Welcome to July's Homewatch post. Continuing our effort to keep the Buyers and Sellers of Toronto informed, here we offer information on particular property features that are sure to spike your insurance premiums. Be prepared!
When selecting a home, you consider costs - but these costs are often limited to those either in the acquisition of a property or to those you intend to direct towards home improvements. But what about the expenses you incur as a matter of course living there- like property insurance, for instance? For example, did you know that some home improvements can either reduce or increase your insurance premiums?
Do you have a vault of jewels, a fleet of outdoor equipment or an extensive art collection in your home? Having expensive items in your home means that you are going to have to pay more to protect them. You may want to consider housing expensive things off site to reduce home insurance premiums.
Who wouldn’t love to float away a summer afternoon in a pool, complete with an umbrella drink? Idyllic yes, but expect to pay higher insurance premiums with a pool. With a pool, of course, comes a greater risk of accident, injury (or even death) - which means a greater insurance cost to you.
Warm by the Hearth
While wood stoves and fireplaces inject lovely warmth through the winter months, they also carry the potential for smoke damage. Count on paying more in premiums for these (and you may also need a separate inspection).
Speaking of heating, does your house have oil heating? This is frequently frowned upon by insurers when other heating alternatives exists, both because of the environmental hazards as well as a greater risk of fire. They much prefer you to have electric or natural gas forced-air heating.
Working from Home?
Did you know that running a business from your home means that you need different/additional policy coverage? Think about things like running a daycare, clients doing home visits, or even running a bed and breakfast will change the purpose of at least a portion of your home, so that means potential additional costs. Furthermore, if you store materials or inventory associated with your business in your home (even if you’re not actually conducting business there) expect your premiums to go up as well.
What’s Between the Walls?
How are you wired? Aluminum or knob and tube wiring? Aluminum wiring tends to overheat, meaning a greater chance for fires. Knob and tube wiring (which is not uncommon, given the age of much of the housing stock in the city of Toronto) is antiquated, and not meant to manage the level and rate of consumption generally used by homeowners today. In all likelihood, you’ll either need to replace it or pay hefty premiums. What kind of pipes run through your home? Older homes often have lead or galvanized steel pipes, which have a greater chance of corroding. Insurers far prefer plastic or copper pipes, which are decidedly more user friendly.
What kind of roof does your house have? Insurers are not big on wood shake or shingle roofs. By the same token, they don’t particularly like wood frame houses either, because of fire hazard. They prefer brick or concrete because of their fire retardant qualities.
Is your basement finished? While this is a great way to increase your living space and boost the asset value of your home, expect to pay more to insure that extra square footage. It only makes sense. More insured area = more insurance premiums, especially as basements are more susceptible to leaking.
Your Great Outdoors
While the landscaping you’ve got around your home doesn’t generally pose a great risk (with the exception of huge branches that can present problems in winter months, when coated with ice) it does represent dollars you’ve either put in or take care to maintain with your home. As such, you’ll pay to protect it, from things like the elements.
At urbaneer, we think about your whole homeownership experience, expanding far beyond the transaction of buying. We make sure you’ve thought your purchase through, for the present moment, and for all of the moments in the future when you live between those walls. We’d love to have to chance to help you envision your housing future from every angle! We’re here to help!
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