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April 22, 2013

Lower Your Home Insurance Premiums with the Help of Your Neighbors

At a time when ordinary families are struggling to make ends meet, it is essential that outgoing costs are cut wherever possible. Although there are many household expenses that simply can’t be avoided – or even reduced – home insurance is often dependent on the actions and precautions taken by policy holders. The cost of insurance premiums is based on risk, and people can reduce the risk of burglary and property damage by working with neighbors to deter criminal activity. Neighborhoods with low rates of criminality will be deemed as low risk and that can significantly reduce the monthly premiums you pay. Here are some tips to keep you and your community safe as well as keep your insurance premiums down.

Start a Neighborhood Watch

Criminals are creatures of instinct; they look for opportunities to get in and out of properties as quickly as possible. However, a constant presence may be enough to deter burglars in your neighborhood. Residents should organize a watch with community groups in your area and partner with the local police to help keep your home safe.

Inform a Reliable Neighbor When You Go On Vacation

Striking up friendly and trusting relationships with your neighbors is not just a social function. Neighbors can help each other by keeping a watchful eye on each others home when they are not at home. You may want to give a trusting neighbor a spare key so they can switch on lights, open curtains, take out the garbage or water the plants. This will appear that someone is at home and will greatly reduce the risk of a burglar attempting to break-in.

Form a Residents Committee

Burglary is not the only risk-factor when it comes to the home insurance premiums people pay. The risk of damage from floods, storms and acts of nature can leave some people in exposed areas with premiums they simply can’t afford. However, small communities can work together, communicate and cooperate in order to reduce damage. In areas prone to flooding, neighbors can pool their resources to buy sandbags for the community. Or, they could even invest as a neighborhood in their own storage facilities to protect their possessions from flood damage. Homeowners do need to buy separate flood insurance and the costs involved can be huge in high-risk areas.

Regular meetings can also identify problems that might lead to property damage during storms. Over-grown trees, defective buildings and anything likely to cause damage in high winds can be repaired or removed by the community. In this way, the responsibility and the cost does not fall on one individual. Insurance companies like customers who rarely file claims against their insurance policy, and they reward those customers with lower insurance premiums. Minimizing the risk of property damage with help from your neighbors should reduce the likelihood of making claims.

Any family may struggle to reduce insurance premiums alone, so it is always a good idea to have a network of friends that can offer assistance based on their personal skill-set. For example, homes with pools often incur higher premiums, but those premiums may be lowered by building a safety fence around the pool. A carpenter or someone who is proficient in home improvements may be able to complete this work as a gesture of good will – for the good of the community. Another neighbor may have a heavy-duty safe which can be used by neighbors to store valuables when a home is left empty.

The whole is usually greater than the sum of the parts and that is definitely the case when it comes to neighborhoods. By working together, communicating and simply helping your fellow man, you can reduce the risk of crime and damage in your community. And that can cut the cost of your premiums over time.

For more tips on how to best lower your home insurance premiums, talk to a Cliff Cottam Insurance Services Agent today! Call us at 800-807-6871.

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