Value in your house: Recession-proof your home

Rising food and gas prices are leaving American homeowners with less money to spend and more concerns about the future. As some homeowners lose credit lines due to a loss of equity, some are looking for ways to stretch a dollar or increase the value of a home.

The perfect place to start may be your insurance. "People have a lot of opportunities to reduce their homeowners insurance premium if they invested in certain equipment and protective services in their house," says Peter Spicer of Chubb Insurance. And, well, now is a good time to see if you can save money and place your money elsewhere.

You might think about starting with an alarm. Not only can safety save you from physical harm, it can also offer monetary savings. Did you know that your premium can dip by as much as 20% if you install a sophisticated sprinkler system, and a fire and burglar alarm system that rings directly to a monitor station, according to the Insurance Information Institute.