Four Factors Affecting Homeowners Coverage you may not know

Making decisions concerning your home can impact your homeowners insurance coverage and price. The more you know about insurance, the more likely you are to keep from making mistakes that can cost you money.

Here are four things that affect homeowners insurance you may not know.

1. Dogs

Owning certain breeds of dogs come with liability for the homeowner. Insurance companies target dog breeds that are notorious as biters, and those that have been researched as being an insurance liability. These are known as “homeowners insurance dogs.”

A dog that has previously bitten someone will be a liability to homeowners as well, sometimes causing the insurance companies to raise premiums, tell the homeowner that the dog has to go, or even cancel policies.

These are the breeds that probably will affect your insurance;

Akita, Rottweiler, Pit Bull, Siberian Husky, Doberman Pincer, German Shepherd, Alaskan Malamute, Stafford-shire Bull Terrier, and Wolf Hybrid.

If you are planning on getting a dog, talk to your Insurance Company to make sure that the puppy you are choosing won’t cause your insurance rates or coverage to change.

2. Previous Claims on the home

Imagine this; you have just finished the paperwork on buying your new “dream” home to find out your insurance carrier has branded it as “un-insurable”. This has happened before, but it doesn’t have to happen to you.

A house will be un-insurable if two claims are filed in a three year period. And a claim can be something like an inquiry to the insurance company.

It happens like this; A house’s roof gets damaged in a wind storm and is replaced by insurance. Later the homeowner asks the insurance company about some damage to the gutter, but decides to replace it himself. The insurance company opens a claim on the inquiry, and later closes it as “no payment made.” That will count as the second claim in three years.

It is standard practice for insurance companies and you can be assured that most, if not all of them, have this in place as a policy.

Claim activity is recorded by a group called the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, and C.L.U.E. reports are how your insurer finds out what the claim activity has been on a property. If you are denied insurance, you have the right to receive a copy of this report, and you can order one for your own home. You cannot ask for a report on a property that you don’t own, but you can ask a seller to provide you with one as a condition of a sale. It can keep you clear of a perilous situation.

3. Fire station–Distance affects coverage.

The distance to the nearest fire station and the nearest fire hydrant can affect the premiums you pay for homeowners insurance. It seems pretty obvious, if you think about it, that the farther you are from the fireman, the more chances you house can be damaged in a fire.

A good rule of thumb is that if the fire station is more than five miles away, or the nearest fire hydrant is more than a thousand feet away, than you can expect to have increased insurance premiums.

4. Alarm System and Discounts 

An alarm system can save as much as 20 percent on homeowner insurance policies, and the more sophisticated, the more the discount.

When choosing an alarm system, they basically come in two types; monitored and unmonitored. An unmonitored alarm will react with flashing lights, load noises, or both. Take a smoke alarm for example. It just waits around for the conditions to be right for it to make a piercing sound in an attempt to alert the inhabitants that there may be a fire, and is an example of an unmonitored alarm.

A monitored alarm usually has a phone line or cell phone connection and sends data to some kind of monitoring station, where operators watch for different input, such as heat, smoke, motion, or whatever the monitoring equipment is looking for.

Although both are good, a monitored alarm system will often bring a larger discount from your insurance company, and either will provide some peace of mind.

Take some time to research your insurance policy before making big decisions (or maybe even some small ones) concerning your home. With the availability of the Internet and search engines, that job is easier then ever.

Surprises are OK for birthday parties, but they are last thing you want with your homeowners policy.