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There are a few ways to cut back on spending hidden in your policy.

Free money is always a good thing. And you can go and find some with just a bit of effort if you shop around your insurance coverage. In most cases, if you haven’t repriced or reviewed your auto, homeowners or renters coverage in the past two years, you’ll be able to find some ways to cut.

Often, this is as simple as calling your agent, reviewing your policy, and deleting coverage you no longer need or perks you’ll never use. If, for example, you’re paying for rental car benefits when your car is in the body shop after an accident, but live where you’d probably catch the bus, that’s a cost you can cut without sacrificing the coverage you need. At other times, policy issuers have changed their offerings, bundled or unbundled features, and give you some flexibility you might not have had before.

Then your next step is to pick up the phone and shop around for comparable coverage, making sure that benefits, coverage amounts, and deductibles are the same.

In addition, if you’ve made some changes to your home, driving patterns or lifestyle, you can uncover additional discounts. If a teen driver has moved out of your home, if a student maintains a “B” average, if you’ve gone several years without an accident or gotten healthy, there are discounts you’re entitled to get – just for the asking. But they’re not necessarily offered by every insurer, which is why you need to shop around.

How to save money on your insurance coverage: lifestyle changes can save your life — and money

Did you quit smoking last year? Move into a gated community? Do you live within five miles of the nearest fire station?

Those factors – and many others –make you a safer bet for your homeowner’s insurer. Meaning, you can get a significant discount on your insurance premium. Something as simple as installing deadbolt locks and smoke detectors could nab you a discount of as much as 5 percent, experts note.

Let’s start with the basics – have you combined your homeowners and auto policies? Most companies want as much of your business as they can get. So, look for significant discounts when you bundle your coverage with one insurer. The savings can vary from 5 percent to 15 percent off your premium. A bundled policy also may mean that your deductibles are bundled, too, so that anything you shell out for a car or home repair counts against one overall deductible threshold.

Next, consider the fact that, the more you limit your insurance company’s losses, the less the company needs to charge you. Insurance is all about betting on risk, so lower your risk of having a bad experience. You can do that by installing fire, smoke, burglar alarms or any other home monitoring system. That lowers the risk that your insurance company will need to write a check.

Where you can save if you don’t already know

What’s on your roof? Using “impact-resistant roofing products” on your home can cut your bill, and there are many types of shingles and roofing systems that qualify. This may not be a primary consideration when you buy a home, but if you’re re-roofing your existing dwelling, check with your insurer. Adding impact-resistant roofing means you can earn a 5 percent to 10 percent discount on your homeowners premium.

Are you behind a gate? Gated communities limit access to potential thieves and other hazards.

Smoke a discount: Are you and your family non-smokers? Smoking is a big cause of structure fires, so if you’ve kicked the habit you could earn a credit of 5 percent or more.

Pay on time: Paying your bills on time is a huge factor in your credit score, which can be a very big factor in what you pay for insurance. While a few states outlaw tying credit scores to insurance premiums, most allow it. Insurers claim there is a significant correlation between people with low credit scores and those who file more claims. So take good care of your credit and lower your insurance bill.

You can track daily changes to your credit score with’s 3-credit bureau monitoring tool. It’s free for 30 days.

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Is your home new or renovated? A newer home or one that’s been significantly upgraded in the last few years is considered less of a risk. That’s because the wiring, plumbing, and other factors have all been installed at or brought up to the current local building code, so talk to your agent about a potential discount.

Are you retired? A number of insurance companies offer discounts for clients older than 50, 55 or 65, whether you’re working or not. But once you are off the job, additional discounts may be available. Insurers know a retiree who’s at home is less likely to be burglarized and has lots of time to maintain the property.

Here are other discounts that one insurance provider offers. But, again, not all providers offer the same discounts. So, shop around. …

  • Jewelry stored in a safe deposit box
  • Deadbolt locks
  • Lightning protection
  • Shatterproof windows
  • Storm shutters
  • Interior sprinklers
  • Water detection sensor
  • Water flow alarm
  • Water-valve shut off
  • Temperature monitor
  • Gas leak detector
  • Emergency gas line shut-off
  • Fire station within 5 miles
  • Fire hydrant within 1000 feet

The bottom line is that anything that lessens potential damage to your property can cut your insurance bill. Shop around and make a point of asking about any potential discounts when talking to an agent.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and/or policies of

Meet the Author

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor


Brian O'Connor is a contributing writer for O'Connor is a journalist, writer and consultant. He's a syndicated personal finance columnist and author of "The $1,000 Challenge."

Family, News

insurance, Very Personal Finance

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