General Insurance Tips

1. Maintain a Security System and Smoke Alarms: A burglar alarm that is monitored from a central station, or that is tied directly to a local police station, will help lower the homeowner's annual premiums, perhaps by 5% or more. In order to obtain the discount, the homeowner must typically provide proof of central monitoring in the form of a bill or a certificate of contract from the service provider to the insurance company.Smoke alarms/detectors act as triggers to fire incidences which aid in minimising losses that would otherwise spread undetected.


2. Raise Your Deductible: Like health insurance or car insurance, the higher the deductible, the lower the annual premiumsand vice versa. However, the problem with selecting a high deductible is that smaller claims such as broken windows or damaged sheetrock from a leaky pipe, which typically will cost only a few hundred shillings to fix, will most likely be absorbed by the homeowner. The higher the deductible the lower the premiums.Look for


3. Multiple Policy Discounts: Many insurance companies give a discount of 10% or more to their customers that maintain other insurance contracts under the same roof (such as car or health insurance). Consider obtaining a quote for other types of insurance from the same company that provides your homeowners' insurance. You may end up saving on two annual policy premiums. A higher portfolio of insurance elicits an insurance discount, however the claim loss ratios of the account may affect the discount granted. 


4. Plan Ahead for Construction: If the homeowner plans to build an addition to the home or another structure adjacent to the home, he or she should consider the materials that will be used. Typically, wood-framed structures (because they are highly flammable) will cost more to insure, these structures are considered as non-standard and attract a higher premium. Conversely, cement- or steel-framed structures will cost less because it is less likely to succumb to fire or adverse weather conditions.Another thing that most homeowners should do, but often don't, is consider the insurance costs associated with building a swimming pool. In fact, items such as pools and/or other potentially injurious devices (like trampolines) can drive annual homeowners' insurance costs up by 10% or more. This may seem like a small price to pay given the joy these items bring, but it is still something that should be considered by the homeowner prior to purchase or construction. 


5. Pay Off Your Mortgage: Homeowners that pay off their mortgage debts will most likely see their premiums drop. Why? The simple reason is that the insurance company figures that if you own the home outright, the cost of the mortgage protection insurance is dropped off from the policy cover. 


6. Make Regular Policy Reviews and Comparisons: Investors should, at least once a year, compare the costs of other insurance policies to their own. In addition, they should review their existing policy and make note of any changes that might have occurred that could lower their premiums.For example, perhaps the homeowner paid off the mortgage, installed a burglar alarm or installed a sophisticated sprinkler system inside his or her home. If this is the case, simply notifying the insurance company of the change(s) and providing proofs in the form of pictures and/or receipts could significantly lower insurance premiums.Look for changes in the neighbourhood that could reduce rates as well. For example, the installation of a fire hydrant within 100 feet of the home, or the erection of a fire substation within close proximity to the property may lower the homeowner's annual premiums.