June 13, 2024

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Basic home maintenance can help ensure you home insurance stays low

3 min read

With the economy in its current state everybody is looking at their budgets for ways to cut back on spending, while you don’t want to skimp on home insurance, there may be areas where you can save.

John Homer is the managing partner at Causeway Insurance in Fort Frances. He says the best way to keep your premiums from getting too high is basic home maintenance.

“The very first and foremost thing is to try and prevent claims,” Homer said. “When you have claims you lose your claim-free discount and you’re less desirable to some of the main market companies.”

Regular maintenance jobs that should be kept current include keeping gutters clean to ensure proper water drainage, especially during wet springs and as winter approaches. Ensuring your sump pump has been properly maintained is another important job to ensure that your basement stays dry and you don’t have a claim there. If there are drainage ditches adjacent to your property ensuring those are clear can be helpful as well.

Other seasonal maintenance should include limiting liability, especially in the snowy and icy seasons.

“In the wintertime make sure that your driveways are salted and sanded because everybody thinks about something physically happening to your property, but there’s also the liability side of things,” Homer said. “If somebody trips and falls and decides they sue you because they were going to be the next Wayne Gretzky but they broke their arm or broke their leg and now now it affects their job and everything else, they can.”

Causeway is a brokerage which means its brokers contact different insurance companies to see what different coverages they can offer given a client’s needs. Having your home, auto and other insurance needs like a boat, ATV or other accessories all with the same company can lead to discounts depending on the circumstances. Bundling insurance can also help reduce price though it might not always mean lower home insurance prices.

“Bundling is the best way to save, usually,” Homer said. “But there are some companies we bundle with but their house pricing is really high, but then their auto pricing is really good, so we look at the whole package…

“We give a minimum of three companies when we quote,” Homer added. “Usually what the cheapest one is because everybody wants to know that one, one is a middle one and then the next one that we think [might work]”

Coverages may vary however. Homer says the cheapest company will likely have different coverage when it comes to water and sewer damage for example.

Changing the source of heat in your home is also a way to change your premium.

“Any wood heat is an exposure that causes claims,” Homer said. “So another way to prevent that is to make sure your chimneys are cleaned… make sure you’re burning clean, dry wood. There’s usually a 10-25 per cent surcharge to have wood heat in your house or garage.”

Oil heat can also be a liability for some companies because if there happens to be a fault with the tank, or an incident where oil spills, it can be a massive claim. As an example, Homer noted that a client’s home had to be torn down after a basement oil tank leaked and oil leached through the concrete into the ground.

Another way to reduce insurance premiums would be to make sure you tell your insurance company if you make updates or upgrades to your home, Homer says some companies will give discounts for a newer hot water tank or if you have your roof redone.

These are just some of the ways that you might be able to reduce your home insurance, if you think you might be eligible for discounts you should contact your broker.

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