With spring (FINALLY!) around the corner, home renovation season will soon be upon us! Home renovations can be an incredible way to increase the resale value of your home, lower your bills, and improve quality of life. However, many people forget that home renovations can also lower your home insurance premiums! The key to lowering your home insurance rates is to decrease the risks of weather-related damage, robberies, accidents, fires, and everyday wear and tear of your home. If your home renovation decreases any of those risks, your home insurance premiums may go down. But if your renovation increases any of those risks, they could also skyrocket.
Top Ten Home Renovations That Your Home Insurance Provider Should Know About For Better Or For Worse.
1. Pool and Trampoline
Lets get the bad news out of the way first. Swimming pools and trampolines are incredibly fun additions to anyone’s backyard. However, they are also the only items on the list that may cause home insurance premiums to go up! The presence of a swimming pool creates liability risks including accidental drowning, injury, and property damage. Many insurance companies will require a fence around the pool amongst other precautions. Trampolines carry a similar risk since they are essentially used to launch people into the air. Before getting that trampoline or pool of your dreams, remember to consult with Portsmouth Atlantic so that you’re properly covered.
Investing in a new or updated roof is a great choice to lower your chances of making a claim. This is especially true to those in older houses. Many insurers won’t insure you at all if your roof needs updating. A new and improved roof helps reduce the risk of both weather and structural damage which will then lower your chances of making a claim (and increase your resale value!)
Bill Wilson, vice president of education and research for the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America states that “Companies are scared to death of water claims because they can lead to mold, and mold is very expensive to remediate.” For this reason, it is an excellent idea to have your plumbing in tip top shape without any pesky leaks.
The electrical wiring of a house is a huge factor for insurance companies. As is the case with roofing and plumbing, the wiring of an older house is considered a huge risk. Many older homes have knob/tube wiring rather than ground wire and old fashioned fuses rather than circuit breakers. Many insurance companies will not provide coverage if knob and tube wiring is present in the home. Older, out-of-date wiring could possibly lead to electrical fires. Eliminate that risk by making sure your wiring is up to code and no older than twenty five years.
5. Alarm System
Installing a centrally monitored alarm system in your house can be pricey but it is a good investment to lower your premiums and ensure the safety of your family. Insurance brokers know that any robber trying to break into your house will be immediately scared off by an alarm system. Your family, house, and possessions will be safer.
6. Deadbolt Locks
If you cannot afford an alarm system, even something as minor as changing old locks to a deadbolt can make a difference in protecting your property. Your average Joe Robber will not be able to easily get into a door with dead bolted locks. Just make sure that you have every door and window locked and not just the obvious points of entry.
7. Smoke Alarms/Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home is common sense. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors save lives and homes every day.
8. Indoor Sprinklers
Indoor sprinklers are a considerable investment but if you can afford the initial cost, you will be rewarded with long-term savings on your home insurance premiums. Between smoke alarms and indoor sprinklers, it’ll be nearly impossible for a fire to truly get out of hand in your home. That kind of low-risk scenario is an insurance providers ideal risk.
9. Go Green
As the world comes together to try to be more environmentally conscious, many insurance providers are offering premium credits and discounts to people with “green” houses. Andrew Logan, director of insurance programs for Ceres, a group of investors and environmental groups, told the Wall Street Journal that “green buildings are safer than conventional homes, reduce energy use and perform better in the long run, leading to a decrease in losses and greenhouse gas emissions.” Considering the many benefits of going green, we believe that taking the environmentally friendly approach to all of your renovations is the best approach.
10. Every Other Renovation
Yep, that’s right. If a house is under construction, you may not be completely covered by your current plan. Any change to your home will likely lead to a change in your home insurance so always consult with Portsmouth Atlantic (or your current insurance agent) before and after any renovations. If you are hiring a contractor to do the renovations for you, make sure that he or she is also insured. Ask to see copies of their liability certificate displaying your address.