Saving money wherever we can is always top of mind. Whether you cut coupons, look for the BOGO deals, or just live a modest lifestyle, many of us are often looking to save some money. However, when buying a home, it’s likely one of the most significant purchases you’ll ever make, so why not try to save some extra money where you can?
Home insurance should always be considered when you’re in the market to buy a home. It can make or break a deal as far as the budget is concerned. However, there are items to look for when purchasing a home that can make a substantial difference in the cost of home insurance as outlined by Emerald Life.
Let’s talk about what you should look out for when buying a home and compare insurance costs. We’ll also look at the different types of home insurance and offer a quick checklist you can use when evaluating homes on the market.
Top 8 Home Features That Lower Your Insurance Costs
Whether it’s the age of your home or how close you live to the water, we’re taking a closer look at key features that can impact your home insurance premium.
1. Updated/New Roofing
Insurance companies often prefer a home to have a new or like-new roof. Extreme weather conditions can cause expensive roof damage. Depending on roof material, they should be replaced every 20 to 30 years.
2. Storm-Rated Windows and Doors
No matter where you live, this is such an important feature to consider when buying a home. If for any reason your home is subjected to severe weather conditions such as uprooting trees, branches, furniture, or anything worse, these highly-rated windows and doors decrease the probability of major home damage.
3. Structure Age
How old is the home you’re buying? Age will determine the condition of the electrical, plumbing, and air conditioning unit, all of which determine the likelihood of unfortunate and expensive repairs. Your home insurance provider will certainly take this into account when providing coverage for the home.
4. Shut-Off Valves and Plumbing
Water damage can constitute up to 30% of losses in home damage. Homes with water shut-off devices that can detect plumbing leaks and will prevent massive amounts of damage, saving the homeowner up to 3% off their insurance premium.
5. Proximity to Bodies of Water
Natural bodies of water and proximity to the home pose many liabilities that insurance companies use in determining premiums. Flooding and windstorms are among the biggest culprits for a large increase in premium.
6. Hurricane Shutters
In addition to storm-rated windows and doors, hurricane shutters are considered necessary for certain geographical areas. States like Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi are all susceptible to hurricanes and tornadoes. Hurricane shutters are rated for wind up to 180 miles per hour. Insurance companies highly encourage having them in those areas.
7. Smoke Alarm/Carbon Monoxide Detector
Properly maintained and installed smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors can not only save lives but also save you money on your insurance costs. Fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide incidents are tragic but loss of property or life can be prevented with these devices.
Whole/part home generators avoid any further damage to your home should the power go out in your area for an extended period of time. Sometimes, storms will tear down power lines that can take days or even weeks to repair. Having a generator can keep your in-home conditions stable, which can reduce your insurance rate.
What to Look for in Home Insurance
Choosing the right insurance for your new home is crucial should you ever have to use your insurance (and you most likely will). You don’t want to overinsure or underinsure your home, and you certainly don’t want to overpay for coverage. Another tip: Some consumers have found that bundling home and car insurance is both efficient and saves them money.
The biggest piece of advice when it comes to home insurance is: Don’t buy coverage based on premiums. Sure, it sounds much better to pay a lower payment for coverage, but owning a home is expensive, and repairing it is much more expensive. You should ask yourself the following questions when shopping for insurance:
- What is it I need and want to cover in and around my home?
- How much coverage do I need to cover both items and the dwelling?
- Who do I want to insure with and why?
- What policy fits my situation best?
Insurance is never a fun topic to discuss or handle as an adult. However, it’s a necessity if you own a home. You never want to find yourself without the support if you’re faced with an unfortunate and tragic event that leaves you in unforeseen circumstances.
This is perhaps one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a home buyer. Make sure to put considerable thought into what works for you.
Home Buying Checklist: What to Look for When Buying a Home
To make the home buying process easier, we’ve created a checklist that you can take while shopping for homes. Always trust your instincts when purchasing a home and enjoy the process as well. Buying a home is such an exciting journey and before you know it, you’ll be welcoming friends and family to your new humble abode.
- Age of roof
- Age of dwelling – If older, consider very thorough inspections
- New construction – 5 years
- 5-15 years
- 15-25 years
- 25-35 years
- 35+ years
- Storm-rated windows and doors
- Hurricane shutters – Ensure all are present for each window and door
- Swimming pool or spa
- Safety fence
- Interior door chimes
- First aid kit/life raft
- Water shut-off
- Close to a natural body of water
- Carbon monoxide and smoke detector devices
Author: Carla Hughes writes and researches for the insurance comparison site, ExpertInsuranceReviews.com. She has been a homeowner for over a decade and is passionate about homeownership and improvements.