Earn Premium Discounts

Even the simplest security and safety measures—deadbolts, basic burglar alarms, and smoke detectors—can bring discounts of 5 percent each from most insurance companies. A more sophisticated home-security network linked to an outside 24-hour monitoring station can cut yearly premiums by as much as 20 percent. Some insurers offer discounts if no one in the household smokes. In addition, retired homeowners who are at least 55 years old might qualify for as much as a 10 percent reduction in premiums, on the theory that people who are home a lot will spot fires before they do too much damage.

Another area where big discounts are available is roofing. Upgrading to impact-resistant shingles, which can withstand damage from hail and high winds, can shave as much as 27 percent off annual premiums, according to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes.

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