Retirement & Financial Planning Report

Homeowners insurance cab be expensive but you can trim those costs if you qualify for certain discounts. Possibly you already qualify for some but aren’t capturing the value because you haven’t told your insurance company you have them. Others might be worth the upfront investment in order to capture reductions moving forward.

Some prominent ones include:

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* 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.

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