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Ten simple ways to get a discount on your homeowners insurance premiums

FEMA Extends Temporary Housing Program For Hurricane Ike

U.S.Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate announced an additional five-month extension of disaster housing assistance to more than 5,168 families in Texas and Louisiana who were displaced by Hurricanes Ike and Gustav.

The extension of rental assistance through the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP) gives these families until September 30th to transition to permanent housing solutions. his extension will give 3,425 families in Texas who continue to participate in DHAP-Ike another five months to transition from the program.

Flood insurance is available to renters, homeowners and business owners through approximately 90 insurance companies in more than 21,000 participating communities nationwide. Coverage can be purchased for properties both in, and outside of, the highest risk areas, and in moderate to low-risk areas policies can start at just $129 a year.

Consumers can learn more about seasonal flood risks and what to do to prepare by visiting FEMA's website, or by calling 1-800-427-2419.

Here are ten simple ways to get a discount on your homeowners insurance premiums.

1. Evaluate Your Coverage
Although the average home owner is underinsured, you may be among the minority of people who have too much coverage. Take some time to look over your policy and see if there are any ways to save money simply by taking out certain things. All you really need is enough insurance to cover your home’s replacement (i.e. rebuilding) costs, personal possessions, the cost of disaster-related living expenses, and liability to others. Anything beyond this could be considered excessive.

2. Buy Two or More Policies from the Same Insurer
There are some insurance companies that specialize exclusively in one type, whether it be auto car insurance, health insurance, life insurance, or even disability insurance. However, there are also some companies that offer different types of coverage. If you purchase multiple policies from the same insurer, you could be eligible for a multi-policy discount. These discounts can vary from company to company, but typically range from 5-30%.

3. Ask About Associations
Many associations, organizations, schools, and employers administer group programs or have special agreements with insurance companies that provide discounts for members or alumni. Check with the groups that you are already a member of to see if you are eligible for any insurance discounts. This includes AAA membership discounts.

4. Improve Your Home’s Resistance
Making alterations to your home, such as reinforcing the roof, updating heat or electrical systems, and installing shutters, can make your home more resistant to storms and other disasters. These are all great home improvements that can help increase real estate value and also help you save as much as 10% on your homeowners insurance premiums.

5. Up Your Home Security
Small protective devices, such as smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and deadbolts can help you save 5-10% on your homeowners insurance premiums. Larger devices, such as home security systems (to prevent home burglary) or sprinkler systems (for home fire safety and protection), can help you save even more. Ask your insurer how much of a discount you could get by installing one or more of these items.

6. Ask about Building Material Discounts
If your home is reinforced for earthquakes, made from flame resistant building materials, or otherwise prepared for natural disasters, you may be eligible for a special discount. Not every insurer mentions this discount upfront, so be sure to ask for it if you think your home is made of the right stuff.

7. Ask about a Location Discount
The location of your house may also provide saving opportunities. Many insurers offer discounts to home owners who live near emergency responders, fire houses, or police precincts. Determine how many miles are between your home and these facilities, and ask your insurer about potential discounts.

8. Tie Down Your Home
This discount isn’t available for everyone, but if you have a mobile home, you could save as much as 10 % by tying, anchoring, or bolting the structure to its foundation.

9. Ask for Additional Discounts
Some companies are more forthcoming with their customers than others. You may not be getting all of the discounts you are eligible for simply because you have not asked for them. Make an appointment to meet with your insurance agent to discuss possible savings or ask for a full list of potential discounts so that you can review your saving options.

10. Compare Costs
Insurers often charge different prices for the same coverage. Comparing prices and discount packages is the best way to save on your homeowners insurance policy. You can get insurance quotes by contacting several local agents. You may also be able to compare prices by visiting websites that allow you to get price quotes from multiple companies at one time. You should compare costs each year when your policy renews, or at minimum, every two to three years.

Read more about Property Insurance for the Texas Coast

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