The power to lower your homeowners insurance premiums can be located in your toolbox. Yes, making the right improvement can reduce the risk of damage to your home and place you and your family in a position to obtain comprehensive homeowners coverage at the best rates possible.
Types of Repairs
Aside from location, what features of your home do carriers mainly look for when assessing risk?
- Roof: The shape, age, and condition of your roof are enough to determine eligibility for many carriers.
- Storm Protection Devices: The State of Florida requires all openings to be secured (including the front door and garage) prior to a carrier granting storm protection device credits.
- Upgraded Plumbing & Electrical: Should your electrical panel be over 30 years old, consult an electrician to discuss upgrades. You may need to update your home’s plumbing should you uncover signs of water discoloration and reduced water pressure.
- Security System: Decrease your chances of a break-in by having a monitored burglar and fire alarm installed, along with motion detection devices to capture movements outside and inside your home.
Upgrades to any of these areas will not only bring you peace of mind but can also make the difference between one and several options for coverage.
Wear and Tear
A typical homeowners policy covers damages resulting from a sudden and accidental event, not wear and tear, as the media and legal community would lead you to believe. Much like owning a car, owning a home requires maintenance. When purchasing a home, it is wise to consider funding a savings account for home improvements. Take the time to discuss areas of improvement and work towards projects which can provide additional savings to your homeowners, utility, and electrical bills first.
When to start improvements
Home Improvements should be made prior to the start of hurricane season to avoid being threatened by an incoming storm while in the midst of a project. Most roofing, electrical, and plumbing improvements require county permits which can take a few weeks to obtain. Make certain to ask your licensed contractor for estimated permit turnaround and county approval timeframes to determine a realistic date for project completion.
Your agent and reports
If you are not certain which improvements to begin with, contact your agent for a review of your policy. If you discover areas where discounts are not being granted, consider prioritizing improvements in those areas.
Carriers must document proof of improvements prior to granting discounts for auditing purposes. Be prepared to obtain Wind Mitigation Inspection, along with photos of all work completed from a licensed inspector for carrier review. In a recent study, the correct improvements may reduce a windstorm premium by as much as 42%. Should the completed improvements increase the home’s value, advise your agent to recalculate the policy, and confirm you are adequately insured for the new value. It is important you reap the benefits of spending your time and money on the correct repairs, so prioritize improvements correctly.
Finding ways to trim the cost of rising premiums is forefront in the minds of many Florida policyholders. As we take steps to make our homes more practical for home, work, play, and study, knowing what improvements will return savings can make the difference in attracting new homeowners insurance options. For more information on how you and your family capture improvement savings, reach out to your local agent for assistance.
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