5 home improvement ideas that lower your homeowner’s insurance costs
Jan 21, 2021
4 min read
What we'll cover
Repairs can help you save on insurance
Upgrades can help you avoid costly repairs
How to invest in your home's safety
As a homeowner, the idea of remodeling your home to create your little slice of paradise can be exciting. But before you dive headlong into picking out appliances for your kitchen redo or new tile for a bathroom remodel, you might want to consider an upgrade that is more structural in nature. That’s because the improvements you make could lower your homeowner’s insurance costs.
In the U.S., the average cost of home insurance is about $1,200 a year. Insurance carriers determine your rate by looking at your location, credit score, and home’s value. But the driving factor when calculating your annual bill is perceived risk, and certain home improvement can reduce the chance you’ll file a claim. The renovations that usually qualify for homeowner’s insurance discounts are typically less flashy and more functional, but they often translate to more long-term savings.
So which fixes can lower your insurance bill?
Unless your roof is in significant disrepair, new shingles might not add much to your curb appeal. But replacing your roof is the improvement that can have one the most significant impacts on your homeowner’s insurance rate (an expense which is just one portion of the total cost of home ownership). When an insurance company inspects your property, it’ll often first take the state of your roof into account when assessing your risk of filing a claim.
Many insurance experts agree that a 10-year-old roof is considered a substantial risk, resulting in higher premiums. Deteriorating roofs are the leading cause of water damage (which can be costly to fix), so taking action to replace an aging and leaky canopy could discount your policy up to 20 percent, on average. And, if you live in an area where there is heavy snow, rain, or high winds (from hurricanes or tornados), redoing your roof with new, sturdy materials may make sense.
Note: Replacing your roof is a considerable investment (between $6,000 and $10,000 depending on size and condition) so you should only consider upgrading if yours is getting up there in years or you’re experiencing a leak.
If you need a roof repair, but the total cost is out of reach, check with your contractor to see if they can offer you an Ally Lending financing option at an affordable price point.
You can snag additional discounts, if you live in a disaster-prone region, by installing storm shutters and shatterproof windows. Insurers view safeguards like these as protection in case of emergency and offer reduced premiums in exchange. Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and North Carolina residents often receive the most substantial discount for making these upgrades.
Window replacement can also be a costly home upgrade, with the average price around $650 per window. But you can recoup some of those costs (and enjoy easy-to-clean, draft-proof frames) since new windows can earn you a 10 to 15% credit on your insurance.
Added bonus: New, energy-efficient windows not only make your home more friendly to the planet, but they green up your wallet, too. That’s because they can also save you an average of 15% on your energy bill.
Plumbing and Pipes
The median average age of a home in the United States is 37 years old. And unless your home has been recently updated, it’s likely that your plumbing is reaching middle age — making it a considerable risk for insurers.
The price to re-pipe a house can cost 40 cents to $2.20 per-linear-foot, but water damage is second only to hail and wind destruction when it comes to claiming frequency. With the average water damage claim running more than $10,000, it can pay to proactively replace your pipes before they’re leaky and decaying (or worse, causing a flood in your basement). Not only will you avoid the expense of repairing your water-logged residence, but you could receive a better rate on your insurance premiums, too.
Just as insurers can see out-of-date plumbing as a flood risk, frayed and deteriorating wiring is a fire hazard that can also hike your rate. (Not to mention, put your family and home in danger.) According to State Farm, over half of electrical fires are the result of wiring problems. This risk and the associated costly damages can mean much higher insurance rates if you are a homeowner with old wires.
Is your house a candidate for an electrical upgrade? An excellent guideline to follow is if it’s more than 40 years old, it may require rewiring (which costs around $4 per square foot), as well as replacement breaker switches and a new fuse box. This upfront cost could be worth it, considering the threat of a potential fire, while also possibly providing a measurable discount on your homeowner’s insurance policy.
Deadbolts, smart locks, burglar alarms, security systems, and even smart home devices are often installations that you can D.I.Y.around your home. These updates increase your safety, security, and protect against break-ins and theft. But did you know that they can also lower the price of your policy?
You can typically save anywhere from 2 to 10% on your premiums with these security upgrades. And insurance carriers may provide more significant discounts if you elect for more than one type of protective device or if your security system boasts features like 24/7 professional monitoring.
The savings add up
As your ally, we’re always looking to find you savings in lesser-known places. Remodeling is typically associated with spending money, but some renovations can boost your home’s value. The ones mentioned here can help reduce the expense of your homeowner’s insurance. (And some do both.) That’s because when you improve your home’s safety and perceived risk, you’re less likely to file a claim against your homeowner's policy. In return, the insurer might lower your annual costs — putting money back in your pocket for things like a cosmetic upgrade to your dated bathroom tile.