Owning a home is not a cheap commitment. In addition to the initial costs of purchasing a home, you need to pay for its upkeep, repairs, and utilities. Another major expense that homeowners face is insurance. Homeowners insurance helps people protect their investment should something disastrous happen to the property. While this protection is important to many families, and often required by mortgage lenders, it means that you’ll be paying insurance premiums for as long as you own the property.
However, you don’t have to be stuck with the same high insurance rates from when you first bought your house. There are many ways to save on homeowners insurance, such as shopping around for different rates and increasing your deductible. Another method is to make certain improvements to your home. While there will be the initial cost of the improvements, you may be able to significantly lower your rates and save on homeowners insurance in the long run. You also get the added benefits of boosting your home’s value and being able to enjoy an improved home. Let’s take a look at some home improvement projects you can do this year that may be able to help you save on homeowners insurance.
Exploring the Basics
Your home is likely the most valuable asset you’ll ever own. For that reason, you protect it with home insurance. However, have you thought about ways you can lower your premium besides bundling insurance policies?
There are a couple of foolproof ways to make the insurance companies happy. These include repairing your roof if and when needed. This prevents future damage, especially weather-related. Another way to save money and purchase better home insurance while you’re at it is to install a security system. This helps prevent you from getting burglarized, something which a home insurance policy covers after your deductible. Budget home insurance is usually just as good as any other policy. To be sure, go over several home insurance quotes with a reputable insurance agent before making a decision. If you’re interested in a particular insurance carrier for a building insurance quote, check out the about home insurance dedicated page or blog to get an idea of what they offer before requesting a quote.
Home insurance is mandatory in order to get a mortgage. Even if you own your home outright, it’s still a good idea to have home insurance to cover anything unexpected that might happen down the road.
Replace Your Roof
Depending on where you live, replacing or renovating your roof can help you significantly decrease your homeowners insurance. For instance, there are 20 states particularly prone to hail and in those states replacing your roof can give you a “roof age” discount. In areas that are prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, or wildfires, your insurance provider may be inclined to give you a big discount if you invest in a roof replacement that uses stronger materials that provide great protection against these natural disasters. State Farm, for example, offers a discount of up to 35% for impact-resistant roofs in some states.
Even if you don’t live in an area where natural disasters are common, you may be able to save on homeowners insurance by contacting a roofing company to replace your roof. You can also get more protection by replacing it. Most home policies will cover roofs, but only some insurers will offer full protection for roofs of all ages. Other insurers use depreciation schedules based on the roof’s age to dictate how much protection you get. The newer the roof is, the more the insurer will pay to replace it should something happen. If your roof is too old, and a disaster causes destruction to your home’s roof, your insurance policy may not cover the repairs or replacement at all.
Install a Security System
A great way to save on homeowners insurance is to install a home security system. Insurers love to see that you’re taking steps to protect your home and property from unwanted visitors or dangerous fires. It reduces the chances that they’ll need to pay up on your behalf, so they’ll often offer great discounts in exchange for you installing security measures.
The discount you get will depend on the level of security you add. A simple smoke detector, burglar alarm, or dead-bolt lock will usually give you at least a 5% discount. Some companies offer a 15% to 20% cut on your premiums if you install more advanced systems, like a sprinkler system or a burglar alarm that rings the police or fire departments. As these systems can be a bit pricey, you should check with your insurer beforehand to see the exact discount they offer and if they recommend a certain kind of security system. You can also check with them to see if they’ll give you a discount for various security improvements. For instance, you may install new doors in your home or have a garage door repair service fix your garage doors so that they are more secure. These measures may not fall under traditional security system upgrades, but they certainly make your property more secure and could earn you an insurance discount.
Install Sensors and Detectors
We know that installing smoke detectors can help you save on insurance from looking at improving security systems, but adding other types of sensors and detectors can also help lower your premiums. Sensor systems that detect gas leaks, water leaks, or extreme changes in temperature in your home can each reduce your rates as well. Insurers view these systems as safeguards that alert you to problems within the home and give you a chance to respond to them. If your plumbing starts leaking, for instance, the detector will notify you and you can shut off the main water valve before too much damage occurs. Without the detector, the insurer would be responsible for paying for the water damage.
Depending on your insurer and where you live, smoke detectors may earn a 2% to 5% discount on premiums. Be sure to check with your insurer, however, as some don’t offer any discounts for smoke detectors because they are required in many parts of the country. A gas leak detection system, freeze alarm that detects temperature changes, or water leak detector can give you a 3% to 5% discount on your insurance. Smart home technology systems can also help you save on homeowners insurance, as these systems can let you know remotely if a fire or burglary is happening. Insurers like any level of protection you can add to your home and smart systems certainly provide that.
Improve Major Home Systems
When you upgrade your home’s electric, heating, or plumbing system, you may be able to save on homeowners insurance. Whether you’re replacing your original plumbing system while you’re undergoing bathroom remodeling or you’re doing an upgrade solely focused on the plumbing, be sure to contact your insurer to see what kind of discount they can give. When you do this, be aware that they likely won’t offer a discount for other improvements you make during a bathroom remodel. In fact, your rates may go up if you use higher quality materials that increased the value of your home.
