Your home is your castle. It should be a place of safety; somewhere you feel relaxed, comfortable, and protected from harm. As a homeowner, you purchase property insurance to add an extra layer of protection against injuries, damage, or liability suits. It’s like an extra layer of protection against the unknown, so it’s very much worthwhile. But certain high-risk situations on your property can make your premiums cost-prohibitive; essentially, the higher the risk for injuries and accidents, the more you’ll pay.
What exactly qualifies as a risk factor? That’s a complex question with no singular answer. Each company has its own rules, but you can safely assume each of these 10 entries will raise your property insurance premiums.
Structural Integrity Issues
If your home is in disrepair or has structural integrity issues, such as sinking floors, leaning or broken patios, or even rotting steps, you may be assessed higher property insurance premiums because of the extra risk. Structural issues within both the land and buildings on it heighten the chance that either you or someone who visits you will encounter the issue and become injured. The increased premium is the insurance company’s attempt to mitigate or make up for that increased risk.
An indoor fireplace raises your risk for a fire, and that means insurance companies charge more to provide you with coverage if you have one. Even taking safety measures like having fire extinguishers nearby and grating off a stone section of floor isn’t enough to mitigate the risk. Many insurance companies now hold very specific demands for fireplaces within homes, too; they must be up to code, structurally sound, and cleaned or maintained at least once or twice per year.
A neglected fireplace, chimney, or fire that burns out of control, harming your property or the people within it, can cause much more harm than just heightened premiums. If adjusters determine you failed to properly use or maintain a fireplace after a fire, they may have the right to refuse claim coverage altogether.
Swimming pools (and to a lesser degree, any on-site water feature with deeper water) represent a drowning risk, and thus, can naturally increase your property insurance premiums. Because they also increase the value of your home dramatically, many homeowners see it as a trade-off; pay more in premiums, sell your house for more money later on down the road.
There are a few ways to lessen the impact water features have on your premiums. Safety precautions like automatic pool covers, locking fences high enough to prevent animals and people from gaining access without permission, and easily accessible safety equipment all play a role in limiting premium increases.
Work From Home Businesses
Working from home on a freelance basis? If you’re like thousands of other Americans, you’re reaping the benefits of working when you want and how you want. Stay in your pajamas, work at the kitchen table, tuck yourself away in an office — the sky is the limit. Unfortunately, work-from-home businesses can also make your property insurance premiums sky-high, too.
Work from home businesses raise insurance premiums because having a home business exposes you to break-ins and thefts from either your business or your home. If your home business happens to host guests, the situation gets even more complicated. You may need special liability insurance or a business-specific policy, which is often much more expensive.
It seems wise at first: buy a trampoline, encourage everyone to live a more active lifestyle. Unfortunately, the risk for trampoline-related accidents and injuries is surprisingly high, especially with young children. Even with safety mesh and an outer frame, children who land incorrectly or don’t have the experience needed to jump safely can experience dislocations, sprains, strains, and broken bones.
Frighteningly, injuries often involve the spine, neck, pelvis, and hips — some of the most impactful injury sites on the body. It’s these risks that has many child protection agencies vying for increased protection and safety legislation around trampolines.
According to WSB-TV, many insurance companies flat-out refuse to cover trampoline accidents altogether. Others require homeowners to report when they have a trampoline on-site, and increase premiums to accommodate the risk. Either way, it may be cheaper to occasionally visit a local acrobatics and gymnastics gym than to have your own at home.
Despite the fact that so many factors can increase your insurance premiums, there are helpful steps you can take to alleviate the increases in any situation. Choose a reliable insurance company with fair rates first. Then, ask whether alarm systems, safety equipment, and other safe property measures impact your rates. Often, it’s possible to save a great deal of money just by choosing the right company from day one.