Houstonians save money by making homes safer

All it takes is having your local police or sheriff's department come to your house and conduct a home security inspection

By Bill Spencer - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - Every week dozens of smart Houstonians are cutting their home insurance premiums by up to 20 percent.

All it takes is having your local police or sheriff's department come to your house to conduct what's called a home security inspection.

Daunte Hill, 38, a mortgage banker with Chase Bank, did just that and is now saving close to 300 dollars every year on his homeowners insurance premiums.

Hill knew it was wise to put deadbolt locks on all his doors.

He put double locks on all of  his windows and he had a monitored alarm system installed at his home.

What Hill didn't know, is that all of that protection could be saving him hundreds of dollars on his insurance.

"Madeline told me I could save 20 percent on my premium and I was like wow!  I had no idea I could do that, I never heard of a program like that", Hill says.

What are we talking about?  It's a program started in 2003 in connection with the Texas Department of Insurance.

It's a program that State Farm Insurance agent Madeline Nguyen of Sugar Land offers to all of her clients.

"You'd be surprised, not a lot of people, even smart home buyers, know about all the money they could be saving with this program.  When I tell them about it they are always like, oh that really exists?" Madeline said while shaking her head.

It starts with an inspection conducted by your local crime prevention officer.

You schedule the appointment.

An officer will conduct a free, 30-minute inspection of your home.

The officer will check every exterior door to see if they have all deadbolt locks, then the windows.

The windows must all have double locks to keep out thieves.

The officer will also check to see if you have a fully-monitored burglar alarm.

If you pass the inspection you get a certificate from the Texas Department of Insurance that could earn you that 20 percent discount.

If you are currently paying $2,000 a year in home insurance premiums, you could save $400 every year.

Not all insurance providers offer to give you this discount. 

If your insurance agent doesn't offer it to you, or refuses to tell you about it, Hill says "wake up" and call another insurance company that does.

"Hey, I say go for it.  This is your life, your home and your income we are talking about.  Do it," Daunte said.

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