Issues with homeowners' insurance reduction

Issues With Homeowners' Insurance Reduction

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A new state law allows homeowners to get reduced rates on their homeowners' insurance if they take a safety course. But it turns out signing up and saving money isn't that easy just yet.

It may be a while because the state told 2 On Your Side that insurance companies could just start signing up January 1, 2017.

The law allows you to get cheaper rates for fire or homeowners' insurance if you complete a homeowner course in natural disaster preparedness, home safety, and loss prevention.

The state already offers citizen preparedness courses. The ones this month are all downstate. You can take the course online, but when we asked the state about this, we were told those courses won't get you a discount at this point because it's up to the insurance companies to get on board first.

The NYS Department of Financial Services oversees insurance companies, but put 2 On Your Side’s Kelly Dudzik on hold and hung up on her Wednesday.

UPDATE: DFS got back to us Thursday and a spokesperson says no insurance companies have applied with the state to be part of the program yet. DFS says you should contact your insurance company if you have any questions. 

Bob Reed is the President of the New York State Fire Safety Educators Association. He's been a volunteer firefighter for more than 30 years. His group worked for the last twelve years to get this law passed.

"Slip and fall protection, home security, a number of different facets rolled into one similar to the drivers' safety course you take. About five or six hours long. But then again, that's something that the (New York) State Property Casualty Division and Department of Financial Services has to set the basic rules for it and authorize the courses and the training, to which there's none that have been approved," said Reed.

Reed says you should check with your insurance company to find out whether it plans on offering discounts and to see which courses you can take to get credit.

Reed's group is developing a course that'll be available in a few months at the earliest.

We also don't know how much the discounts will be yet. Reed says that's up to the insurance companies. But the bottom line is call your insurance company if you have questions.


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