Different insurance companies offer varying policies, so it's important to discuss anything you read in here that could apply to your circumstances with your broker. Meanwhile, consider these examples of things that could have some impact, for better or worse, on your home insurance premiums.
Things That Can Decrease Your Home Insurance Premiums
Renovation and upgrades can be tricky where insurance is concerned: some can increase your premiums, some can decrease them. One thing home insurers really like is reduction of risks. If you put disaster-proofing upgrades into place on your property, you may benefit from reductions in your home insurance premiums. Whether it's switching from wood to electric sources of primary heat, replacing your roof, installing a sump pump to minimize potential water damage, retrofitting an older home for earthquake resistance, or installing a sprinkler system to minimize fire damage, there are things you can do around your home that may decrease your home insurance premiums. Find out from your insurance company where this could apply to your home.
Theft is one of the most common causes of home insurance claims, so understandably reducing the risk of theft claims by enhancing your home security will probably be appreciated by your insurer, who may reward you with a break on your insurance rates. Insurance brokers like to see monitored burglar alarm systems, deadbolt locks and camera systems. Ask your insurer how much you'd save on premiums if you improved burglary and theft prevention systems.
Modernized plumbing materials made out of copper or plastic pipes are less susceptible to leaks and cracks. You may be able to get a break on your insurance premiums by upgrading these materials in your home.
Things That Can Increase Your Home Insurance Premiums
When people pay money to stay in your home, they may not be covered as insurable guests, and short term rentals are statistically higher risk than long term rentals for expensive things such as theft, damage, and vandalism. If you are renting out your home through Airbnb or other similar networks be sure to talk with your home insurance agent to see how this affects your coverage, and if you'll need to adjust your home insurance plan.
Most standard home insurance plans have caveats that void coverage if the home is empty of full time residents over extended amounts of time, which can mean as little as 4 days at a time. If you plan to go travelling, you should review your insurance plan and either work in accordance with its rules, such as hiring a house minder, or call your insurer to adjust your plan temporarily for the period of absentee time. This may cost you a little bit extra, but it's better than a voided insurance plan if something goes wrong while you're gone.
Value-Enhancing Updates and Renovations
If you increase the value of your home, you also increase what an insurer will potentially have to pay out in the event of a claim, so renovations and upgrades can increase your fees. It's important to keep your insurer aware of any upgrades you do. Not informing them could potentially impact your coverage, and possibly even void it. From ThinkInsure.ca "In Ontario, only 6% of homeowners looked into their house insurance policy prior to renovating. Only 14% asked if they needed to update their policy after a renovation." We can only presume that BC homeowners aren't all as forthcoming on these matters as they should be either. When you're budgeting for updates and renovations on your home, talk to your insurer to learn whether those updates could increase or decrease your insurance premiums, and then plan accordingly.