Home insurance policies are complex, and lots of different factors can affect them. However, not all of those factors are always expected.
Before taking out a home insurance policy, it’s important to be aware of what can affect those costs. Here are 10 surprising factors that affect home insurance rates.
1. The Breed of Dog You Own
Even though many people view their dogs as family members, insurance companies see things differently. Some breeds of dogs, if they’re known for being more aggressive, can lead to higher home insurance rates. Insurance companies are concerned about paying hefty fees if someone sues the homeowner for a dog bite. They don’t want to be on the line for large medical bills.
A few breeds that often receive this kind of discrimination include:
- American Pit Bull Terriers
- American Staffordshire Terriers
In addition to that, some companies require policyholders to sign dog bite waivers. That means that the company won’t be responsible if the dog bites someone.
2. Exotic Pets
Dogs aren’t the only pets that can alter home insurance rates. Homeowners who have exotic pets may also face higher insurance costs.
There is a wide variety of pets that can be classed as exotic animals. Alligators, snakes, and spiders are just a few. As with certain dog breeds, insurance companies raise their policy prices because they are concerned that the animals will bite people and they could be responsible for paying hefty sums of money.
Those who own guns or other weapons and store them at home may also find their home insurance rates are affected in some capacity.
What’s interesting, however, is that guns and firearms are considered general property under homeowners’ insurance. Since companies don’t cover these items exclusively in a homeowner’s insurance policy, they don’t have to pay the individual value of the items if they’re stolen.
Families with large firearm collections or who have antique weapons may find that their insurance payout is far less than what the item is worth. As a result, they may end up losing out in the event of theft.
4. Wood Stoves
Some homes come with cozy wood-burning stoves. And while these can be a great fixture in the home, they can lead to declined insurance applications if they’re the home’s main heat source. The reason why is because wood-burning stoves can pose a greater risk of fire in the home. As such, some insurance companies decline applications or charge huge premiums.
Individuals with a wood stove in the home can get around this by proving that a licensed installer installed it. They can also provide information showing that it meets local building codes.
5. Swimming Pools
Just like wood stoves, backyard swimming pools can be a source of danger. In this case, insurance companies are worried about people falling into the pool and being injured or killed.
Individuals looking to buy an insurance policy on a property with a swimming pool should consider putting up a fence. Usually, by adding a fence with lockable gates, they can get their applications approved.
Trampolines are a wonderful backyard addition for families with young kids. However, they can make it tough for those same families to take out insurance policies.
Trampoline injuries are extremely common, and many times, the insurance policy has to pay for the medical care. To avoid paying these fees, insurance companies frequently decline applications for homes with trampolines.
Families that already have a trampoline may be able to work around this by installing a net around the trampoline. However, they should still expect to pay higher premiums.
Before building a treehouse in the backyard, it’s important to note that these fixtures can increase home insurance rates. This is, once again, because treehouses pose a higher risk of injury.
Although it’s unlikely that an insurance company will deny an application on a home with a treehouse, they often charge extra.
Although ziplines are often associated with adventure camps, families can install smaller ziplines in their backyards. These ziplines are usually referred to as flying foxes.
While there’s nothing wrong with having a zipline on a property, it’s important to note that it can affect insurance premiums. Since ziplines can be a source of accidents, many companies will charge higher premiums for the liability section of a home insurance policy.
9. Distance of the Home from a Fire Department
The closer a home is to a fire department the more likely it is that there will be minimal damage in the case of a fire.
As such, many insurance companies will offer higher premiums to families who are located far away from a fire department. What’s more, some companies may even base their premiums on the quality of local fire services.
Being aware of both these possibilities is important for families considering a new home insurance policy.
10. Location of the Home
This one might not be as shocking, but it’s still relevant. The location of a home plays a big role in how much people pay in home insurance premiums.
The reason for this is that crime rates and weather threats can change depending on where a house is located. Homes in natural disaster zones or heavy-crime areas generally have higher insurance policies.