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Let's face it:  With the destructive storm seasons the past several years--along with the outbreak of  tornadoes in central Oklahoma last May--homeowners insurance in this state is not getting cheaper.  In fact, many carriers have pulled out of Oklahoma, or if they've stayed, they've significantly increased their premiums and deductibles.  Want to avoid the worst of "sticker shock" when your homeowners policy renews?  Here are a few useful tips!

*Deductible.  Many insurers have already significantly raised deductibles--at least the deductible for windstorm/hail--but if you have a policy with a $500 deductible, think about raising it to $1,000.  Or even $2,500.  This will shave several dollars off of your premium!  Here's a rule of thumb:  self-insure the smaller losses; insurance should come in to protect you in the event of a major loss. 

*Bundle.  Insurance companies want your auto insurance!  If you have your homeowners policy with one carrier, and your auto policy with another carrier, think about putting your auto and your homeowners with one carrier.  Most insurers offer discounts, around 5%, to insure both your autos and your home.  So it saves to bundle!

*Security.  Underwriters love home security.  If you install a home security system, they'll reward you with a lower premium.  Even more fundamental security measures, such as putting deadbolt locks on all outside doors, should result in premium savings.  Underwriters also look favorably on fire prevention measures, such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.  Always share with your agent what measures have been taken to better secure your home.  Your underwriter will thank you with a lower premium!

*Employment status.  Has a member of your household recently retired?  Tell your agent!  Underwriters like the fact someone is home full-time, and will discount the homeowners premium accordingly.

*Loyalty.  Been with the same insurance company for five years?  Eight?  Twelve?  Ask your agent for a loyalty discount.  Sometimes the underwriter will agree to issue one; sometimes the underwriter will not agree to issue one.  But you'll never know if you don't ask!

It's true that homeowners insurance in this area is not cheap.  So help yourself!  There's an old saying worth sharing once more:  Watch the pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves.  Words to live by!

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