Ten tips for saving on homeowner’s insurance

Sponsored by Bayou Insurance Services

If you’ve noticed your homeowner’s insurance rate going way up recently, you’re not alone. Hurricanes over the last several years have prompted some insurers to leave Louisiana altogether, and some of those who still write policies here are increasing their premiums.

But don’t let the sticker shock scare you. According to Dex Gonzales, a Baton Rouge-based producer with Bayou Insurance Services, there are several things homeowners can do to chip away at those rising prices:

1. Increase your deductible. “In the event of a claim, your out-of-pocket cost would be more, but this option allows you to save on annual premiums,” Gonzales says. “We can help you weigh whether raising your deductible is right in your personal situation.”

2. Adjust coverage. Some insurance carriers allow specific coverage amounts to be raised or lowered, depending on a homeowner’s needs. Bayou Insurance Services can help customers understand the different coverages and what adjustments could result in savings.

3. Avoid small claims. Claims that are an act of God (hurricane, tornado, lightning, etc.) will not hurt you; however other claims can create a surcharge and increased rate. Check with your agent and weigh your options before starting a claim, especially if the monetary amount of the damage is fairly low.

4. Improve your credit score. Many insurers consider a customer’s insurance score, which factors in credit when determining your price. This is another reason to stay on top of your credit.

5. Look into bundling. In some instances, taking out home and auto policies with the same carrier can lead to reduced rates overall on both policies. Being an independent agency allows Bayou Insurance to try different combos with different carriers to give you the most savings.

6. Consider the age of your roof. If you need a new roof, don’t wait until a storm damages it to get insurance to replace it. A new roof can offer major discounts and open you up to more home insurance options. If you have recently had your roof replaced, make sure to let your current agent know to update your policy, and also call around for new quotes.

7. Ask about fortified roofs. Homeowners who choose to fortify their roofs will receive discounts from home insurance carriers. The Fortified Roof Program strengthens your roof to better withstand hurricane-force winds and helps minimize damage from storms. Louisiana is offering grants of up to $10,000 to qualified homeowners who upgrade their homes to these standards.

8. Add alarms. Many insurers offer discounts on premiums for monitored security alarms and fire alarms.

9. Compare rates and review at renewal time. As an independent agency, Bayou Insurance represents multiple carriers and can offer its customers competitive rates. The best thing to do at renewal is ask to get requoted, or at a minimum do a review with your agent to see if any adjustments can be made to help save.

10. Know your agent. Bayou’s Louisiana-based licensed agents stand ready to answer questions and offer the kind of insight and expertise that can help customers navigate our state’s complex, ever-changing insurance market and help maximize your savings. In the event of a claim, they are here to help guide customers through the claims process. Local, knowledgeable agents can help get your claim processed in a timely and fair manner, which can prevent things having to go to litigation.

Gonzales is a Thibodaux native who resides in Baton Rouge with his wife Annie and 17-month-old daughter Isla. He earned his bachelor’s degree from LSU and MBA at Nicholls State University. His prior work experience taught him the traits of hard work, customer service, how to treat customers and how to do a job right. Some of those jobs included years of working with his father painting houses, his first insurance job in 2016 and then working in the car business for his brother.

In 2019, he decided to take what he had learned and get back into the insurance industry in Baton Rouge. In January 2021, Gonzales partnered with Bayou Insurance Services to open a Baton Rouge office. Bayou Insurance, owned by Jimmy Jones and his father Casey Jones, is a third-generation, locally owned insurance agency with offices in Thibodaux, Vacherie and now Baton Rouge.

“The partnership has been great and given us the opportunity to bring small-town insurance agency experience to customers in and around the Baton Rouge area,” says Gonzales. “Our staff at all of our offices are amazing, and we are all able to support each other when needed. It really helps us to give our customers the service they deserve from their insurance agency.”

Bayou Insurance prides itself on its expertise and availability to customers. In the insurance industry today, there are many national agencies popping up that will put customers on long holds or send their calls to a call center out of state or even in some cases out of the country. The focus is not really on the customer, and these actions kill good jobs and careers for Louisianians.

Bayou Insurance Services offers a wide range of insurance products ranging from home, auto, flood, commercial, life, group medical and more. Bayou represents multiple A.M. Best A-rated insurance carriers, Demotech A-rated carriers, and admitted insurance carriers, meaning they are backed by the Louisiana Insurance Guaranty Association.

For more information on ways to lower your rates, call Dex Gonzales at 225.287.8487 or visit bayouinsure.com.