While condo insurance rates are typically lower than other insurance costs, they still represent a good portion of a condo owner’s budget. Finding ways reduce your condo insurance costs can add up to significant savings. Although some savings depend on the condo corporation’s management of your unit, other savings depend on your proactivity.
Here are some tips on how to save on your condo insurance costs.
What can you do about your condo
- Building reno: When your condo corporation decides to refresh some elements of your building, do not forget to cross-check with your insurer to see if you can get some credit for it. (For example, roof upgrades are always welcomed by insurance companies.)
- Security improvements: If your condo corporation decides to improve condominium security by having a guard patrol the territory or by improving /adding an alarm system, that may positively impact your premiums as well.
- Firefighting infrastructure: If the city, town or municipality decides to put a fire station close to your place or, at least, to install an additional hydrant, your premiums will benefit from that; your fire risk will go down because fire fighters can be deployed quicker.
- Smoke detectors: If your condo unit did not have any smoke detectors but you have an opportunity to install one or two, doing so will potentially slightly decrease your rates. Even if it does not impact your rates, having smoke detectors in the home is a very good idea.
What can you do about your habits
- Switch to annual payments: Some insurers appreciate your paying annually instead of monthly as it means less administrative work, such as billing, for the insurers. When they save money, they often pass the savings on to you with applicable discounts.
- If you smoke, stop it: Insurers reward non-smokers with much better rates as non-smokers significantly reduce the risk of fire in a condo. If you can demonstrate that you stopped smoking, collect your savings.
- Long-term clients: Some insurers may reward your long years of staying with them as a customer and offer a loyalty discount – ask for it.
- Benchmark you price: Make sure that you compare your condo insurance rates annually, especially before renewing your policy. Better offers can be out there, so search for them.
- Maintain a great credit score: Insurers like great customers who always pay their bills and they sometimes reward great credit scores with better rates. Get your spending under control and pay off your debt.
- Eliminate your mortgage: Some insurers offer discounts to those who pay off their mortgages. Look into accelerated payments, or see how many extra payments you can add each year.
- Being a student: Some insurers understand the financial situation of students, and thus allow them to benefit from better rates.
- Being an alumni: Once you are done with your studies, especially if you are a graduate of larger universities, such as McGill or U of T, you can benefit from even better rates.
- Become a member of a professional association: Are you a member of a pilot association, nurse association or are you a chartered public accountant? These groups benefit from the group rates that are offered by some insurers.
- Being a senior policy holder: Seniors tend to spend a lot of time at home, and thus chances of any unobserved risks decrease. Insurers like insuring more senior members of our society, and they can reward you with lower premiums.
What can you do about your policy:
- Condo coverage limits: By reviewing your coverage limits and getting only as much insurance as you need, you can reduce your costs. If you have only contents for $30,000 and a policy offers, on default, $50,000, you can decrease it.
- Bundle your condo insurance with auto insurance: Most insurers will give you a bundle discount and reduce your rates by 5 to 7 per cent if you buy both your home insurance and your car insurance from them.
- Play with your deductibles: Adjusting your deductibles (increasing them) if you can afford higher out-of-pocket amounts if an accident happens will save you a few dollars every month. Check if it is worth it.
- No claims = better rates: Some insurers will recognize you for not filing any claims – they call it a claim-free discount. If you were lucky in the past and did not submit a claim, it is worthwhile to inquire about this discount.
- Drop earthquake coverage: Depending on your region, you might consider dropping this endorsement if an insurer includes it by default in your policy. Think twice about doing this in Vancouver, though – this region is known for some seismic activity. However, in Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto, earthquake chances are much lower because these cities are not located on major fault lines.
- Using brokers: If you buy your insurance policy from an insurance company, a price comparison is not easy. If you leverage online aggregators or online brokers, you can compare rates from up to 30 providers, and this allows you to benefit from the best rates.