You know which preventive measures to take in order to avoid costly home repairs—like cleaning gutters, sweeping chimneys, and inspecting for termites. But did you know that there are improvements you can make to your home that could actually lower your home insurance premiums?
Here are 14 of them:
1. Deadbolt your locks. It’s much harder for a common thief to get through a door with a deadbolt lock. Be sure to put deadbolts on all of your exterior portals, not just the front and back doors.
2. Put up smoke detectors. These simple, inexpensive devices are widely available and easy to attach to ceilings or walls. This might be the most cost-effective step you can take to reduce your home insurance.
3. Install a home sprinkler system. It’s not cheap, but having another fire prevention system in your home may cut your insurance premiums substantially. This option may be especially attractive to people who are building a new home.
4. Bring electrical wiring up to code. If you have an old home, it may be grandfathered into bygone building codes that are sub-par by today’s standards. Making sure all your wiring is adequate will help prevent electrical fires.
5. Install an alarm system. A monitored alarm system is less expensive than it used to be, and insurance companies tend to give major discounts to homeowners that have one. Modern alarm systems also control lights, climate, and security cameras.
6. Make your windows shatterproof. Instead of standard panes, you can equip your exterior windows with shatterproof glass. These can come in handy if someone tries to break in when you are not at home.
7. Attach burglar bars to windows. They may not be aesthetically appealing, but they may be necessary under certain conditions. Burglar bars also deter would-be burglars from targeting your home in the first place.
8. Put in motion-sensor lighting. You can buy a few stand-alone lights from the hardware store, or install a comprehensive motion-illumination system in your front and back yards. Either way, it will help scare off people who are approaching your home at night.
9. Erect a fence around your pool. Home insurance premiums are determined by more than just safety and security. Putting up a fence around your pool reduces the chance of someone wandering into your yard, falling into your pool, and drowning—and you getting sued for it.
10. Take out the diving board and slide. Many insurance companies don’t like the potential safety hazards posed by pool slides and diving boards. Removing these items may reduce your premium a bit.
11. Fill in your pool. If your pool is constantly empty, in disrepair, or unused, consider just filling it in entirely. Often, homes without pools carry lower home insurance rates than those which have pools.
12. Put up storm shutters. If you live in an area that’s prone to hurricanes, storm shutters are a good idea. They help protect windows from strong winds and flying debris that are found with these types of storms.
13. Get a new garage door. There are now reinforced garage doors that are available for residents in states that are frequently hit by strong winds or tornadoes. A garage door is often a home’s weakest point; and if it collapses, the force of the wind could literally blow a hole in the home’s roof.
14. Opt for stronger shingles. Similarly, impact-resistant roofing may be a good idea for homes in areas where hail damage is more common. Some insurance companies might cut your premiums as much as 30% if you install these “super-shingles.”
Be sure to check with your insurance company before making any of these improvements to see if they do indeed result in lower premiums for your policy.