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StoveTop FireStop Blog

Preventative Measures for Homeowners to Keep Insurance Costs Low

The cost of homeowners insurance is one of several unavoidable expenses when owning a house. Depending on your location and the age of your home, the amount you’ll pay for insurance will vary, however, the average homeowner’s insurance cost in the U.S. in 2022 is $1,680 per year. That may feel like a large expense, but knowing you’ll be compensated if something happens to your home can be priceless. Your mortgage company may require you to keep a certain level of insurance on your home anyway.

Let’s face it, no one wants to pay more for insurance than they need to. While some people may look at raising their deductible or bundling, there are more fundamental measures you can take to keep the rates low for years to come. It’s important to keep your insurer in the loop when making decisions about your home and to see if you qualify for any discounts. Here are some of the best preventative measures you can take that’ll lower your homeowner’s insurance rates.

Many homes have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, but more often than not, they don’t work. Most homeowners forget to keep their detectors up to fire safety standards which can cause extreme damage if an incident was to occur. They’re the first line of defense against fire damage. They should be installed in areas where you can hear them, such as the kitchen, inside bedrooms, and at least one on each floor. Without them, your home could suffer from extreme damage as well as loss of property.
If the first line of defense against a fire is a smoke alarm, the second is a fire extinguisher. Similar to smoke detectors, many families don’t know where the extinguisher is located or how to use it. A good rule of thumb is to keep one on each floor so they’re easy to access when needed. Although fire extinguishers don’t have a set expiration date, they also won’t last forever. Traditional extinguishers have around a 10-12 year life expectancy. You should be able to find a date stamped on the cylinder part of the extinguisher.
Adding fire safety features to your home is critical to sense and stop a fire quicker. The NFPA reports that between the years 2014-2018, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 172,900 fires per year were caused by cooking activities. These fires caused more than $1 billion in property damage per year. Fortunately, our products for your rangehood can stop a cooking fire at the source, even if the stove is left unattended. Our products are extremely low maintenance requiring neither inspections nor repairs throughout their six-year effective life.

Installing a fence in your yard may seem insignificant, but it can have a positive impact on the value of your home and insurance rates. Based on the material and condition it’s in, a fence can add to curb appeal and increase your home’s market value while promoting privacy and safety. Ensuring there is no easy access to your home will help lower your homeowners insurance rates.
Unfortunately, fences come at a price and a pretty hefty one at that, so if you don’t have money set aside, you may need to get creative with financing. If you’re a homeowner and have equity in your home, a home equity line of credit, or a HELOC, may be perfect for you. A HELOC allows you to borrow money from your home’s equity as you need for your projects and is even tax-deductible when used on home improvements. In general, a HELOC will have a lower interest rate than a credit card does, making it so you only have to pay interest on what you’re currently borrowing.

Insurance companies love to hear that you’re taking safety precautions to take care of your home. By adding weatherproofing features such as high-quality hurricane straps, waterproofing, or severe weather-resistant shingles, you’re decreasing the chances that your home may be severely damaged from bad weather. Wind-related discounts vary and may only be applicable if you happen to live in a state with high wind risk.
Those who do live in high-risk areas can take it a step further by adding reinforced roofs and structures to ensure your home will withstand the worst Mother Nature can create. In the basement, a sump pump can protect against substantial rainfall that may result in flooding and it will help save you on your premiums as well. These weatherproofing measures can also help to improve the value of your home while protecting it at the same time.

Unfortunately, burglaries happen all the time. Instead of waiting until it happens to you, take proactive measures to protect your home and family. Not only does installing home security systems offer protection to your belongings and loved ones, but it also offers you peace of mind. Obvious signs of an alarm system such as stickers on the windows, signs in the yard, or outdoor cameras can deter a burglar, whose crime is often based on where opportunity presents itself.
On average, installing security devices of all kinds can reduce your homeowner’s insurance up to 20%. If you have more than one protective device or if your security system includes around-the-clock professional protection, then you’re likely to save more. Be sure to discuss with your insurance agent how these upgrades can benefit you by offering protection and financial benefits.

