Not just raising your home’s curb appeal

Homeowner’s insurance…we all need it, but most of us fear the premium bill when it comes. Insurance rates continue to rise, no matter what part of the country you live in. It can be frustrating and a little frightening as you try to figure out how to pay the extra amount.

However, there are some certain upgrades you can make on your home to lower your insurance rates. We outline 7 of those home improvements here:

Tip #1: Start with your roof

If you really want to impact your insurance rates, a new roof might be the answer. Yes, the initial cost might give you anxiety, but over the long-term it will save you money. In theory, newer roofs are better able to withstand storms than an older one. It will also be more resistant to leaks that can cause damage to your home. In fact, some insurance companies will only offer limited coverage if your roof is too old.

If you do upgrade your roof, make sure you use a reputable company/contractor and that all building codes pertaining to your area are followed. If you live in a part of the country that is prone to hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, or other natural disasters, your state or county will most likely have guidelines to follow to make sure your roof can withstand those conditions.

Tip #2: Add reinforcements to windows, doors, and more

Along with a new roof, think about making an investment in other safety upgrades throughout your home. As this past summer demonstrated, natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, and wildfires will occur and certain actions can help make your home safer while lowering insurance rates.

Here are several safety upgrades you can do:

• Add storm shutters or hurricane-impact windows

• Anchor roofs, gable ends & walls

• Install hurricane-rated doors & garage doors

• Retrofit older homes to withstand earthquakes

• Update utilities

• Add water barriers in flood-prone areas

Tip #3: Upgrade to avoid flooding issues

Did you know flood damage is the #1 insurance claim in this country? For those who live in an area that is prone to flooding, certain actions can help mitigate the cost of insurance. Tips include: installing flood openings, elevating utilities, and elevating your home if possible.

Tip #4: Install a security system

Insurance companies are all about risk … or rather avoiding it. A good security system reassures the company that they are less likely to end up paying a claim in the event of a break in. Ask your agent for suggestions of systems or devices that could potentially lower your insurance rates.

Tip #5: Install fire and carbon monoxide detection systems

Fires destroy thousands of homes every year. A good fire alarm is essential, not only for lowering insurance rates, but also safeguarding your loved ones. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), “Sixty-five percent of home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no working smoke detectors.”

Carbon monoxide poisoning can also pose a serious risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control, a total of 2,244 deaths resulted from “unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning” from 2010-2015. Carbon monoxide poisoning is usually due to common household items, such as gas fires, oil-burning furnaces, portable generators, and charcoal grills, among others. Carbon monoxide detectors are built with special alarms that will go off if CO2 levels rise. Installing one can help ensure your family gets out in time.

Tip #6: Upgrade plumbing

If you live in an older house, the pipes might have been built with galvanized lead, which can corrode over time. Replacing old pipes with more modern copper, PVC or PEX can be better for your health, your home, and your insurance rates.

Tip #7: Upgrade electrical wiring too

Faulty or old electrical wiring is one of the main causes of house fires. Look at these stats from the ESFI:

• Home electrical fires account for an estimated 51,000 fires each year, nearly 500 deaths, more than 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage

• Electrical distribution systems are the third leading cause of home structure fires

• Arcing faults are responsible for starting more than 28,000 home fires

According to, “If your house still has aluminum or knob and tube wiring, you should look at upgrading it to modern copper wiring. If you don’t you might have to get your policy from high-risk insurance providers.”

Tip #8: Install a fence around your pool

If you have a backyard pool, you need a fence around it … period. A pool fence will lower your insurance rates (and may even be required), but it’s also a big safety issue. According to a National Safety Council report, “Drowning deaths are the leading cause of death and injury of children under 5 … More than 80% of the drownings occur in residential pools or spas.”

Even if you don’t have young children, a fence is still important. If you have company and they have children, or even if a child from down the street wanders into your yard and drown, you could be held liable if you don’t have a secure fence.

These 8 home upgrades can ultimately help you lower homeowner’s insurance rates. If you need a consultation about your insurance needs or you have questions about reducing your rate, contact Avante Insurance today.