Buying a home is a dream come true, but having someone get hurt while on your property can be a total nightmare. Not only will you have to deal with the physical consequences of an injury, but you may also find your homeowners insurance premiums go up after the resulting claim. The good news is that there are some things you can do to keep your home a bit safer while at the same time minimizing your homeowners insurance costs.
Consider Breed Specifications before Adopting Pets
Many insurance carriers do not insure homeowners with certain dog breeds. Dangerous breeds are seen as too high of an exposure and homeowners with these dogs will usually be forced to pay higher premiums with a specialty carrier or be in non-compliance with a standard carrier and risk being cancelled or denied. Talk with your agent before adopting or buying a new dog. If you want a dog breed that is considered dangerous that is OK but you may need to pay additional homeowner premium and/or notify your carrier.
Have Your Utility Systems Upgraded
Every insurer will ask you how long it has been since the last upgrade to your heating, plumbing, and electrical systems. They’ll also ask about your roofing. Older homes that have not been upgraded are more likely to catch fire or experience some sort of water damage. The longer it’s been since you’ve upgraded, the more your insurance may cost. If it’s been decades, an insurance company may decline or non-renew your policy.
Smoke Detectors and Security Alarms
Every home should have smoke detectors. Most insurance companies will give you a small discount for having smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, averaging around 5%. You can get a much more significant discount, up to 15 or 20%, if you have a hard-wired alarm system, sprinkler system, or monitored security system installed. While this may save you money on your homeowners insurance, you may end up paying a monthly fee to have your system monitored. Make sure you weigh the pros and cons.
Trampolines and Swimming Pools
Insurance companies usually have rules or restrictions for trampolines and swimming pools. It’s not as much a matter of saving money on cost as it is meeting the guidelines set forth by your township and your insurance company. For example, most insurance companies prefer you not have a trampoline in your yard, but want you to have a full net around it if you do. This would keep a child from falling out of the trampoline and being hurt. Having a swimming pool means having the right security fencing around your yard and directly around the pool, if possible. These safeguards protect not only members of your own household but children (or adults) who may try to “borrow” your pool or trampoline while you’re not home.
All of these things will make your home safer and reduce your risk of an accident, injury, or loss of property. Call your insurance professional to let them know if you’ve made a change, like upgrading your security system or updating your roof. You may just qualify for a discount, or even a better program on your next renewal.