Reassessing your home insurance coverage frequently is a smart way to stay on top of your expenses. By reviewing your policy on a regular basis, you’ll ensure that your insurance coverage matches your actual insurance needs.

With home improvements, remodels, and renovations, homeowners are frequently adding value, and sometimes risk, to their homes. These changes may result in a need for additional coverage and changes in insurance needs for your home. This may lead to higher premiums; however, better insurance coverage for the needs of your home will save you money later, in the case of an emergency. 

What contributes to the cost of your premium?

There are numerous factors that can affect your homeowners insurance rates. Seemingly random elements of your home, like the age of your roof, to attractive nuisances like trampolines and swimming pools, may have an impact on the cost of homeowners insurance

Home Improvements and Changes
Major renovations, home improvements, and even simple changes in your home may have a great impact on your insurance costs. Whether it’s a remodeled kitchen or addition on top of your garage, home improvements and changes often add value to your home. When these changes are made, it’s vital your home insurance policy reflects the true value of your home, so you’re not stuck with exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses after an accident or disaster.

If you have added to the value of your home through improvements or renovations, reassessing your homeowners insurance coverage to reflect these changes is very important. If it was an expensive project, it’s probably expensive for your insurance company to replace it after damage. Therefore, on top of the construction costs of home improvements, your premiums will probably rise, but it will be worth the protection if an accident ever occurs. 

Attractive Nuisances
Attractive nuisance: that sounds fun. Backyard fun, like swimming pools, diving boards, and trampolines, may make for a child’s oasis, but could seriously increase your insurance premiums. Insurance companies see great risk in covering such toys, that’s because lots of accidents happen on trampolines and in pools. 

If someone is injured on your property due to an accident on one of these attractive nuisances, you may be liable for damages—even if you didn’t permit them to participate. Fencing in your pool (which is required by many municipalities, anyway), self-locking gates, and first aid equipment ready on hand, may increase safety in your backyard. Think twice about letting your teenager have a pool party without supervision.

Age and Materials of Your Home
As your home ages, it’s likely to become more susceptible to damage from weather or other natural occurrences—especially your roof. With older homes, replacement costs will increase as the projects get bigger and more expensive. If you haven’t replaced your roof in thirty years, the cost of your home insurance policy will likely reflect it. 

Heating Source
If your home is heated with a wood-burning stove, you may see a significant increase in your home insurance premium. This is due to the increased fire risk a wood-burning stove poses to a home. 

If you provide your insurance company with proof that your wood-burning stove was installed by a certified contractor, they may decrease your premium for meeting all requirements and codes. If you have a wood-burning stove as a heat source in your home, it is vital to take proper safety precautions, ensuring you have smoke detectors on all levels of your home, and fire extinguishers in easily accessible places. Also, teach your children what to do in case of a fire, and make sure every member of the family knows how to use a fire extinguisher. 

Time at Home: Why WFH could pay off
If you work remotely from home or run a business out of your home office, you may be rewarded by your home insurance company

Insurance companies love when a member of a household is home throughout the day. That’s because rates of burglaries, fires, and other accidents decrease when someone is home, supervising a property at all hours of the day. Plus, if you run a business from your home, your standard home insurance policy will cover the electronics and equipment used for your work. You may be able to deduct the square footage of your home used for your business from your property taxes too. 

Keeping Your Life at Home Safe and Secure
Home security systems can be a worthwhile investment in ensuring the safety of your property and family. Installing one of these alarm systems may result in a break from your home insurance company in the form of a cut in your premium. Plus, simple changes like replacing inadequate, weak locks with deadbolts can help you stay safe and reduce your homeowners insurance rate

Pets
Man’s best friend? Maybe to some, but dog owners may face challenges finding affordable homeowners policies if their dog breed is considered dangerous. Breeds considered aggressive, like pit bulls and rottweilers, can pose a much higher risk for home insurance companies

According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites account for one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claims. More than half of all dog bites occur on a dog owner’s private property, resulting in hundreds of thousands of home insurance claims throughout the United States each year. Protect yourself, your neighbors, your mailman, and your wallet by choosing dog breed wisely. 

Claims History
Insurance companies keep tabs on your claims history. The more claims you file, the higher your premiums may become. If your claims-filing habit is too large, some insurance companies may even terminate your policy, or refuse your renewal request. This is because, with increased claims, insurance companies see increased risk.

FAQ: Factors that affect your home insurance premium

Does my credit score affect my home insurance rate?

Yes. Your home insurance may affect what you pay in home insurance premiums. If you have a subpar credit score, insurance companies may see you as an increased risk that they are taking on, reflected in higher rates. If you have good or excellent credit, you may benefit from lower rates. There are long-term steps you can take to improve your credit score, but your credit history is no longer in your control and may result in higher costs. 

I just moved to a new home. Do I have to tell my insurance company

Yes, of course you do! You will need to get quotes for a new home insurance policy that applies to your new home. Each house has unique needs and nuances. Even if you’re moving within the same city or town, the proximity of your home to the local fire department, the crime rates in your new ZIP code–these factors all affect your home insurance company. If you move, you’ll need to cancel your home insurance policy for your old home, and comparison shop with Insurify to find a fresh policy for your new home.

My roofing is falling apart, what should I do?

The condition of vital elements of your home’s construction, especially your roofing, will be reflected in your home insurance rates. If your area falls victim to a major rainfall, windstorm, or other extreme weather, your old roof could easily cave in or cause water damage to the remainder of your home. Shelling out some cash for home improvements will pay for themselves in the long run, especially for roofing.

Conclusion: How to unlock savings on home insurance

From the age of your home to the breed of your dog, many elements of your home and your domestic life may impact what you pay in home insurance premiums

It’s vital that your home insurance coverage accurately represents the actual cash value of your home to protect your wallet after disaster strikes. Your homeowners insurance policy takes many things into account, make sure you’re aware of what you’re paying extra for.

If you’re ready to cut costs on your home insurance policy, use Insurify, a simple insurance cost comparison platform that allows you to see dozens of quotes at once. 

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Updated April 1, 2020

Jackie Cohen received her B.A. in Global Media and Public Relations from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Currently based in Boston, MA, she works as a content writer for Insurify. An avid globe-trotter and foodie, Jackie spends her spare time adventuring far and near.