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Insurers aim to save money through policy discounts

September 5, 2011

Coastal homeowners are no strangers to insurance companies raising rates because of losses from disasters like Hurricane Ike.

But insurers also have become more likely to shave rates for policyholders who take preventive measures to lower their odds of big losses in the future, experts who follow the industry say.

New discounts are available for everything from installing storm shutters and leak-detection sensors near plumbing to reinforcing garage doors and securing roof-deck attachments, said Deeia Beck, head of the Office of Insurance Counsel, which represents consumers before regulators.

She encouraged homeowners to ask agents about what's available, then compare prices.

"Consumers should evaluate if the discount makes their cost of insurance less for comparable insurance products," Beck said.

The object of discounting rates is to encourage behavior that reduces the number and cost of claims. Some insurance companies also use them to lure all of a customer's insurance business to one carrier.

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