From the classic three bedroom, two bath layout to a big backyard or updated kitchen, there are several must-have features on almost every home buyer's list. Unfortunately, there are other factors that many home buyers overlook, and doing this can wind up costing them hundreds or thousands of dollars: the potential cost of homeowner's insurance. Here are three unexpected factors that can affect the price of your homeowner's insurance – and what you can do to save more money:
Your Home's Proximity to a Fire Hydrant and Fire Station
One of the simplest factors that can have a huge impact on your homeowner's insurance premiums is often the most surprising to first-time buyers: how close the home is to a fire hydrant or fire station. Basically, in most cases the further your home is from a fire hydrant or fire station, the more you will pay for insurance.
Keep this factor in mind while shopping around for houses, and don't be afraid to ask your realtor to find properties that have a hydrant on the same block. If you already have a house in mind, and the house is a few blocks away from a hydrant and a few miles away from a station, look for other ways to save.
From bundling your homeowner's insurance with your car insurance to raising your deductible, there are other ways you can save big money on your monthly premiums.
Your Choice of Pets
According to the Canadian Animal Health Institute, approximately 34 percent of all Canadian households own at least one dog. If you are a proud dog owner, you may not realize that moving into your new home with your beloved pooch can actually raise your homeowner's insurance rates.
Many insurance providers have a list of dog breeds that are considered "aggressive," meaning that they are more likely to cause damage, which in turn will devalue the home. More importantly, these dogs breeds are often associated with biting or even killing individuals, which in addition to being devastating, can also be very costly for your insurance provider. However, if you own one of these dog breeds, don't assume that you need to give up the furriest member of your family.
Instead, ask your insurance provider about ways you can keep your dog without raising your premiums. For example, many insurance providers will ask you to supply a document that states your dog is trained. This will make the dog appear more of an asset than a liability because it can guard your home and family!
Your Credit History
Your credit history and score will have a dramatic impact on just about every aspect of your finances and life, including how much money you will pay for your insurance premiums. Your insurance provider will use several aspects of your credit history, including credit usage and payment history, to determine your risk.
Basically, the lower your credit score, the higher the risk, which translates into a more costly monthly insurance premium. Luckily, there are several things you can do to help raise your credit score prior to purchasing a home.
For example, avoid making any large purchases before you buy a home. Buying a car or putting a vacation on your credit cards will raise your debt-to-income ratio, which in turn will lower your credit score.
Paying down your credit cards, paying off old bills and paying your bills on time are other simple ways to quickly raise your credit score.
From your dog's breed to your credit score and history, there are several factors that will affect how much you pay for homeowner's insurance. If you're considering purchasing a home, don't hesitate to contact your insurance provider to learn how you can save money on home insurance in Hamilton.