Home Insurance Discounts for Minor Home improvements
Connie is a licensed broker for all lines of insurance and has been in the industry for 38 years, 20 of them with C&S! She has been married for 40 years and has two adult daughters.
Some home insurance discounts are pretty widely known. For example, you probably already know you can save money if you bundle your insurance (purchasing home, auto, and umbrella coverage through the same carrier). Paying your annual premium in full, at the beginning of your term; paying via automatic withdrawal; or opting into paperless billing (i.e. receiving and paying your bills online) are also potential discount opportunities.
But did you know that making minor upgrades to your home might help you qualify for additional credits on home insurance?
And hey, we’re all spending more time at home these days. One possible upside of not being able to go anywhere: more time to tackle those home improvement projects that have been on your to-do list for months… or years.
So, here’s a look at five small steps you can take—all worthwhile fixes in and of themselves. Any one of the following steps might meet the criteria for a home insurance credit or multiple credits (depending on your carrier and the specifics of your improvement project.) Ask your C&S account manager for more info before you get started, just to be clear on which discounts, if any, apply in your situation.
Installing a “Central Station” Alarm System
Up to a 16% Home Insurance Discount
Home security systems are much smarter and more user-friendly than ever before—with a host of DIY options that homeowners can sync to their phones. The different brands come with different advantages and drawbacks, but most are still limited by your ability to address the emergency at hand. In other words, with a “local” alarm, you have to call the police or fire department yourself.
By contrast, a central station alarmsystem is actively monitored by a 24/7 security team, working outside your property. This means someone besides you is always keeping an eye on what your system is detecting. If you are asleep, away on vacation, or somehow incapacitated, the central station team could respond to the emergency in real time, dispatching local authorities on your behalf.
For insurance companies, central station alarm systems are incredibly valuable loss prevention tools. So, while a local system might save you something like five to ten percent off your premium, a central station option could deliver credits of up to sixteen percent.
Installing a Water Leak Detection System
Up to a 5% to 10% Home Insurance Discount
Did you know you can now buy smart home devices that detect leaks and prevent water damage? Yup, it’s true. For a few hundred dollars (and a bit more in labor costs, where plumber installation is required), you can rest assured that slow leaks aren’t silently wreaking havoc inside your walls. Of course, slow leaks aren’t the only type of home water damage. Sophisticated leak detection systems are equipped to alert you to drip leaks, pinhole leaks, frozen-pipe leaks, and burst-pipe leaks.
If you want to be extra cautious, experts recommend choosing a system that includes an automatic water shutoff valve. Check with your insurance agent to be sure, but one of these devices could save you between five and ten percent, annually, on your home insurance premium.
Installing a Low-Temperature Sensor
Up to a 2% Home Insurance Discount
Like water leak detection systems, temperature monitoring systems exist to notify you when household temps (often inside your walls, under your cabinets, and wherever water pipes exist) reach dangerously cold levels. Keep in mind that low-temperature sensors are usually different from smart thermostats, which help to measure and adjust the ambient temperature in your rooms—not necessarily the same temp you’ll find along exterior walls, in your basement or garage.
If you own an older home that tends to get drafty, and you’re considering the purchase of a smart thermostat and/or a low-temp sensor, ask your agent which credits might be available to you. From there, you may want to consult an HVAC resource about the pros and cons of different options. Also: before you go out and buy any temp-control device, consider the MassSave Energy Audit that is outlined below; some homeowners qualify for a free or deeply-discounted smart thermostat after going through the free assessment.
Installing an Emergency-Power Generator
Up to a 2% Home Insurance Discount
As extreme weather events increasingly hit New England states harder and more often, emergency tools like automatic backup generators have gone from being luxury items to homeowner essentials. During warm months and hurricane season, generators can help to keep sump pumps working and basements from flooding. In the winter, generators are valuable for keeping houses (and pipes) warm.
When major power outages strike, insurance companies would much rather see their clients relying on generators than waiting for utility crews to come fix the problem. (Note: we are talking about automatic backup generators, not the kind you have to drag out and fire up yourself.) This is why having a generator sometimes leads to a small premium credit.
Because we are not experts in emergency power generators, here’s a good outline that explains the different types and their features. Meanwhile, we can easily tell you if your insurance company offers a credit for installing one. Just give us a call: 508.339.2951.
Booking a MassSave Energy Audit
Up to a 5% Home Insurance Discount
NOTE: During the COVID-19 pandemic, MassSave is offering online home assessments.
If you haven’t already heard about the MassSave Home Energy Assessment, take a moment to check it out. Essentially, MassSave offers a free appointment with a local energy expert. The assessment lasts about two hours. The expert will take a look at how efficiently your home uses water and energy. After the session, he or she will provide a list of recommendations—specific to your home—on how you can use less energy and save money on energy expenses.
Some of the recommended fixes will be available for installation during that first visit—all for FREE. Upgrades like efficient light bulbs, low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators, and more can be installed on the spot. Other improvements (insulation upgrades, better HVAC equipment) may be more technically involved, and require a follow-up visit. Either way, you don’t have to make all the recommended changes, but the program does offer some generous incentives and rebates for those who choose to tackle bigger projects. Just for hosting the free audit within the past two years, you may be eligible for a 5% discount on your home insurance.
Please keep in mind, not every home insurance company offers all (or any) of these discounts. But it certainly makes sense to ask about potential savings opportunities when your policy is coming up for renewal. So find your account manager here. And if you’re not yet a C&S client, we’re still happy to help you sort through today’s different options. You can reach us at 508.339.2951. Stay safe!