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Our Homeowners Insurance


homeowners insurance

just came up for renewal, and once again, they raised our premium.  We went from $765 a year to $825.  I was pretty upset since our home value has definitely not gone up and I have no idea why it would take $184,000 to rebuild a $130,000 house. I guess I should have looked for the best homeowners insurance at that time.

So I decided to call since I usually call when I’m unhappy with a current utility or service price.  I successfully decreased our cable bill by $20 a month for 6 months simply by asking a few weeks ago, so I figured I could do the same with homeowners insurance, right? I mean this is what I did when I set out to find the cheapest renters insurance for the apartment we were in. Well I would soon learn is nowhere near the same process.

The very nice woman on the other end of the phone, Carlene, explained that the rebuild value of my house included things like debris removal and slab testing for any permanent damage, but I was still not convinced that $184,000 was realistic.  She then offered to reevaluate my property to see if we could get our homeowners insurance premium lowered.

After playing 20 questions about what type of  siding we have and the placement of our garage, she said some magic words “Oh, it looks like your rebuild value is closer to $154,000.”  Dang skippy!!!  🙂

She asked if I would mind holding while she called the main department to change my paperwork.  Woot!  After being on hold for a little while, Carlene came back and asked if I would formally accept the changes to my homeowners insurance policy and be able to pay the new $725 premium instead.  I was all smiles!!! And to top it off we found out we can get a discount by installing a security system so we’re now looking into an ADT security system for the home.  I also immediately paid so they wouldn’t have time to change their minds, lol.  🙂

So a 20 minute phone call lowered our 2011-2012 homeowners insurance premium from $825 to $725!  That’s even cheaper than last year’s $765 rate!  I really do love it when things work out!  Another way to save is to get the best home and auto insurance bundle discount. You can also often find cheaper home insurance when searching new providers so it’s a good idea to compare when you want to buy contents insurance.

Have you had any recent success with getting a bill lowered?  Any tips?

29 thoughts on “Our Homeowners Insurance”

  1. Nicole

    Here’s our latest: https://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2011/02/14/just-ask/

    We should do it with homeowners insurance sometime… ours has been skyrocketing.

  2. Moneycone

    Shop around, but start first with your existing insurer! I learnt this with my Auto insurance! Great job Crystal!

  3. Everyday Tips

    Great job! You made $300/hour with that phone call!

  4. Molly On Money

    We just renewed our home insurance. It had gone up by $84. I made a call to see if I could get it cheaper. No luck. I’m shopping it right now!

  5. Crystal @ BFS

    @Nicole, good luck!

    @Moneycone, definitely start with your current insurer first – good point! I hate changing companies if I don’t have to but I will if they won’t make me good deals.

    @Everyday Tips, lol, yep!

    @Molly on Money, good luck!

  6. krantcents

    Just asking questions does more than anything else! You don’t need to be mad, cancel or yell. Good for you.

  7. Squirrelers

    Interesting…might have to consider this with insurance, as it’s worth asking like for everything else. I have certainly gotten a few things lowered by calling and asking (or asking in person). That’s the big lesson in your example and others, regardless of what it is you’re purchasing: just ask. In most cases, if done with dignity and social grace, there’s no harm in asking.

  8. IPA @ investmentpropertyasset.com

    I am also one to call when I don’t feel a charge is correct. Usually I get some savings or benefit in my favor when I do this. When we switched to FiOS last year (from Comcast only because we moved) I was looking at their online options and what specials they have. Then when I called in to place the order I got a lot more free like HD and an HD DVR free for a year. Their web site said this would only be free for six months. So it pays to make a phone call.

  9. Amanda

    Wow – that still sounds expensive to me! Our Insurance is less than $500 a year (house was 175k two years ago, probably worth slightly more now)…I wonder if it has to do with local and state regulations?

  10. Jenny Dee

    Sadly, I just refi-ed my condo @ 4.75%, but for some reason, the mortgage holder wanted me to increase my insurance from $10K to $16K, which increased my payment by $50. The value of the home dropped $15K since purchase price, so I’ve no idea where they came up with this number. *sigh* Since I didn’t want to botch the refi deal, I let the small increase in insurance go. Maybe next year I’ll call about getting the insurance dropped down.

