12 Changes You Can Make to Your Home That Will Reduce Your Premiums
There are many ways to reduce the cost of your insurance. Everyone is looking for the lowest possible rates, however, we would argue that focusing on price (alone) as the means to reduce insurance cost only solves a single issue (price) and typically leads to disappointment. But what if there is a different way? What if focusing on lowering risk was your main focus? By looking at ways to reduce your risk, you can reduce the cost of your insurance while also increasing your peace of mind. The best insurance claim experience is to not have one to begin with. Here are 12 things you can do to reduce your risk and increase your level of security
- Install Central Station Fire & Burglar Alarms. Installing an alarm system that is monitored by a central reporting station is one of the most common ways to protect a home. The credit is worth 10% (or more) of your home insurance. The credit could be worth significantly more if you live in an area where fire hydrants are sparse (Over 1000 ft from your home). Central Station alarms notify the fire department of a fire and/or the police in the event of breaking in quickly. The faster a fire department is aware of a fire, the faster they arrive to hopefully minimize the loss. Central Station burglar alarms reduce the likelihood of a break-in by 60% according to the FBI. Fire alarms can reduce response times down to minutes.
- Installing a Whole-house Permanent Backup Generator. Permanently installed, Whole-house generators are certainly not cheap, but with today’s increasing weather volatility, they can be a godsend. Generators designed to automatically turn on during a power loss can greatly reduce the chances of sump overflows, water back-ups, food spoilage losses, and more. Credits vary but tend to be roughly worth 7% of your home premiums. It’s important to note, roll-out generators are not eligible for this credit because it relies on human effort to turn them on. Permanent generators typically do not.
- Installing an Automatic Water Shut-off Device. Automatic water shut-off device has become incredibly important, especially for homes that have had water losses in the past five years. Past water losses are said to be the greatest indicator of future water losses. Because of this, underwriters scrutinize risks that have had prior losses. Automatic water shut off valves are designed to shut down the main water line into the home at the first sign of a sudden drop in pressure within a pipe. Pressure drops are synonymous with burst pipes and leaks. This credit for a system is worth roughly 8% of your premium, but as much as 12% if you also have it connected to a centrally monitored alarm system. There is a cost to install one, but the credit and protection are permanent and can prove to be critical in obtaining insurance for your home following water claims. Devices from carriers such as WaterCop & FloLogic can be purchased directly from the company and they will also recommend a licensed professional to do the install.
- Install a Centrally Monitored Low-temperature Alarm. If you are going to install a central station alarm, we suggest you pay the one-time fee to also install a low-temperature monitor sensor in the home. Credits are only 2-4% of your home premium, but it pays for itself in only one or two years. A low temp monitor will notify you and the central station when the temperature in your home has dropped to an abnormal low temp indicating that there is a problem at home before a pipe freezes and possibly bursts. Your alarm company should be able to install this for you.
- Install a Lightning Rod System. If you live in an area surrounded by trees, this may not be something useful to you, but if you don’t or you’ve removed enough trees from around you home, you may have created a hazard. Your home’s peak could be the tallest structure in an open area making it prone to lightning strikes. A qualified electrician should be able to install lightning rods on your roofline with a ground wire out to your yard to dissipate the electricity from a strike. The credit for such a system is roughly worth 2-5% depending on your insurer.
- Install a Radio Back Up to Your Central Station Alarm. If you have the alarm system installed already, ask your company to install a radio back up to your system. In the event the landline is cut, the radio back up continues to operate. Typically, this will double the cost of your alarm monitoring, but the credit from the insurer at about 2-3% will generally cover the cost of the installation and provide you with additional security from thieves.
- Install a New Roof. Believe it or not, installing a new roof can lead to a sizable credit on your home insurance. Many carriers have a sliding scale of credits they apply for a new roof. The newer it is, the greater the credit. This one varies by carrier, but it can be worth hundreds annually in some cases. If your roof is new, make sure your home insurer is aware of the exact age.
- Install a Gate Across Your Driveway. Installing a gate for your driveway that limits access from thieves driving up your driveway and unloading your home is also worth roughly 2% in savings but can also provide 100% peace of mind. The more difficult it is to access your home the less likely someone is to try and rob it.
- Install Water Leak Detection Devices. Unlike the automatic water shut off valve, water leak detection systems won’t stop a leak from continuing, but it will quickly notify you if your water heater bursts, AC units leak or overflow, pipes drip or your sump overflows. Credits for this type of system can be worth about 2% and possibly more if connected to your alarm system. Again, the faster the notification, the smaller the loss.
- Install Storm Shutters or Hurricane Force Wind Impact Glass. If you live in a coastal area prone to hurricanes, storm shutters, hurricane glass, or predrilled plywood panels can do a world of wonders. They can lower your premium, increase market availability, and even qualify you for the removal of a hurricane deductible. Credits for storm shutters will vary depending on where you live and your insurance carrier.
- Install a Gas Leak Detector to Your Alarm System. If you have a central station alarm system now, and have natural gas or propane coming into your home, a gas leak detection sensor added to your alarm system could save you 2% but also your life. Call your alarm company to install this sensor.
- Install Interior Home Sprinklers. Most insurance carriers will provide you with a credit if you have interior sprinklers installed in your home. This is a rare find in most states, however in parts of New York state, it can be far more common. Credits will vary for sprinklers and the cost to install, significant.
There are many ways for you to save money and give yourself increased peace of mind that won’t require you to make unnecessary coverage sacrifices. If you want to save money, contact Daigle & Travers to discuss your options. We represent more than 18 home insurance carriers with a variety of coverage and credit options worth exploring. We would be happy to advise you on these and other risk management techniques that will lead to greater insurability and lower insurance rates with great insurance coverage over a longer period time.