10 Oct Smart Home Shopping
The home search process is usually an exciting time for prospective buyers. But often times the insurance ramifications are overlooked (and why not, insurance is admittedly far from exciting for most folks!). This can cause unforeseen challenges and stress as you near closing time, when you see that the homeowners insurance will cost much more than you and your mortgage representative estimated. Therefore I hope I can shed some light on a few key areas to consider when finding the home of your dreams:
- Age: Newer homes are more likely to be structurally sound and pose less liability risks than older homes. Areas around town such as South City, Webster Groves, and Kirkwood certainly offer charming homes, but consider that many of them are nearing a century old or more. Your insurance company certainly will!
- Updates: If a home is more than 20 years old, it is very important that updates have been made to the roof, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems. The roof is the biggest factor, and insurance companies like to see asphalt or architectural shingles with a pitch. Roof types such as flat/rubber, shake, or slate can be difficult to insure. Older electrical components such as fuse box or knob and tube wiring can also be deal breakers, as can older heating systems such as boiler/radiators.
- Construction: Homes with sturdy, fire-resistant materials like brick and stone are usually a bit cheaper to insure, although the savings sometimes gets negated by the higher cost of replacement if destroyed by other perils.
- Location: Where you live has a large effect on your insurance rates. Certain areas are more susceptible to wind/hail storms, crime, and fire. Regarding the latter, your responding fire department has a major role in your insurance premium. If the home is located more than 5 miles from a fire department, or more than 1000 feet from a fire hydrant, chances are your rates will be higher than anticipated. So if you are eyeing that secluded home in the country, your rates could be a lot higher than a similar size home in a more populated area.
These are just some of the many factors that play into the rating for your homeowners insurance policy. My best piece of advice is to look for the home that offers the best fit for you, but budget for updates to major systems. You will be rewarded with lower insurance rates, as well as a more comfortable living experience.