This is why it is important to check how much of a discount an upgraded plumbing system would get you before you put in the work. Depending on the upgrade and your insurer, it could be as much as 20%. Insurers tend to offer a discount for plumbing improvements because it makes your home less vulnerable to flooding from a burst pipe inside, the damage of which they would cover.
Insurers look favorably on improvements to your heating and cooling and electrical systems because they reduce your risk of fires. Again, you should first verify how much of a discount you can see with your insurer before you upgrade these major systems. The percentages will vary greatly based on the type of improvement and eligibility will change from state-to-state.
Trim Your Trees
The trees and brush around your home could pose a fire hazard to the structure, especially if you live in an area prone to wildfires. Depending on your area and insurer, you may be able to save 5% on your insurance by investing in tree trimming and cutting back dry brush near dwellings and outbuildings. Without this growth near your home, there is less of a chance of it catching on fire should a wildfire break out in your area.
However, this discount usually requires your community to participate in the Firewise program sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association. In this program, people learn how to adapt to living with wildfires. Neighbors are encouraged to work together to take action, such as trimming back dry brush, to prevent losses. If your community already participates in this program, contact your insurer to ask about any discounts that are available for your efforts.
Install a Generator
Installing a generator can also earn you a discount on your homeowners insurance. This is because a home that has a working generator is much more likely to keep its systems and appliances operating during and after a power outage. These systems and appliances include dehumidifiers, refrigerators, sump pumps, and central air conditioning units. By maintaining these systems, a generator helps reduce the likelihood of pricey mishaps and insurance claims.
Depending on where you live and your area’s likelihood of losing power, you can see significant savings. Amica, for instance, offers discounts from 4% to 10% on the property portion of its homeowner policy when a home has an automatic generator. Homeowners will often need to show insurers proof that the generator has been permanently installed by a licensed professional. Generators that you have to hook up to your home’s electric system when the power goes out won’t cut it, unfortunately, as it depends on you taking action to mitigate the damage each time. The automatic generator, in contrast, will be able to power on as soon as it detects that your home’s electricity is out without you having to do a thing.
Add Safety Measures Around Your Pool
Your family, friends, and neighbors may all love you for getting a beautiful swimming pool in your backyard, but your insurer is going to have a slightly different view. Within the insurance industry, a swimming pool is often cited as an example of an “attractive nuisance.” An attractive nuisance is anything that can attract a child and pose a safety danger to the unsupervised child, such as trampolines, man-made ponds, farm equipment, and swimming pools.
Insurance policies for homes with swimming pools usually come with a large amount dedicated to personal liability protection, which is meant to cover medical costs for a person who is injured in your pool. If they sprain an ankle from an ungraceful dive into the pool, for example, they’ll need to seek sprained ankle pain relief and they may expect you to pay for it. Your insurance would cover that, but you’ll first need to pay up for that constant protection. The personal liability protection also covers any legal expenses you incur if you’re sued for an injury that occurs at your pool.
However, there are a few safety measures you can add to your pool to help make it a safer feature in your home and help you save on homeowners insurance. When you contact a pool company for pool installation services, ask them about the safety features they offer. They’ll likely have quite a few ideas to make your pool the safest it can be. The first is building a fence around the pool with a lock to keep it secure. Some insurers require a fence to even cover a pool in the first place, but if yours doesn’t, adding a fence could help lower your rates.
Another great safety feature is an automatic or manual pool safety cover. This will allow you to keep kids out of the dangerous waters whenever you’re not around, which insurers will like. You can also post a sign on the fence around your pool notifying swimmers of dangers and rules like no running or diving. Providing accessible safety equipment and taking away dangerous accessories like diving boards and slides can also help lower your rates when you have a pool.
Save on Homeowners Insurance This Year
If you’re struggling to pay your high insurance premiums, look into some of these improvements that can help you save on homeowners insurance. You may be planning on updating your plumbing system or replacing your roof anyways this year, so ensuring you do so in a way to helps you save on homeowners insurance will kill two birds with one stone. Remember that any measures you take to protect your home against natural disasters, like installing storm shutters or reinforcing your home’s structure to be more earthquake-resistant, will show insurers that you’re taking the appropriate steps to protect your home.
If you’re not looking to spend money to save on homeowners insurance, call your insurer and ask about discounts you may be eligible for. People who are over 55 and are retired or disabled are often eligible for discounts, as they spend more time at home and are more likely to maintain it and prevent damage from occurring. Some companies also offer longevity discounts, with about 5% off if you’ve been with them for three to five years and 10% for six years or more. You don’t have to suffer under high insurance premiums, simply call up your insurer and ask about ways you can save today.
Other Types of Insurance: Car Insurance
Automobile insurance is as essential to car owners as home insurance is to homeowners. In many places, you need automobile insurance in order to legally drive. But it is important to have everywhere, just in case of an accident. However, you don’t necessarily have to go with the first insurance company you find. Nor do you need to stay with whichever insurance company you go with first.
If you want to find auto insurance solutions, you can find it on the internet. Sometimes you can get auto insurance online today, while other times the internet will provide the information you need in order to contact the companies. An auto insurance search tool will help you narrow down your options, finding the insurance that you need at a price within your budget. Another option is an auto insurance quote engine, where you can get an insurance quote right away. This allows you to shop around different companies with confidence, since you know what you’ll pay for their services. Auto insurance solutions are there for you whether it is your first time or if you’re looking for a new automobile insurance provider.
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