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Homeowners insurance if you fortify your home

For centuries, those poor people who decided not to emigrate to join us in America relied on the saying, “An Englishman’s home is his castle”. This was actually not a suggestion everyone should dig a moat around their home and fill it up with crocodiles. Rather it suggested the police and all other strangers had no right of entry unless they had a warrant. But, moving across to modern America, we can put a new spin on the saying. Let’s start off with the problems of burglaries and home invasions. No matter what your ZIP code, there will always be discounts if you prove you have fitted more than adequate security.

This starts with simple and cheap steps like fitting deadlocks on the doors and windows, and then moves up by fitting stronger doors and armored glass in the windows. This is why it’s very important to discuss proposed changes with your insurer before you authorize a builder to start work. You need detailed confirmation of what the savings will be so you can balance the cost of the work. If you blindly fit massive security, you may not recover the cost for ten or more years. So is spending this money going to make you feel safer in your own home? Can you put a value on that?

Now let’s move on to the physical structure of your home. Again be very careful about getting the insurance company to confirm this work is cost-effective. If you live in an area which is prone to storms and high winds, you will probably get discounts if you strengthen the roof and make sure it is securely tied into the walls. Spending the money to prevent the roof from blowing away saves a great deal of rebuilding work. If you add a secondary water barrier so that, if the roof does blow off, no rain water will get through to the contents of your home, this will definitely produce a discount. In this, note the local building codes are irrelevant. These are national standards defined by the insurance industry. The more homes that either are built to these standards or retrofit, the lower the premium rates will be. You will find some insurers describe this as home fortification. A final thought should address the windows and doors.

Home insurance rates will be reduced if you have a set of screens made for all the openings into your home. The idea is to create a secondary barrier to deflect the wind and rain. These screens can either be fitted permanently to the structure and closed when the storms are forecast. Or they can be lifted up and fitted when severe weather is expected. In this way, you can reduce the risk of rain water being driven under doors and through window frames by a strong wind. Insurers will always reward you with lower premium rates if you reduce the risk of claims from storm damage. So start talking to local builders and the company currently selling your homeowners insurance policy. You need estimates from the builders and written confirmation of the discounts from your insurer. Then you can see whether it’s worth spending the money.

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