As the cost of homeowners insurance continues to rise across the country, particularly in catastrophe-prone areas such as the West Coast and Florida, many luxury-home owners are seeking ways to reduce their premiums. Although the cost of coverage varies widely based on many factors, such as the size of a house, its age and location, there are discounts and credits available that can reduce premiums by up to thousands of dollars a year.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, an industry trade group, the average premium for a homeowners policy rose 3.1% in 2018, the latest year for which statistics are available, to $1,249. But owners of luxury homes pay much more. “High-end homes are more expensive to repair or replace than a standard home,” said Loretta Worters, an Institute vice president. “The home is usually far larger and may have special decorative moldings, luxury kitchens with imported Italian marble countertops, gold fixtures, murals, all more costly to replace.”
One of the easiest ways to reduce your homeowners insurance premium is to bundle policies by insuring your home, car or boat with the same company. Lydia Leeds, an executive producer in Manhattan who owns a vacation home on over 3 acres in northwest Connecticut, pays $2,358 to Travelers to insure the property, valued at nearly $1.5 million, but she’s saving 12% on her premium by insuring her home and automobile with the same company. Ms. Leeds also gets a 10% credit for having a central-station alarm system and a 2% credit for installing a water sensor that detects leaks. Her discounts total $1,600.
Discounts are also available for bundling other types of policies. Chubb, for example, offers up to 7.5% off, in most states, for bundling home and valuables coverage for jewelry, fine art, wine or other collectibles, according to Fran O’Brien, division president of Chubb North America Personal Risk Services.
Updating your home not only increases its value but can also entitle you to a premium discount. By replacing the roof or windows, or updating the electrical system, you reduce the risk of loss to an insurance company, and that translates into a lower premium.