The average cost of homeowners insurance has increased over the years. Homeowners spent an average of $1,096 in 2013 on annual homeowners insurance premiums, according to figures released by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. However, if you’re planning to purchase an old home, you should be prepared to pay much more in insurance premiums.
Insuring older homes can be tough. Although purchasing an older home can be extremely affordable, insuring the same home can cost up to 20 percent more than the rate for insuring new homes. 77 percent of the homes in Baltimore, for example, were built over 40 years ago. A home going for an affordable price of $44,800 would cost $290 per month to insure.
Why so expensive
There are various factors that influence the cost of insuring older homes. Paying attention to these factors can help to lower your insurance rates.
- Poor wiring
The building standards 40 years ago aren’t the same as those applicable today. Many older homes need some updating in order to catch up with modern building standards. One good place to start is with the electrical system. Many older homes used 60-amp systems instead of the 200 or 100-amp systems common today.
You may also find that your house features out-of-date knob and tube wiring. This means that the electrical system is more exposed and is therefore a fire risk.
- Old appliances
Many of the appliances in old homes are out of date. These homes feature appliances such as wood-burning stoves, for example, that can pose great explosion or fire risks.
- Old materials
Older homes also feature old materials that were used in their construction. These include hand-painted windows, antique doors and reclaimed wood. These are considered rare today. If your home is damaged, it would be difficult to find materials to replace these pieces. This would result in a higher cost for reconstruction.
- Outdated plumbing
Older homes were fitted with galvanized steel pipes for their plumbing. These pipes rust over time. The buildup can block the flow of water. This can result in leaking or flooding, which can cause extensive damage to the house.
- Poor roofing
Roofing technology and techniques have come a long way over the years. Older homes still feature old roofing materials that were installed using old techniques. These roofs aren’t as resistant against damage caused by wind, hail and other natural disasters. Damage to these roofs is therefore more common.
Some smart choices for your older home
You can greatly reduce your homeowners insurance rates by mitigating the risks associated with your older home.
- Have your home inspected
If you haven’t had a recent inspection, have your home inspected to identify areas that you can improve on. An inspection can help you identify hazards that you can work on to mitigate risks associated with your home.
- Replace oil fuel tanks and outdated appliances
Replace any outdated appliances and fixtures that could pose a risk to your home. Many insurance companies will insist on having appliances such as wood stoves and oil fuel tanks replaced or cleaned and inspected to ensure the safety of the home. These appliances pose a fire hazard if not installed or maintained properly.
- Upgrade your plumbing and wiring
Have a certified electrician replace the wiring in your home. You should also have a plumber inspect and upgrade your plumbing. This will not only make the home safer, but will also help to bring the costs of insuring it down.
It is important to keep these factors in mind as you compare homeowners insurance quotes on comparison sites like CoverHound. You can greatly reduce the cost of insurance by applying some of the above tips.