Installing safety features in your home makes you less vulnerable to theft, natural disasters, or other incidents that could cause costly insurance claims. It’s not always cheap, but you can offset the costs with discounts and different financing options.

Winter Home Safety Guide

It is common knowledge that the winter months bring more risk for house fires. The combination of holiday decorations, heating systems, and indoor cooking all contribute to the fact that you and your family are more likely to suffer from a house fire during these cold months. Take some time to prepare your home, gain knowledge on fire safety, and stay vigilant against fire risks to help protect you and your loved ones. These simple tips, which you can use all year round, will help you reduce the danger of fires in your home this winter!

Preparing for Winter

You can practice making your home safer in preparation for the winter months throughout the year. If you’re a new or first-time homeowner, you should be aware of safety precautions you can take that you may never have thought of when living in an apartment or with your family. However, even if you’ve owned your home for years, you may not realize the importance of insurance, a home warranty, or just gaining and sharing knowledge on fire safety.

  1. Homeowners insurance is an extremely important investment in terms of protecting your home from a fire. Insurance will protect the structure of your home, personal belongings, and any additional cost of living if you have to leave your house because of natural disaster damage. It’s especially important to equip your home with insurance if you live in an area with winter storms, as these can also increase the likelihood of a fire due to the extreme cold and wind.
  2. Another type of home protection, which is often overlooked, is home warranty plans. The facts of home warranty policies make it hard to ignore that they are a vital investment for new homeowners. Home warranty contracts allow you to ensure that your major appliances, like your furnace, are serviced regularly and covered by this plan should they stop working.
  3. Never underestimate the power of doing research on home fires and sharing fire safety information with your family. If your home is already protected by insurance and a home warranty policy, then take time to make fire safety plans for your family. Inform your family about the best ways to suppress a fire and make sure everyone knows where your fire extinguisher, StoveTop FireStop product, and smoke detectors are located around the house.

This type of fire readiness can be practiced all year, so don’t wait until winter to find an insurance and home warranty plan that works best for you. Plus, the sooner you have a fire safety plan for your family, the better. These types of plans take knowledge and practice, especially for kids, so it’s never too late to start! These three tips will give you peace of mind to know that you’re taking every precaution ahead of this winter to keep your family safe.

Staying vigilant this winter

Now that you have your home prepared for the risk of fire, let’s cover the ways you and your family can stay vigilant during these cold months when fires are most common. As we know, there is good reason fires are more common this time of year; the combination of heating, cooking indoors, decorations, and storms pose a potential danger to your family and your home.

Firstly, ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working and have new batteries in them to last you through the winter. Testing a detector is easy, simply press the “Test” button on your system! If the beep is so quiet that you don’t think it would wake you up in the night, replace the batteries and see if it gets louder. If it remains weak, then consider buying a new system. It’s just as important to also test your carbon monoxide detectors this winter because indoor heating and cooking systems release this odorless, colorless and deadly gas.

Equipping your home with fire safety gear, as mentioned above, is critical to stopping a fire more quickly. Our products for your rangehood can stop a stove fire at the source, even if no one is in the kitchen to witness the fire starting! Additionally, keeping a fire extinguisher where it’s closely accessible on every floor of your home is ideal. Most commonly, fire extinguishers are kept in open areas near exits and in the kitchen.

Finally, being vigilant includes knowing how to prevent winter fires around the house. Never leave candles unattended near anything flammable, such as curtains or table cloths, and always blow them out before you leave the house. Especially in winter, when you more likely have an array of beautiful, but flammable, decorative items around. If your family uses a space heater, it’s very important to know the safety usage of your product. It’s best practice to have a 3-foot area around your space heater that’s clear of any other items and to always turn it off before going to sleep. Additionally, never use extension cords for a space heater or any type of heating or cooling system to avoid electrical fires.

Home fires are a devastating truth for thousands of families all over the U.S. every year but, as you know, there are simple ways to protect yours! Knowledge of fire safety in your kitchen, investing in home protection, and sharing a safety plan with your family are all great practices to reduce the risk of a fire in your home.