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How can I lower my homeowner's insurance premium?

April 3, 2012: 5:05 AM ET

My home insurance premium rose 19%. Why would that be, and what can I do?
—Stan Prokop, North Attleborough, Mass.

There are several reasons premiums might go up. Sometimes it's because you've made claims. At other times, increases are out of your hands, which looks like the case here: Massachusetts' insurance regulator says hikes followed "unprecedented" disasters in 2011, including tornadoes and a tropical storm.

Your options: See if another insurer has a lower rate, making sure the coverage matches; your premium, based on different rate formulas, could easily vary by 10%. Ask your auto insurer if you can get a package deal. And if you have cash to cover a higher deductible, you can raise it in return for a lower premium.

"The more bumps and bruises you don't pass on, the lower your rate," says Kevin Alsup of Foundation Financial Group in Jacksonville.

—Kate Ashford

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