Home staging tips and ideas

Photo by James Thompson

Update: One aspect of moving house that many people overlook is getting adequate insurance. Even if you think you can transfer your insurance from your old property, there are many new factors to take into account; the age of your new home, the state of repair, its size and surroundings, not to mention various risk factors that can drive up the cost of insurance. Get a quote before you move so you can get an idea of your new premiums as well as the type of work you’ll need to carry out once you move in to make your property lower-risk.

(ARA) — If you are one of the many people buying, selling or building a home this spring, you already have a lot on your mind. But don’t overlook one of your biggest expenses as a homeowner: your homeowners insurance. Many factors can affect your insurance rates, including the age of your house or having a pool, wood-burning stove or nearby fire hydrant.

Features that could help you

You could save a significant amount by purchasing a newer home. For example, Dan Kovac, personal lines assistant vice president for General Casualty Insurance Companies, noted that General Casualty gives a discount to homes less than eight years old, with savings up to 15 percent for a brand new home.

Insurance companies also may give you a credit for having a certain number of strategically placed, working fire alarms, having a home security system or being within a certain distance from a fire hydrant, said Kovac.

If your home search spans more than one municipality, you may want to look at the difference in the communities’ fire departments. A fire department with modern equipment, plenty of staff and a good water supply could lead to significantly lower rates for homeowners in its surrounding community. Your insurance agent can find out the ratings for fire departments in the towns, cities or villages where you’re house-hunting and let you know how the different ratings could affect your individual premium.

Features that could cost you

During your search for the perfect home, it’s helpful to know what home features may be considered high risk for some insurance companies. Certain features could cause your insurance provider to decline your policy, add extra costs or bump you to a policy with less comprehensive coverage. Items that may affect homeowners coverage include:

  • A structure with Exterior Insulation Finishing System (EIFS) synthetic stucco
  • Log structures
  • Wood-burning stoves
  • A pool, even if you decide to drain and not use it
  • An older or poorly maintained electrical system, plumbing and/or roof

“Always get a home inspection to find out more about the home’s features and condition,” said Kovac. “If something comes up during the inspection, or if a flaw is noted on the disclosure forms, find out more about the problem to help you make an informed decision.”

Protect your new asset

Your agent can help you learn more about how your new home affects your insurance rates. And more importantly, he or she can help ensure you have enough coverage to protect what is likely to become your biggest asset.

Even though it may be tempting to save a few bucks right now, insurance professionals warn not to skimp on homeowners coverage. You want to make sure you have enough insurance so you could recover from a total loss. If you’re looking to make your policy more affordable, try choosing a higher deductible or talking to your agent about available discounts.

Courtesy of ARA Content

EDITOR’S NOTE: General Casualty Insurance Companies, headquartered in Sun Prairie, Wis., is a member of Winterthur U.S. Holdings, Inc. General Casualty insures homes, autos and businesses through independent agents in 25 states.

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