When people go house-shopping, they usually do not look at properties with insurance savings in mind. Yet they should, because the house that seems perfect in many ways might be a real dog in terms of its insurability. So a wise house-hunter will factor into his search one or two considerations about insurance—and will continue to think about it after he has moved into the home and unpacked.
Two premium-reducing considerations have to do with location. First, is the prospective new home in a flood zone? Some perfectly lovely settings sometimes are intrinsically vulnerable to rising water. The solution is not to buy near water hazards or to prepare to pay extra for flood insurance. The choice is the buyer’s and either one can be justified. Second, is the home located within a few miles of a fire station? If not, the premium for a house insurance policy will be higher to account for this added risk.
Once in a home, a prudent homeowner will consider security steps that can be taken. Deadbolts are basic pieces of hardware, but they really do frustrate burglars. If they are keyed locks that are part of a solid or metal door and are slid into a solid framework around the door, the deadbolts are an effective deterrent to even a determined burglar, let alone a skittish one.
A full-fledged security system is an even greater deterrent to thieves or other intruders. It usually consists of locks, cameras and a monitored entry system that is triggered by unauthorized entry. The systems can get to be expensive, but the costs can prove incidental when compared to a wholesale theft of electronic equipment, guns, jewelry and other expensive items. And this is the kicker: Insurance premiums are lower with a system in place.
The last two premium-reducing considerations are smoke detectors—which are inexpensive and terrifically effective warning systems—and preventive maintenance. If an electrical system is stressed, upgrading it will make you safer and please your insurance agent. If roof shingles need replacement, replacing them adds value and can mean lower premiums because of lowered risk.
Taking these precautions is the equivalent of incorporating insurance premium-reducing features into a home.
by Morgan Moran