If refinancing out of a bad credit mortgage isn't in the cards this year, you still might be able to save some money by getting a better deal on your homeowner's insurance. It's required by your mortgage lender, so you have to have it. But you don't have to spend an arm and a leg.

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1. Shop--Every Year

Don't just renew your policy without making sure you are getting the best deal you can. Look at pricing, of course, but also the service you could expect if you needed to file a claim. So ask friends and check consumer resources for service ratings. And ask insurers what you could do to lower your costs.

You can check out the financial stability of the firms you are considering with rating companies such as A.M. Best and Standard & Poor's . Also, you can consult consumer magazines. Find three good insurers and get price quotes.

2. Up Your Deductible

Deductibles are what you have to pay before your insurance company reimburses you for your damage claim and is determined by the terms of your policy. A higher deductible means savings on premiums. If you can raise your deductible from $500 to $1,000, you could save up to 25%.

3. Don't Insure the Home's Sales Price

The land under your house won't be stolen, blown away, or burned down, duh. So don't include its value when buying home insurance. If you do, you may pay a lot more than you should. I have seen people with$25,000 mobile homes insure them for $125,000, when $100,000 is land--look at your appraisal, and insure enough to replace the dwelling only.

4. Get Multiple-policy Discounts

Some insurers take 5% to 15% off your premium if you buy two or more policies. But make certain this combined price is lower than buying the different coverage from different companies, or all your policies from a new company.

5. Master Home Disaster

Ask your insurance agent what you can do to make your home stronger against natural disasters and see what discounts you could get.

6. Be Secure

Make sure you get discounts of at least 5% for a smoke detector, burglar alarm, or dead-bolt locks. Some companies will discount your premium by up to 20% if you install a comprehensive monitored sprinkler, fire, and burglar system.

7. More Discounts!

Retirees or those in certain careers like science, military, or teaching may get discounts of up to 10% at some companies. Employers and professional associations sometimes offer group insurance programs with special rates.

8. Take Credit

Establishing a solid credit history can cut your insurance costs. Insurers often pull credit information to price insurance policies. This is good for your future mortgage refinance, too.

9. Shop Around, But Sometimes Loyalty Pays

If you've been with an insurer for years, you could receive a special discount. Some companies will drop their premiums by 5% if you remain with them for three to five years and by 10% if you keep your policies for six years or more.

10. Evaluate Your Coverage

Make sure you add any major purchases or renovations to your home. But don't waste money on useless coverage. If your five-year-old computer is no longer worth the $4,000 you paid for it, cancel your excess coverage and save some money.

Refinancing is about more than getting the lowest mortgage rates. So compare mortgage rates, but also look to lower the other costs of home ownership.