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Two Ways to Save on Expenses for Your Home

by Don Current on November 6, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Photo courtesy Bill Barber

I discovered a couple of things this week that I thought I would share with you. These tips may be able to help you reduce the cost of home ownership if you do own your own home. They are definitely reducing our expenses for this coming year and would have saved me even more money had I discovered them earlier.

Homeowner’s Insurance

I just recently received the bill for my coming year’s homeowner’s insurance. It had increased by nearly 20%. I had just switched to this company last year because the combined cost of my homeowner’s and auto insurance was significantly less than where I had been. Obviously this much of an increase with zero claims disturbed me so I called my agent. She did some checking and said that the insurance company was doing an across the board 10% increase this year. In addition, the estimated “replacement cost” of my home had been increased as they do every year for replacement cost insurance (which is the only type I recommend by the way). The amount that they were listing just seemed WAY out of line to me for my home, so I asked what inputs they were using to calculate this value. My agent said they used the description provided by the county assessor and she began to list the description of what was supposed to be my home. It didn’t match. The item that made the biggest difference though was that they had the square footage of my garage included in the total living space. When she checked on what my new rate would be, it actually had gone down as compared to the previous year. Obviously this means I actually paid too much for this previous year due to the incorrect data input.

Property Taxes

Since my agent said the assumptions they had input came from our County Assessor’s Office, my next phone call was to the Assessor’s Office. What I discovered there was that they also had my livable square footage calculated to include my garage. They didn’t have many of the other incorrect items however, so we’re still not sure how the insurance company came up with some of the items they did. Once the assessor made the adjustments, the assessed value of my home dropped over $20,000. This will have an impact on my property taxes beginning with the payment due this month.

I also discovered they still had the pool and deck listed that I tore out a couple of years ago due to disrepair and the fact that we were getting a new septic system put in that needed that space. This was apparently my responsibility to notify them however, so that correction won’t take place until I submit the proper paperwork. It will then be deducted from my assessment for the following year.

None of the paperwork I have received from either the insurance company or the assessor’s office has included the information that was incorrect. If I had not specifically inquired about it, then I would still be overpaying on both my taxes and insurance. It could very well be worth the effort for you to investigate this for your own home.