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11 Safety Features That Can Lower Your Homeowners Insurance Premiums

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 | May 10, 2018
11 Safety Features That Can Lower Your Homeowners Insurance Premiums

Do you want to save up to 20% on your monthly homeowners insurance premiums?

From comparison shopping to raising your deductible, there are a number of ways you can lower your homeowners insurance premiums. But there may be no more effective—and advantageous—discount than the homeowners safety discount.

Installing safety features in your home makes you less susceptible to theft and natural disasters that could cause costly insurance claims.

The purpose of home security and safety features is to minimize your risk. Lower risk means lower premiums, because a reduced risk generally means fewer claims that your insurer would have to pay out. Thus, most insurance companies want to reward you for being a responsible homeowner with safety features on your property.

In fact, hosting a variety of safety features can actually save up to 15-20% on your monthly homeowners insurance premium.

What safety features should you install in your home to lower your homeowners insurance premiums?

1. Home security systems

A burglary occurs every 15 seconds in the U.S. Homes without security systems are three times more likely to be burglarized than homes with them. In fact, Alarm.org found that 90% of convicted burglars said they avoid homes with alarm systems.

If you want to deter thieves, professionally monitored security systems are your best defense.

Security systems include alarms inside and outside the home. Some systems also include video surveillance and instant emergency alerts. You can set up video cameras to see who is on your property, and you can have loud or silent alarms when someone enters your house without a code.

These kinds of features minimize your risk of burglary, increase police response rate, and may even reduce your monthly premium by up to 20%.

2. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

92% of homes have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, but nearly 1/3 of these don’t work. Most homeowners forget to keep their detectors updated, which can cause serious damage in the case of incidence.

Smoke detectors are the first defense against serious fire damage. Without them, you could have severe loss of your contents and home structure.

You should replace smoke alarms every 5-10 years. They should be installed in areas of the home where you’ll hear them, like in the kitchen, inside and outside bedrooms, and on every floor.

Work with a company to interconnect all alarms. If one unit sounds, the others will follow suit so you can hear the alarm throughout the house. This enables a faster evacuation and better interaction with emergency services.

3. Sprinkler systems

Sprinkler systems mitigate fire damage by helping to put out flames or contain the fire in one area until the fire department can arrive. Sprinkler systems also help control heat and smoke, which minimizes property damage and gives residents more time to evacuate.

Sophisticated sprinkler systems are actually hooked up to your fire and burglar alarms. When these alarms sound, the sprinklers will instantly deploy. The monitoring company will then alert nearby emergency services to ensure the fire department arrives quickly.

Some insurance companies offer up to a 5% discount for high-quality, residential sprinkler systems.

4. Dead bolt locks

Seasoned burglars can pick through just about any lock. However, dead bolts are one of the most challenging to break into. These locks can slow down burglars, buying time for your alarm company to alert the local police.

You’ll want to include dead bolts at all major entry points throughout the home. You can also include dead bolts inside your home.

For example, if you have a basement that has an outdoor entry, you might want a dead bolt on both the exterior door from the yard to the house. You might also want one on the interior door that leads from the basement to the main floor. If burglars get into the basement, they’ll have another dead bolt to go through before being able to access the rest of your home.  

5. Generators

Whole-house or part-house generators provide electricity to your home during power outages. If your area goes through a bad storm, a generator not only keeps your home running, but it can also protect your home from damage. It can keep your home heated so pipes don’t burst, or it can keep your home cool so wires don’t melt.

Generators help maintain the stability of your home, which minimizes property damage during storms. This reduction in damage often means lower insurance claims. Thus, your insurance company might reward you with discounted premiums.

6. Reinforced roofs

Older roofs might have difficulty withstanding wind, hail, and other storms. Newer roofs are typically preferable and safer, especially in areas with frequent weather concerns.

You are especially protected if you install a reinforced roof, which has stronger materials meant to withstand extreme weather.

Installing a new roof can protect against severe home damage and instantly provide a drop in your insurance premium costs.

P.S. You could also get a discount if you install a lightning protection system on your roof.

7. Storm shutters

If you live in an area that’s subject to hurricanes or tornadoes, you should consider installing storm shutters. Closed storm shutters minimize the wind that’s able to get into your home. This can help maintain the integrity of your home in even the most brutal storms.

8. Updated systems

Insurance companies like to see updated heating, plumbing, and electrical systems. More modern systems reduce the risk of fire and water damage, which helps protect your home from costly disasters.

If you have recently updated a system in your home, let your insurance company know. They might offer a safety feature discount for new and improved HVAC and electrical.

You’ll also want to include water leak detection systems. These monitor your plumbing and pipes to instantly alert you if there is a potential leak or burst.

9. Pool safety

Pools are one of the most expensive aspects of homeowners insurance because they’re considered high-risk. You can offset this high cost by installing certain pool safety features.

For example, a fence around your pool can minimize unwanted visitors (people and animals) as well as risks of accidental drowning. You should also have life saving devices, first aid kits, and a portable pool lift.

Learn more about protecting your pool—and insurance costs— here.

10. Fire features

Every floor of your home should have at least one fire extinguisher. This is your first defense to prevent small fires from turning into more damaging ones.

If you are renovating or constructing your house, you might also want to consider using fire-resistant building materials.

Some insurers will also offer a discount for non-smoking households. If no one in your house smokes, you reduce your risk of accidental fire, which can reduce your premiums in tandem.

Talk to an insurance agent about your fire risk and associated insurance costs.

11. Safe deposit box

Insurance companies reward you for keeping valuables in a safety deposit box—in your home or in another structure, like a bank.

Keep an updated list of all the items you keep in your safe deposit box to document your potential discount. This can also help create a homeowners contents coverage that fully protects against theft or loss.  

BONUS: Home location

Where you live will also impact the safety of your home.

If you live in a high-theft area, your insurance costs may be higher. In that case, you’ll need a burglar security system to offset some of these costs.

If you live near a body of water, you might have higher costs. This is especially true if you are in a hurricane-risk area. You’ll want to install reinforced building materials and cover your home with flood insurance.

If you live close to emergency services or fire hydrants, though, you might be able to receive certain discounts. Proximity to emergency services is often considered a risk reduction.

Conclusion

Installing safety features isn’t always cheap. But you can offset the costs with discounts on your homeowners insurance. Plus, you’ll better protect your family and property from potential theft and damage.

How much could you save based on the features in your home?

Talk to an InsuraMatch agent for recommendations on how to minimize your premium with safety features.