Among the expenses that come with home ownership, there’s a term used when totaling up what your entire cost of home ownership is of a month. It’s called PITI, which stands for Principal, Interest, Taxes (as in property taxes), and Insurance. Homeowners insurance is a must and is required by a lender to be in place before a loan is approved. There are some things you can do though, to try to keep that cost down as much as possible. What are they? I’m glad you asked.

1 Increase the deductible. The higher your deductible, the less risk the insurer is taking so the lower your premium.

2 Shop around. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of companies willing to insure your home, so it pays to shop around.

3 Improve your credit score. More and more insurance companies are using credit score as a factor in determining how much your premium will be or to offer discounts.

4 Install a security system. While putting a sign in your window that says “beware of dog,” may deter some burglars, it won’t be enough to reduce your premium. You can get security systems installed pretty cheaply with a very reasonable monthly fee. It’s worth it for the extra piece of mind.

5. Stop smoking. If you’re a smoker, guess what? Your insurer sees that as a risk factor in insuring your home. Fire claims run into the millions and millions of dollars. Homes with smokers run a much higher risk of being destroyed by fire. If you were a smoker when you took out the policy but have recently quit, be sure to contact your insurer and let then know.