Easy Ways to Save on Home Insurance
One of the most common questions we get asked is: How can I save on my home insurance? Buying a home is one of the best investments you can make for your future, so you want to make sure that you are protecting not only your home from damage, destruction, and liability, but also what is inside your home, and homeowners’ insurance will take care of that for you.
At Acumen Insurance, we have a variety of coverage options for you to choose from, so you are only paying for what you need, and nothing else.
While having home insurance isn’t legally necessary to have, you will need to have it if you plan on applying for a mortgage, or if you want to protect yourself from unexpected costs, either new or existing, that come with owning a home.
Home insurance relies on many different factors, that are entirely specific to you in order to determine the right amount of coverage you’ll need and how much your rates will be.
Purchasing home insurance can be a dauting process, especially if this is your first time buying, so we have put together a list of some different ways you can save on your home insurance;
1. Location, Location, Location:
Just like with car insurance, where your home is will affect your home insurance rates. When looking at the location of your home here are some questions that you can ask yourself: How close are you to your neighbors? If there was ever a fire to start down the street, how quickly could it spread to your home? Do you live in an area where crime is prevalent? How close are you to a fire hydrant or a fire station? All these factors help insurance companies determine what risks might be associated with owning your home, and how to make sure you are covered from any situation that may arise.
2. The Age of your Home:
Age is just a number, but depending on how old your home is, that number might be raising your insurance rates. Typically, new homes are cheaper to insure as they are new builds and do not have the years of wear and tear on them that older homes will have. Older homes may also be made of materials that are outdated, and therefore more expensive to replace or update with the modern-day alternative. When a home turns 50 it is considered old. Insurance agents will look at the cost of rebuilding your home should anything ever happen, the materials that your home is made of, the condition your home is in, the condition of the plumbing, roof, electrical and heating in your home.
A multi-line insurance policy is just a fancy way of saying you have bundled your insurance policies together into one easy and convenient package. Insurance companies value and reward loyalty, so keeping all your insurance in one place, under one policy, not only makes your life easier by having it all in the same place, but it also saves you money. Which is why you may see your rate drop a little over the years. We always recommend insuring all your assets in one place as it really allows for us to make sure that everything you need is covered and is easy to adjust and update over the years as your needs change.
4. Sound the Alarm(s):
There is no such thing as too many alarms in your home, not only do they provide peace of mind that you are safe, but they also help lower your insurance rates as the risk of damage, theft, or destruction is lower. A few of the alarms that you can have installed on your home are:
- Smoke alarms: legally, every home in Ontario needs to have a fire alarm installed on every floor of the home and outside of all sleeping areas. There are several options and features for your alarms, so make sure that you are choosing the ones that are going to work best for your home. You also need to make sure that they are working properly. The Province of Ontario recommends that you are testing your smoke alarms once a month, and changing the batteries at least once a year, preferably two times a year. A good rule of thumb to follow is to change the batteries with every time change.
- Carbon monoxide detector: Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer because it is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless fume that is found wherever you burn fuel, like in vehicles, fireplaces, gas stoves, gas furnaces, and fireplaces. In Ontario, it is required by law to have working CO alarms adjacent to each sleeping area of the home if you have any fuel burning appliances, a fireplace, or attached garage. Even if your home doesn’t have any of those things, a CO detector is a great way to protect yourself and your home. Just like with smoke alarms, CO detectors need to be checked often to ensure they are working properly.
- Security system: Security systems are not a new concept when it comes to home ownership, but the devices and level of protection is always improving. Making sure that your home is not only protected from intruders, but monitored by security footage provides you with peace of mind. Having a system is a deterrent to any potential threats (homes without a security system are 80% more likely to be targeted by burglars), and if you have video feed can provide you with evidence, should the worst happen. There are many options to choose from, so make sure that you are spending some time researching and making the right choice for you.
- Water & Freezing detectors: something that not many homeowners consider when buying a home is minimizing the risk of water damage. Water damage is the most common cause of home damage, and currently accounts for about 50% of insurance claims filed. With the effects of climate change, we are experiencing more frequent heavy rain, lightning storms, hail, and drastic freezing-thawing cycles and flooding. By making sure your home is protected from the scary effects of water and freezing damage is just as important as protecting your home from the potential threat of fire. There are several different detectors on the market, and a large price range so you are sure to find something that works best for your budget.
5. No claims, no worries:
Just like with car insurance, the less accidents, or claims you have the better your rates will be. When you have little or no claims on your insurance policy you are showing insurance companies that you are a safe and responsible homeowner that has taken the necessary steps to protect your home. Of course, life happens, and there may be a time when something happens that is outside of your control. But if you are going years between claims your insurance provider will notice that. In Ontario your insurance claim record is never erased, but typically insurance providers only look at the last five years or so. When you are either looking for home insurance, or renewing your existing insurance, see if you can find out your carrier’s policy on past claims, and how long they will affect your insurance rates.
6. Backwater Valve:
Since water damage is such a large growing concern for homeowners, installing a backwater (or backflow) valve is a sure-fire way to lower your insurance rates. A backwater valve is a device that stops any sewer backups from flowing into your basement. Sewers can become backed up for a few reasons, sometimes it’s as simple as some branches and debris clogging the opening and making it harder for water to flow through, sometimes it happens when the snow melts and the sewers are flooded with the runoff from melting snow, or even a good rainstorm can back up sewer lines. While all of this is completely out of your control, you can make sure that your home will not be damaged because of it. There are different types of backwater valves, so make sure you aren’t purchasing the plug type, as that can sometimes lead to structural damage if there is an extended period of built-up pressure under your home. It is highly recommended that you hire a trained and certified plumber to install the device.
7. Being Mortgage Free:
For most, being mortgage free is a dream that can’t come soon enough. Not only will you not have to pay a large sum of money a month, but your insurance rate will also drop. Paying off your mortgage is a reward that leads to further rewards, and one that we are all striving for. The reason for your insurance rate dropping is that you are now less of a financial risk, and do not require additional coverage for your mortgage.
8. Multiple Properties? No problem:
A home away from home is perfect for getting away and recharging your batteries. And if you, like many Canadian families, own a home away from home, then you are eligible for even more savings on your home insurance. While the insurance works a little bit different than that of your primary residence, you are still able to save a few bucks at the end of the day. There are a few questions that you need to be prepared to answer when you are insuring your second home such as: How often your second is occupied, the amount of time you spend there, are you able to use it year around, and do you rent it out to others? All these questions help insurance agents get you the best savings possible. If you have any further questions about insuring your second, third, or even fourth home give us a call!
9. Smoking or Non-Smoking:
If you are looking for a sign to quit smoking this, is it. Did you know that smokers are considered a risk to many insurance providers? The risk of fires from unproperly distinguished cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc. is a major concern for insurance agents. In 2020 111 fires in Toronto were started by lit cigarette butts, and according to Fire Prevention Officers 25% of all fatal fires were caused by careless smoking. If you aren’t a smoker, make sure to let your insurance provider know because it is good not only for your health, but also for your insurance rates and bottom line.
Of course, these are only some of the ways that you can lower your home insurance. there are other factors that affect your rate like your age. It is important that as you and your home age you are reviewing your coverage options and ensuring that all your insurance needs are fully covered under the policy that you have. Always remember that insurance isn’t one size fits all, our brokers are highly trained to help you get exactly what you are looking for and to make sure you are getting the best price available. Bring home great coverage today and speak with one of our knowledgeable brokers here.