Now that you're about to close on a house, you want to learn how to keep your homeowners insurance rates as low as possible. A relatively high deductible keeps premiums lower, but you also might consider getting certain types of home improvements that insurance agents like to see. Security features and enhancements that protect the house from adverse weather are examples. You don't need to have all these improvements done at once, but they are possibilities to keep in mind whenever you decide to make changes.
Upgrades to Electrical Wiring
If you're buying an older house with a fuse box electrical system, it may be a good time to have an electrician upgrade the wiring to a circuit breaker system. Wiring can hold up well for many decades, but older systems aren't necessarily equipped to handle 21st-century electrical needs -- or even late 20th-century devices. A combination of a microwave oven, clothes dryer, space heaters and an array of electronics can routinely overload the system.
At the very least, your home should have deadbolt locks on all the doors. Additional security features that could result in lower insurance premiums include surveillance cameras and burglar alarms.
Wired Smoke Alarms
Battery-powered smoke alarms are the most common versions, but you can have smoke alarms wired right in to your electrical system. Insurance companies know that people aren't always prompt about replacing dead batteries in smoke alarms, so having wired models is reassuring to the underwriters.
Get a wired smoke detector installed on each floor of your home. The devices have a battery backup in case the power goes out.
A Sump Pump
Some homeowners spend decades living in a house with basement rainwater issues. Perhaps you've noticed that the other houses in this neighborhood have sump pump hoses going out to the yard, or you've seen some staining in the basement that indicates past problems with storm water. If you find evidence that your new place may be prone to getting water in the basement during heavy rains, have a sump pump installed.
Storm Protection Features
If you live in a hurricane zone, you most likely have hurricane coverage as part of your policy. Storm protection features can lower your insurance premiums for this part of the coverage. These features are also beneficial in regions prone to tornadoes.
You can have storm shutters installed if the house doesn't have any or does not have impact windows. Whenever you're ready to have windows replaced, consider getting impact glass, also known as hurricane glass. Impact-resistant glass is practically unbreakable. Impact doors also mean lower insurance rates.
There's an added advantage to impact-resistant features -- they add substantial protection against break-ins from would-be burglars.
A generator fueled with natural gas, liquid propane or diesel fuel keeps the electricity on when the power goes out. That's important if this happens when temperatures are bitterly cold and frozen plumbing pipes are possible. During hot weather, if a severe storm causes any amount of flooding in the house, a generator helps you dry things out with fans and your dehumidifier while the electric company works to restore service.
Of course, a generator has additional benefits that don't relate to insurance premiums. You can keep your heat, air conditioning, refrigerator and electric water heater going with a generator when the electricity is out.
Although you'll need to pay an upfront cost for your home improvements, you'll save money every year on homeowners insurance and increase the value of your property. You'll also increase the likelihood that the house will sell more rapidly if you do put it on the market.
In addition, these various features can boost your satisfaction with your home as well as bring you peace of mind in regard to safety, security and comfort.Share