Save money on your insurance
Ask your agent about discounts.
Discounts help reduce the amount of your insurance premium. Each company decides what discounts to offer and the amount of the discount. You could get a discount if:
- It has a burglar alarm.
- has a fire alarm or automatic sprinkler system.
- It has an impact-resistant roof.
- Do you have a newer house or one in good condition?
- You have other policies with the same insurance company.
- has had no claims for three consecutive years.
Visit HelpInsure.com to find out what discounts companies offer.
Protect your home and property from crime.
A company might charge you more or refuse to insure you if your home is vulnerable to crime. To help make your home burglary-proof:
- Install deadbolts or other security devices on doors and windows.
- Install a burglar alarm that will alert the police or a security company.
- Eliminate places where thieves and vandals can hide. Trim trees and bushes, especially around windows and doorways.
- Do not park cars on the street. Cars parked on the street are tempting objects for thieves and vandals.
- Don’t leave your garage door open, even if you’re home. It only takes a minute for thieves to grab things from your garage and get out without you even noticing.
- Turn on outside lights at night or put outside lights on timers.
- Write an identification number on your personal property to help identify it if it is stolen.
Keep your house and yard in good condition.
Someone from the insurance company will inspect the outside of your home when you apply for insurance. Companies may charge you more or refuse to insure you based on what they see. Take the following steps to improve the safety and appearance of your home:
- Replace rotted boards, damaged window screens, or other damage.
- Repair cracks in walkways, loose railings, even steps, and other things that could cause an accident.
- Replace the roof if it is damaged or worn.
- Keep your garden, trees, and bushes clean and trimmed. Remove any tree limbs hanging above your house.
- Repaint your house if the paint is chipping or fading.
If you request it, the company must explain to you in writing the reason why it was rejected, canceled, or did not renew your policy. You can file a complaint with us if you believe the company improperly denied, canceled, or failed to renew your policy.
What happens if a company cancels my policy or does not renew it?
Cancellation means that you or the insurance company ends coverage before the expiration date of your policy. A company must give you 10 days’ notice before it will cancel your policy. A company can cancel your policy in the first 60 days if:
- discover a risk that you did not tell them about and that was not part of a previous claim; either
- does not accept a copy of an inspection report required before the policy begins.
A company can cancel your policy at any time if:
- you stop paying your insurance premiums.
- you file a fraudulent claim.
- the continuation of the policy violates the law.
- there is an increase in risk that is within your control, which would increase the price of the insurance premium.
If you or the company cancel your policy, the company must refund any unearned insurance premium to you within 15 days from the date of cancellation. The unearned insurance premium is the amount you paid upfront that you didn’t buy coverage. For example, let’s say your insurance premium is $100 a month, or $1,200 a year. If you paid for the entire year in advance and cancel your policy after one month, the company owes you $1,100 for the unearned insurance premium.
Non-renewal means that a company refuses to renew your policy when it expires. A company must tell you in writing that it will not renew your policy. It must notify you at least 30 days before your policy expires. If the company does not inform you on time, it must renew the policy at your request.
A company may not renew its policy if:
- Your house is in poor condition. Instead of not renewing the policy, the company may require you to repair the damage before renewing your policy. Companies generally give you at least six months to carry out repairs.
- You file three or more non-weather related claims in three years. If you file two non-weather related claims, the company must tell you that your policy is in danger of not being renewed. If the company does not notify you of this, you cannot refuse to renew your policy because of a third claim. The first two claims for appliance-related water damage do not count if you have repaired the damage and passed an inspection by a qualified inspector. The company may increase its prices if you file two or more non-weather related claims.
- Your home remains vacant for 60 days or more. Most companies stop your coverage if your home is unoccupied for a long time. However, they generally do not interrupt your liability coverage. If you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time, check with your company to make sure your coverage continues.
A company cannot refuse to renew your policy if you file a claim for something your policy does not cover. However, you can increase your prices.