Jumping into renovations that could lower insurance premiums is a bit like putting the cart before the horse. At the top of the to-do list is finding the best homeowners insurance for your needs in terms of both coverage and cost. Only after you’re sure that your policy is right for your situation should you start to consider aligning your home improvements with factors that reduce your premiums.
Read on to learn more about three valuable home improvements, as well as a few that could end up costing more money in the long run.
Strengthen Your Roof
Asphalt shingles seem to be the default roofing material, but their condition can degrade over time when exposed to inclement weather. According to The Family Man, insurance companies often offer significant discounts—even up to 45 percent—for investment in stronger materials. Don’t assume anything before chatting with your insurance agent, but be sure to ask about materials discounts if you’re planning any renovations. Metal and other heavy-duty roofing materials cost more up front, but could earn you discounts and hold up better over time.
Install or Improve Home Security
It’s never a bad thing to feel like you have eyes in the back of your head when it comes to your house, especially for added security when you’re away. Your insurance company will view your house as more of a risk if it has spotty security and lacks basic safety measures. The Insurance Information Institute suggests that improving your home security systems can potentially decrease your homeowners insurance as follows:
• Smoke detector, burglar alarm, or deadbolt locks (5 percent)
• Sprinkler system and fire/burglar alarm that alerts authorities (15-20 percent)
Modernize Heating, Electrical, and Plumbing
Do you use modern appliances in your home? Water heater malfunction is one of the most common causes for filing a water damage claim, and comes with an average cost of $4,400. In a similar vein, half of washing machine-related water damage claims come from faulty water supply hoses. The average cost for these repairs is over $6,000 based on the same set of data from the Insurance Journal. While it can be daunting to envision appraising and updating systems like plumbing, heating, and electrical, it’s important for your safety and for the safety of your home. Since the repairs tend to be costly if something does go awry, it’s beneficial to anticipate and head off these problems ahead of time by keeping your systems updated and well-maintained.
There is one bright spot. As the National Association of Insurance Commissioners points out, optimizing these systems to be disaster-proof can potentially earn you a discount on your future premiums. Before you embark on any modifications, talk to your insurance provider.
Conditions That Could Set You Back
Just like streamlining your home can knock money off your insurance premium, certain factors can increase it. Risk associated with pets and swimming pools could bump up your premium, so it’s worthwhile investigating before you decide to adopt a large dog or put in a pool. Where you live also influences your rates, including living in a place known for having conditions that produce natural disasters.
Your best bet is checking in with your homeowners insurance company if you’re planning on making any changes to your home as they could affect your rates one way or another.