  11. Austerity Bill

    This is happening in the UK as well, I think that it is just a fact that financial services organisations need to make up for lost earnings on a global scale. Shopping around is a great idea, comparison websites are a really useful tool for this.

  12. Crystal @ BFS

    @krantcents, as a customer service rep myself, I never go nuts on them…

    @Squirrelers, you are so right. I ask if there are any discounts available all the time and get a few I didn’t know about 25% of the time!

    @IPA, exactly! Congrats on the extra 6 months!

    @Amanda, we live a tiny bit North of Houston, TX about 1.5 to 2 hours from Galveston so anything under $1000 a year is a really god deal here, lol.

  13. Crystal @ BFS

    @Jenny, hey, I understand, in your situation, $50 isn’t worth the fight. Good luck!

    @Austerity Bill, thanks for the international perspective!

  14. Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog

    Great work crystal. I usually do this with auto insurance and other services, and I dont own a home. Usually if its an easily replaced service, threatening to walk away will get you pretty far.

  15. Barb Friedberg

    Crystal, The last time I got a big boost in our home insurance, I switched comanies and saved over $100. Good luck with your new site!

  16. First Gen American

    You inspired me to call my insurance company today. My rate’s going to go up though because I’m going to add coverage.

    Great work. I did something similar with my mom’s place a few years back. Her rental property was insured for $400K even though it was only worth $200K. It was impossible for them to convince me that the value of the house was that high. It wasn’t even worth $300K at the height of the market. That’s definitely a sneaky tactic that you picked up on.

  17. Making that call works with the tax assessor as well. About three years ago our local real estate assessor decided our house was worth a lot more than it was the year before. One call got the assessed value lowered by about 20%.

    I always ask if there are any discounts available when I go shopping at the department stores as well. The sales associates usually are empowered to scan any current deals or coupons from a copy they keep at the register.

    We actually had our insurance rep come out and do a review of all of our policies (we have multiple with the same company) with the expressed intent of making sure our coverage was appropriate, verifying what is covered and making sure we are getting the best rates he could give us – with the hint that we were shopping around. Although we didn’t get additional any ‘discounts’ we were able to reduce some coverages we didn’t need and so lowered the bill that way.

  18. Robert @ The College Investor

    Well done! Insurance is such a competative market, you could have easily lowered your premiums by switching to a competitor! I’m glad to hear they did it, because they could have easily lost a customer!

  19. Crystal @ BFS

    @Jeff, I love it when I don’t even have to threaten to walk, but I do usually have to mention that…

    @Barb, congrats on the savings and thanks for the good wishes, lol!

    @First Gen, so I inspired you to increase your coverage? How did that happen? 🙂

    @Marie, it sounds like you have asking down to a science. You must save thousands of dollars a year!

    @Robert, thanks!

  20. Mr. Broke Professional

    The ease with which utilities and insurance companies manage to “cut money off” always makes me think about just how much they must be overcharging us. Unbelievable. Definitely always a good play, and also make sure to not get lulled to sleep after years and suddenly have a ridiculous premium. We usually switch car insurance companies every 6 months to avoid this.

  21. Funny about Money

    Great work, BiFS!

    I expect mine will go through the roof. I’ve collected about $12,000 for catastrophic hail damage and just asked for another $600…and so has every neighbor around me. Literally every roof in the neighborhood is being ripped off and replaced, and many people are getting new air conditioners on the insurer’s dime.

    We’re told insurance companies don’t raise an individual homeowner’s rates for catastrophic events. However, common sense tells us someone has to pay for this. Presumably every insurer that does business in the county will raise its rates across the board.

  22. Joabs State

    I am also one to call when I don’t feel a charge is correct. Usually I get some savings or benefit in my favor when I do this. When we switched to FiOS last year (from Comcast only because we moved) I was looking at their online options and what specials they have. Then when I called in to place the order I got a lot more free like HD and an HD DVR free for a year. Their web site said this would only be free for six months. So it pays to make a phone call.

  23. Sam P

    Nice work on saving your homeowners insurance by simply asking for a discount. It’s interesting how many people can overlook that one small step. Another couple ways you can potentially save on your homeowners insurance would be by installing a security system, or by raising your deductible (if you are willing to take the risk).

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