This story is part of, CNET's collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.
Whether you've just bought a home or have lived in the same house for years, one thing remains the same: If you have a mortgage, you're required to purchase a homeowners insurance policy. While the average home insurance cost in the US this year is $1,383, those rates are rising, due in part to inflation and supply chain issues, according to CNET's sister site Bankrate.
"Home insurance is not only required for anybody who has a loan -- it's critical to protecting what is for most people our most important financial asset, our home," says Douglas Heller, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America, a consumer research and advocacy nonprofit.
Your homeowners insurance cost is influenced by several factors, including your home's location, age and condition. But despite increasing rates, there are still ways to cut your bill, potentially by hundreds of dollars a year.
Here are seven ways you could save money on your homeowner's insurance. (You can also find out how to save money by, and .)
1. Shop around
Whether you're in the process of buying a house and looking for an insurance provider, or you've lived in your house for years, it's a good idea to compare insurance premiums across different companies. They can vary widely, says Janet Ruiz, director of strategic communication for the Insurance Information Institute, a nonprofit that aims to help people understand insurance.
2. Consider loyalty discounts
Insurance companies often give loyalty discounts, which is something to consider if you've been with the same providers for a long time before switching to another. But even if you're getting a loyalty discount, it's still worth shopping around, because it's very possible that you'll find a rate that offers similar coverage but costs less, Ruiz says.
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3. Ask about bundles
It's simple, explains Ruiz, butunder one provider can net you a discount on rates for both.
4. Make improvements (or tell your insurance provider about changes you've already made)
If you've made any improvements to your house -- particularly to things like plumbing and electrical work -- let your insurance carrier know. Plumbing and electrical issues are common costly problems that insurance companies pay for, and making improvements could lead to a lower premium for you, Ruiz says.
You can even work with your insurance agent to come up with a checklist of improvements or investments you can make over time to get a lower premium, Heller says.
5. Schedule regular home insurance checkups
Your home insurance renews automatically each year. Next time it comes around, check your coverage and contact your provider if you've made any changes to your home. It's also a best practice to do a home insurance checkup with your provider every few years to make sure your coverage is still appropriate for your circumstances. For example, maybe you're driving an older car that isn't worth much and you don't want the same amount of collision insurance as you would on a newer car.
These are relatively brief conversations, Ruiz says: "Take 15 minutes. It'll save you a lot of grief if you have a loss."
6. New homebuyers: Don't wait until the last minute
Securing a home insurance policy is typically one of the final steps before closing on a house during the purchasing process. But this isn't recommended. "I've seen so many people end up with a high price policy because they just waited until the last minute, or didn't realize it would take a couple of days," Heller says.
Instead, start shopping for homeowners insurance as soon as your offer is accepted, Heller says. That way you'll have time to explore all of the options and find the best price.
7. Evaluate your deductible
In the last decade or so, insurance companies have moved from a standard dollar base deductible -- say, $500,000 on your policy -- to percentage-based deductibles. You may have a deductible that is 1% of your coverage, so if you have a $200,000 policy, the insurance company won't pay for damage below $2,000.
"It's important to know how that works, and you may be able to choose a lower or higher deductible to save money on your premium, if you can cover out of pocket," Heller says. There's a caveat there, though: When insurance companies give you savings, you're usually giving them less responsibility for the claim and taking on more risk yourself.
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