Home Improvements That Affect Homeowners Insurance Premiums

A homeowners insurance policy is essential to the safety of your house and of the possessions in it. It protects your large investment from a large number of possible damages. Let’s look at some of the basics of homeowners insurance and also investigate 5 different home improvement projects that each have the potential to lower your home insurance rates.

Standard Homeowners Insurance Policy Coverage

Standard policies protect from damages like:

  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Explosions
  • Hail damage
  • Theft
  • Burglary

However, a standard policy will not offer protection against damages caused by neglect due to insufficient maintenance. In addition, most standard policies will not include things like sewage leaks, earthquakes and floods.

The Cost of Homeowners Insurance

Home insurance cost can vary widely based on some tangible variables and some home insurance cost can be much higher than others. While almost everyone that is of driving age has at least some familiarity with the various discounts for car insurance that are available, discounts for home insurance are not as well known. There are at least five major factors that will affect the cost of a home insurance policy, and these are geographical location, age of house, construction materials, security systems, and type of pets.

1. Geographical location. A house in a location that is prone to natural disasters will have a higher premium cost. For instance, homes in California are vulnerable to earthquakes and homes on the East Coast and on the Gulf Coast are vulnerable to the impact of hurricanes. The cost of premiums is higher in areas like these because the insurance company will take on a greater risk by insuring a house here.

2. Age of house. The older the house, the more risk the insurance company takes because plumbing and electrical systems will begin to break down due to wear and tear.

3. Construction materials. Different construction materials last for different periods of time. Wood, for example, will not last as long as brick, so a wooden house will cost more to insure than a brick one.

4. Security system. The less the security features, the greater the risk. Security features include burglar and fire alarms.

5. Types of pets. The more ferocious the pet, the more likely it is to be the cause of a liability claim. The greatest risk, from the point of an insurance company, is the liability caused by a dog bite. In fact, some home insurers consider certain breeds of dog as high risk because of their statistical probability of biting someone. The list includes:

  • Saint Bernards
  • Chow Chows
  • Malamutes
  • German Shepherds
  • Pit Bulls
  • Great Danes
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Rottweilers

How to Lower the Cost of a Homeowners Insurance Policy

The fact that a home insurance cost can vary widely because of risk factors is also beneficial because it gives the homeowner an opportunity to lower insurance costs by lowering the risk the insurance company takes in protecting your house.

While there are numerous ways of proactively increasing safety standards in your house, the five most important include updating and improving maintenance, reducing the risk of theft or robbery, installing general safety systems, guarding your home from natural disasters, and making swimming pool areas safer.

Each of these methods will make a significant difference to lowering the insurance risks associated with your house and the more of them you can apply, the lower your insurance costs will be. While some may take a few days to implement, others can be done in an hour.

Let’s look at these five methods in more depth:

1 – Updating and Improving Maintenance

The way to lower the possibility of making a claim is to update any old plumbing, heating, and electrical systems and install any missing but necessary systems like, for instance, a back flow device for sewers.

The older the plumbing, heating, and electrical systems, the more likely they are to break down. What’s more, in some older houses, indifferent contractors did not build according to the established safety codes for wiring or pipes. By updating and correcting maintenance issues, the chances of electrical problems that pose a fire risk or plumbing disasters caused by broken pipes is significantly decreased.

What’s more, since most standard home insurance don’t cover damage caused by sewer backups, it’s possible to get sewer backup coverage by adding back flow devices. If you do have this coverage, installing a back flow device might earn a discount.

2 – Reducing the Risk of Theft or Robbery

Damage to your house and its possessions can come from intruders like thieves and robbers. It’s possible to get as much as a 20% discount by adding high-tech security systems like alarms that alert police immediately if there is a burglary, shatter-proof windows, motion lights, security gates, and other such devices. Although not as reliable, a cheaper alternative is to get locks for doors, windows, and the front gate, and the discount for these types of security measures is about 10%.

3 – Installing General Safety Systems

Apart from damage and losses caused by intruders, security measures can include taking protective measures against carbon monoxide poisoning and fire alarms. By installing alarms, or even an indoor sprinkler, a homeowner can get discounts.

4 – Guarding Your Home from Natural Disasters

Natural disasters are usually a result of high winds or earthquakes. High winds, like storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes, can cause tremendous damage to a house, but fortunately there are a number of devices that can be installed to improve resistance to wind damage. These include devices like wall braces, clips, secondary water barriers, reinforced shingles, and special shutters.

In areas vulnerable to earthquake damage, a professional service can offer many solutions to earthquake-proof your house. These solutions are based on different ways to reinforce the structure of a building.

5 – Making the Swimming Pool Area Safer

While homeowners take great pride in having a swimming pool, viewing it as an opportunity to throw neighborhood poolside parties or enjoy some regular exercise, insurers view them with suspicion because the statistics of accidents associated with swimming pools is alarmingly high. Accidents from drowning have frequently resulted in high medical hospital bills or expensive lawsuits. Numerous measures can be taken to improve safety around a swimming pool, including removing diving boards, posting safety regulations and building a fence with a lock on the main gate.

About the Author: Alyssa is a personal finance writer that freelances for a home insurance quotes website and a car insurance quotes website. When she is not researching and writing she can usually be found trying to squeeze in a game of tennis.

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