Retirement & Financial Planning Report

Homeowners insurance costs are going up in many areas. You can trim those costs if you qualify for certain discounts. They include:

* Security systems. By informing the insurer you have installed smoke detectors, a burglar alarm, and dead-bolt locks, you probably can knock 5 percent off of your annual premium. If you also have a sprinkler system as well as a fire and burglar alarm that contacts a central monitoring station, your discount might go as high as 20 percent.

* Monitoring systems. A central monitoring system will detect a water leak and shut down the water flow; it can also raise the home’s temperature to keep pipes from freezing. Such systems might reduce your insurance bill by another 2 percent.

* Weather-proofing. These additions might range from storm shutters and shatter-proof glass to shut-off valves for gas lines that can detect earthquake activity. A back-up generator and a wind-resistant roof also help. Altogether, such precautions could deliver a 20 percent discount.