PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Home insurance premiums are projected to climb an average of 7% this year, but there are some hidden ways you can take control of your bill and manage the rising cost.
Jess Wright recently moved out of her city apartment to a single-family home in the suburbs, and that meant switching from renters insurance to a more expensive homeowner's insurance policy.
"Top reasons, I'm thinking a tree falls on my house, somebody gets injured, God forbid fire, major storm damage, that kind of stuff," she said.
With homeowners insurance premiums expected to rise faster than inflation, Consumer Reports says now is the time to shop around.
"You do get a loyalty benefit for sticking around with companies, but it's not as great as the benefit from getting an overall lower price from shopping around," said Tobie Stanger of Consumer Reports.
Once you've found the right insurer, CR says bundling is the best way to get a big discount. That means buying your homeowners and auto coverage from the same company, which can save up to 30%. And think about extra items to bundle, like coverage for a boat, or motorcycle.
Also raise your deductible. Moving to $1,000 from $500 can shave your premium by 25%. And while a low deductible could save money if you have a claim, odds are you won't have one any time soon.
Next, report home improvements. Any time you replace old plumbing, add security cameras, or install gas or water leak detectors, let your agent know. You may be able to trim off 2% to 6% with each additional item.
If you live in a fire-prone area, even cutting back dry brush around your home and outbuildings could generate a credit on your bill.
And finally, choose an insurer that provides great service, regardless of the premium cost. Two that have consistently landed in the top tier of CR's ratings are Amica and USAA.
"My husband's father served in the military so we have USAA insurance, and their service is incredible. They're very responsive," said Wright.
CR says a major reason for rising premiums is extreme weather-related disasters. But be aware that even if you don't live in a disaster-prone area, your rates could increase so it's best to use these saving strategies now before it's too late.