Have You Considered Home Insurance? Get Quality Tips Here.
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If you’re a new homeowner, or preparing to buy, this question has probably crossed your mind. Unfortunately, there are many things about your home that can’t be changed (i.e. its location and build) that will inevitably drive up your homeowners insurance costs. Despite these pre-existing conditions, however, there are ways you can minimize risk and possibly obtain lower rates in the future.
Those house hunting for a new home should also be aware of home attributes and structural features that affect homeowners insurance costs. While it’s easy to get caught up in a home’s marble countertops, curb appeal and updated appliances, you should know that its structure and bones have a major impact on the overall costs. If moving to a new part of the country, make sure to research regional concerns before browsing properties. For instance, if moving from the mountains to the beach, you should look at how living in a flood prone area will affect your insurance costs. Of course, every insurance company’s policies are different, so be sure to obtain multiple insurance quotes before settling on a policy.
Want a better understanding of what drives up your insurance costs? Here are 7 features that commonly affect homeowners insurance rates.
Build and Age
From wood-frame to brick construction, the first thing to consider when assessing a home’s risks is its build and structure. Many potential homeowners consider this to be the most important factor when buying a home. In general, the older the home and the worse its condition, the higher the insurance premiums will be. In some cases, insurance companies may flat out refuse to insure a home simply because it’s too risky. A few things to keep in mind: houses made of wood are considered to be more flammable and therefore, riskier. Insurance rates for these homes will typically be higher than for a brick home.
Of course, where you live will affect your homeowners insurance costs. The riskier your home’s location, the more expensive it will be to insure your abode. For instance, those living in areas of the country prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or other natural disasters may have to pay higher insurance rates. However, if you do live in a region where natural disasters occur, you can minimize insurance costs by purchasing a home built to withstand the elements. For instance, many Florida residents prefer to live in a CBS home (concrete block structure) as opposed to a wood-frame home due to insurance costs. Since CBS homes are less vulnerable to hurricane-force winds than their frame counterparts, the risk of damage is lower, which means insurance premiums will be lower as well. Those living in hurricane-prone areas may also need to purchase additional flood insurance. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to eliminate this risk if you live near the coastline. So when searching for a house, carefully assess the home’s location and its subsequent risks before making a purchase.
Do you live in a neighborhood where crime rates are considerably higher than average? Be aware that this may affect your homeowners insurance costs. Oftentimes, homes located in high-crime areas are less expensive. However, high insurance costs could offset these savings, so be sure to consider whether the price of the house is really worth the move. Of course, you could potentially lower your rates by amping up your home security. Installing a home security system, new locks and surveillance cameras could all help reduce your homeowners insurance costs.
Condition of the Roof
Many house hunters forget to consider the condition of a home’s roof when searching for a new house. However, this big ticket item can have a major impact on your insurance premiums, as well as your bank account. Replacing a roof can cost up to $25,000 or more, depending on the materials and size of the home. In addition, a roof that isn’t structurally sound is less likely to provide adequate insulation. This results in decreased efficiency of your HVAC system and higher energy bills. In general, the older and more damaged the roof, the more expensive the homeowners insurance will be. To minimize your risks, be sure to conduct routine maintenance and repairs. Additionally, opt for a roof that best fits your specific climate and geographical location to help to lower insurance premiums. For example, those living in hurricane-prone areas may choose a home with a metal roof, as this roofing material can withstand high winds.
Pools and hot tubs
If you’re one of the millions of people who have a pool or hot tub in their backyard, be prepared to pay higher insurance premiums. Unfortunately, pools and hot tubs carry serious risks to homeowners and anyone else swimming in these backyard features. For this reason, insurance companies consider pools to be “attractive nuisances.” To protect themselves from pool-related lawsuits, many pool owners will need to purchase additional liability protection, which (cha-ching!) can add up to high insurance costs. According to Value Penquin, typical policies include “$100,000 of liability protection.” However, policyholders must often purchase an additional $500,000 in order to protect against potential lawsuits from swimming pool injuries. Keep in mind though that certain preventative measures, such as adding perimeter fences around the pool and/or alarms on the doors, may help keep liability protection costs low.
Trampolines are found in thousands of backyards all over the country. Despite their popularity, though, this recreational feature means high insurance premiums for homeowners. Due to the risks associated with trampolines, homeowners must typically purchase additional liability protection. According to Allstate, “a homeowners insurance policy may provide coverage for a trampoline, assuming you have certain safety precautions in place.” These safety precautions usually include the installation of an enclosed trampoline safety net around the trampoline to protect children and adults from falling off. However, Allstate also points out that trampolines may be excluded completely from a homeowners insurance policy. This means “your policy would not provide protection for trampoline-related claims.” If you own a trampoline, make sure you have a thorough understanding of your insurance carrier’s policy regarding these features.
Wood Burning Stoves
Do you have a wood-burning stove in your home? If so, this could increase your homeowners insurance costs. Given that wood-burning stoves are more likely to start a fire than modern appliances, owning this type of stove increases your risk of fire damage (at least, in the eyes of many insurance carriers). However, you may be able to find a carrier that doesn’t consider a wood stove to be a risk when shopping around for the best price. You may also be able to get a better rate by purchasing a fire extinguisher, adding smoke detectors near your kitchen and hiring a licensed technician to perform routine maintenance on the wood stove.
Ready to move?
You’ve assessed a potential home’s insurance risks, and you’re ready to make the move. Congrats! To find a reliable moving company, check Moving.com’s extensive network of movers. Our website makes it easy to find and book the best moving company for the job. All relocation companies in our network are licensed and insured, so you can rest assured that your move will be in good hands. Good luck and happy moving!