save the most. Using the InsurEye Home Insurance Rate Comparison is very simple, and best of all, it’s free. After a short registration, users can play with peer criteria for any type of insurance and view interactive charts to discover which insurers their peers prefer, and how prices compare.
InsurEye Inc. is a Canadian company that provides independent, innovative online services to help consumers better understand and manage their insurance. Visit InsurEye at insureye.com.
Another rate comparison solution available to Canadians is LowestRates.ca, which offers a free rate comparison tool. Square One participates in the LowestRates.ca platform, which incorporates real rates from dozens of providers to show you exactly how much you might pay. LowestRates.ca is a Canadian price comparison website that wants to help you find the most coverage for the best possible rate on your insurance. You can compare rates for 18 different types of insurance, including home, car, life, travel, and commercial insurance.
To provide the comparison, LowestRates.ca partners with dozens of insurance providers across Canada. All you have to do is use the comparison tool to input a bit of information about what you’d like to insure and LowestRates.ca will show you rates from insurance providers that suit your needs. Try it yourself at Lowestrates.ca.
Taking a few small steps can mean savings in your pocket!
There are many reasons that may cause your insurance premium to increase (or decrease) year to year. The most common cause of higher premiums is higher claims costs for insurers countrywide, often due to natural disasters. Other reasons could be claims you’ve made yourself in the past year, changes to your home, or changes to how your provider calculates premiums.
Home insurance discounts vary between providers, but discounts are often available for home safety features (like backwater valves or security systems). Most providers offer a claims-free discount if you’ve gone a period of time without making claims, as well as an age-related discount for older customers.
Most providers allow you to make changes to your policy as needed. However, if your changes include cancelling your policy, there may be a fee associated. If there are any significant changes to your home (like a change in occupancy or a major renovation) you should inform your home insurance provider as soon as possible.
Want to learn more? Visit our Home Insurance Basics resource centre for dozens of helpful articles to guide you through the ins and outs of home insurance. Or, get an online quote in under 5 minutes and find out how affordable personalized home insurance can be.
About the expert: Daniel Mirkovic
A co-founder of Square One with 25 years of experience in the insurance industry, Daniel was previously vice president of the insurance and travel divisions at the British Columbia Automobile Association. Daniel has a bachelor of commerce and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia. He holds a Canadian Accredited Insurance Broker (CAIB) designation and a general insurance license level 3 in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.
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