Home ownership risks to avoid

Being a homeowner means that there is always some element of risk involved. The risk is not only what can happen to you, but also the liability you may incur when accidents happen on your property, or even on someone else's property.

Each of these potential problems can raise your homeowner's insurance costs, or may even prevent you from obtaining coverage. Here are some things you need to consider in terms of reducing your risk:

Keep Swimming Pools Safe

While swimming pools can be a lot of fun for the family, and a great way to cool off in the summer, they do come with some additional insurance risks.  Someone could fall on the deck and get hurt, or a child could wander into the pool area and drown.

The result could be high medical bills, and/or a lawsuit. Before adding a pool (or before buying a house that has one), make sure you know the costs to your homeowner's insurance policy, and be carry sufficient coverage. Speak with your insurance agent for recommendations on what you can do to limit your liabilities.

Also be sure to have safety measures in place to reduce the likelihood of accidents, including a fence around the pool, a sign, and safety equipment. These can not only reduce your insurance rates, but more importantly can prevent an accident.

Be Aware Of Pet Breeds

Some dogs are not looked at kindly by insurance companies. They are assumed to be more aggressive and more likely to bite someone, so owning one can increase your risk and raise your insurance premiums

Breeds considered to be a risk may vary between insurers, so be sure to ask your agent about dogs that will increase your insurance premiums. Breeds that often result in increased rates are German shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, Great Danes, and Akitas, to name a few.

Prevent Trampoline Troubles

Kids love trampolines. They can be a lot of fun, but an incredible number of accidents occur each year on them.

Each year, about 92,000 trampoline-related accidents requiring hospital visits occur. This can result in medical costs and higher premiums, especially when visiting kids are the ones who are injured. If a trampoline is a must-have for your family, be sure to pickup a safety net and keep a watchful eye during playtime outside.

Location Is Everything

Living out in the country can provide some great views and solitude. Unfortunately, it can also mean you are probably at a considerable distance from the local fire station, and this will raise your insurance rates. Being close to a fire hydrant, or even a swimming pool (as long as it’s your neighbor’s - see above) will help keep those rates lower.

Another problem that can be caused by location is the general area in which you live. Areas known for floods, hurricanes, or tornadoes, are apt to cost you more for insurance. In some areas, if these are frequent problems, it may even be difficult to get insurance for these events.

Poor Maintenance (Or Lack Thereof)

Insurance companies like to know your property is well-maintained. This includes reducing the brush around the property, removing trees or tree limbs that might fall on the house, maintaining the roof, and more. When there are problems with these things, expect your rates to go up, and you may even get dropped by your insurer.

Before buying a home, talk to your insurance agent about costs and coverage. If you already own a home, there may be ways you can reduce the costs. Your insurance agent can help you with this information.

Posted by Larry Tollen on
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