8 items that boost your insurance rates

Insurance is one of those things we all hate to pay unless we’ve had an insurable loss. Homeowners insurance is paying every month for something that is unlikely to happen. It’s also unlikely that most of us will be able to save several hundred thousand dollars to pay for a major loss if it happens. If you have a mortgage, It’s not usually your decision to protect this major asset. But once your home is paid in full, it’s good to have a backup just in case a loss happens.

1.Risky Diversions

Swimming pools, trampolines treehouses, zip lines, and rock climbing walls pose a threat to children. Even if a child sneaks into your yard and is hurt, you may be liable if they aren’t secured properly. If you have one of these toys in your backyard and you don’t inform your insurance company, they may not pay.

2. Risky Pets

Dogs bites account for one-third of all claims. Some dog breeds have bad reputations, such as pit bulls, german shepherds, or rottweilers. Like the diversions above, you should contact your insurance agent to let them know that you have one. Some insurance agencies are considered “pet friendly” and won’t give you higher rates because of your animals. They key is to shop around.

3. Risky Renovations

If’ you are one of the many DIYers you may have done some work on your home. Unfortunately, not all DIYers and even some disreputable contractors sometimes do shoddy work. Poor plumbing and electric work can lead to fires or water damage. Open floor plans are very popular right now, but if the previous owner didn’t know what a loan bearing wall is, they may have put your second story in peril. If you are not the original owner of the home, you may not know what’s behind your walls.

Adding additional buildings to your lot could raise your rates. Sheds, chicken coops, workshops, playhouses and other outbuildings may be considered hazards, especially if they are of poor workmanship or in bad condition.Other hazards include falls on stairs, fireplace fires, falls from balconies, and poor maintenance.

Some renovations may keep your insurance premiums down. Fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, security fences and gates, security and lighting are a good place to start.

4. Risky Business

Having a home business sometimes adds extra risks, especially if you meet with clients at home. If your walkways aren’t clean and safe in the winter or you kids leave their skateboard out where someone can trip on it, you may end up paying for injuries.

Business also comes with a lot of equipment like computers, printer, faxes, copiers and furniture that may be attractive to burglars. If you work from home you may need an extra insurance policy for business.

5. Risky Luxury

Most of us don’t have a lot of high priced items. But if you do have something of high value, it may not be covered under your run of the mill insurance policy. Things like expensive engagement rings, guns, coin collections and other collectables may need to be insured separately. Check with your insurance agent if you think you may have something that needs extra insurance.

6.Risky Neighborhood

Several factors that go into evaluating your neighborhood risk, from where fire hydrants are located to crime data collected by law enforcement. Most of these are out of your control. If there is a serious uptick in the amount of fires or burglaries in your neighborhood, your insurer may raise your rates, as frustrating as that can be.

The risk of natural disasters, floods, earthquakes, and hurricane risk, can also affect your rates. All of which may require a separate insurance policy. Before you purchase a home, these things should be taken into consideration.

7. Risky Credit

Risky credit is something that you can control. Homeowners with low credit scores will usually pay higher insurance premiums. You can avoid this by keeping your credit scores high. Four things account for 80% of your credit score; payment history, outstanding percentage of debt, the variety of credit used, and length of credit history.. So concentrate on paying your bills on time, and avoiding debt, and you can avoid paying higher rates.

8. Risky Claims

Too many claims on your policy may raise your rates. If it’s only a few hundred dollars, you may want to pay for it instead of taking the risk that your policy rates will be raised, costing you hundreds more per year. You may pay less in the long run by taking care of it yourself.


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