Hopefully, your summer was relaxing and fun. The weather was great, for the most part, and I certainly enjoyed the sunshine. Since summer is the perfect time to get a lot done around the home, you may now qualify for discounts on your property insurance.
Many insurance companies have been tweaking how they determine the rate each policyholder pays. This means that things not considered before may now be taken into account, especially if you have made some upgrades over the summer.
Because of these “tweaks”, some homeowners are experiencing increases in premium while others are seeing decreases due to new discounts. The changes in rating are partially a result of the increase in water damage claims over the past 5 to 10 years.
Insurers are catching up to the increased risk of water damage by ensuring all areas of exposure are covered. There are many factors taken into consideration, but I will outline a few and help ensure your insurance coverage is exactly what you and your family need.
Often determined via your postal code, some locations have a higher risk of crime, sewer back-up, and weather-related events. These territories will reflect in higher premiums.
Type of dwelling
If damage or loss occurs in your neighbour’s property, how will your property be affected? ie. detached, semi-detached.
Type of construction
ie. brick, frame, stone.
Age of dwelling
Newer homes with newer technology (ie. plumbing, electricity, etc) generally have lower premiums because they often have fewer problems.
Age of updates in the home
It is crucial that you inform your broker if you have an update to your heating/cooling system, roof, electrical, plumbing, and even if you have upgraded to an instant hot water tank. If a loss occurs and the insurer is unaware of the current value of your property, your compensation may not fully cover the true value of your updates.
Age of the homeowners
Basically, your premium is discounted as you age. This typically doesn’t result in visible decreases but all other factors considered, people of increased ages will have lower premiums.
If the homeowners are smokers
If a mortgage is held against the property
Removing the mortgage holder as an interest on your policy will often result in a discount. This is because those not paying for a mortgage often have more disposable income for necessary repairs and maintenance that help prevent claims scenarios. If your property is mortgage-free, let us know.
One of the best ways to lower your premium is having the insurer apply your credit score. This is not something that is automatically applied and will therefore require you to provide consent to allow the insurer to run a soft-hit credit check. If this has not been applied to your policy or you are uncertain, check with your broker.
If the basement is unfinished
Many water damage and sewer backup claims originate in the basement. Unfinished basements are considered to have less of a risk of water damage claims because the cost to rebuild or repair an unfinished basement is considerably less.
Of course, there is no perfect home or location so there are countless combinations of situations to consider. While you may get a discount in one area, you may have increased premium in another. Your insurance premium is simply a reflection of risk.
Insurers and the insurance industry as a whole are working hard to ensure property owners are doing everything they can to prevent having a claim in the first place. There are a number of ways you can lower your risk of having a claim including: installing an alarm system, water sensors, mainline backwater valves, alarmed sump pumps, and tankless water heaters. Performing regular maintenance on your electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling systems, and roof are also great ways to help prevent claims.