What You'll Learn
Hammer Away at Your Premium
Insurers don't always spell out how much your rates shot up on renewals. So dig out last year's documents and compare for yourself. If your rates rose 5% or more, make sure to call the company for an explanation.
Knowing whether the increase resulted from changes in your risk profile or from broad-based increases in the marketplace will help you negotiate and comparison-shop—which you should do at every renewal or at least every couple of years.
To shop around, get quotes for free through Insure.com or InsWeb.com. Want extra guidance or have an unusual property? Then work with an independent broker. (You can find one at iiaba.net.)
In addition to bumping up your deductible, you can lower your premium by bundling together your home and auto insurance, which can shave off from 5% to 15%. Also, installing security systems, storm shutters, or a new roof can chip away another 15%. Before you make that commitment, though, check with your insurer to see if your installation qualifies, says Jeanne Salvatore of the Insurance Information Institute.