Buying home insurance isn’t fun, especially in Florida. Here in the sunshine state you can pay up to twice as much – thanks to hurricanes. So if you want to reduce your homeowners’ insurance premiums, you also need to be sure that you’re not paying top dollar for inadequate cover. For this reason, when you renovate or repair your home, don’t forget to renovate your policy.
According to Don Griffin of the Property Casualty Insurers Association, “Anything that changes the structure or use of the property can change your policy.”
What many people may not know is that certain upgrades may result in reduced premiums. For example, doing your roof, plumbing or electricals can result in a dramatic reduction in you insurance costs – up to 20 percent in some cases.
Richard Hutchinson, a general manager at Progressive insurance, sums up the full effect of your renovations this way: “it’s a good time to have an insurance conversation”
Here are a few home improvements that are worth considering:
Jim Towns, the owner of an Allstate Insurance agency, says the roof is probably the single biggest factor affecting your policy. In Florida, after Hurricane Andrew, hurricane straps became standard in the building code, but older houses usually don’t have them. These humble metal bands can pay for themselves in a very short time. At the other end of the scale, the shape of your roof can make a difference to its hurricane resistance. Pyramid shaped rooves cost less to insure because they are more wind resistant.
Hurricane Resistant Windows
According to one local supplier, installing hurricane resistant windows reduces your insurance policy by 10%. That’s not shutters, that’s windows that are designed to withstand the punishment of the worst kind of tropical storm. Not a bad investment if you’re doing windows.
While your kitchen facelift may cause your insurance premiums to rise, if you upgraded the plumbing you could be in for a discount as well. Of course, this applies to any other wet area, such as the bathroom. Water damage is a big deal.
If you upgrade the electricals in the process of your work, you reduce the risk of fire. How this equates to dollars off your insurance bill will vary, but it’s worth considering, especially if you have an old house.
Documents and Photos
After spending so much time and money adding value to your home through renovations, it would be a shame to go back to square one. Many homeowner only realise how out-of-date their policy is when disaster strikes, then it’s too late. The new carpet, windows, doors and benchtops may have all been installed separately, one at a time, but their combined value certainly adds up. It pays to take some photos of your new additions and also make sure your contractors’ work is properly documented.
Updating your insurance policy isn’t a fun or exciting part of the whole home-improvement process, but it’s a necessary one.
What about you? How’s your insurance? Up to date?