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These Household Plumbing Features Can Drive Up Your Insurance Bills

06/11/15

Copper and PVC pipes

Owning a home is an expensive proposition. Mortgage payments, utilities, repairs and maintenance can all stretch the family budget to the limit – and then there’s homeowners insurance. Insurance is necessary to limit your exposure and protect your assets in the event of a disaster, but it can cost a bundle up front. Fortunately, you have some control over how much you pay for insurance. For example, there are several factors related to your household plumbing that can drive up your insurance costs.

High-Value Installations and Outdated Plumbing

Some of these factors have to do with outdated plumbing installations, while others are due to expensive features that make potential repairs more expensive. The exact impact on your bills will depend on the specific issue and your insurance policy.

“Some insurers will not insure you at all, some will require an inspection, and some will classify you as high-risk,” CEO of insurance-services company InsurEye Alexey Saltykov told the Financial Post.

You might be paying more for insurance if your home features any of these elements:

  • Outdated Pipe Material: Insurers care about what materials your pipes are made of because once-popular metals like lead and galvanized steel are prone to corrosion and buildup, which degrades the quality and pressure of your water supply. Insurer-preferred pipes are made of copper or more modern materials like PVC plumbing pipe or PEX plastic.
  • Finished Basements: You might think a finished basement doesn't have anything to do with your water system. But all that carpeting and furniture means greater liability in the event of a plumbing leak. Floods – and even worse, sewer backups – will hit basements first and ruin your décor. Finished basements can cause a jump in insurance premiums by up to 20 percent.
  • Your Backyard Pool: A pool “increases the estimated cost to rebuild your home by about $5,000, or six percent. That will drive the classification of a home into a higher building limit,” Square One Insurance Services CEO Daniel Mirkovic told Financial Post. Pools can also increase liability because of the risk of drowning, particularly if there is no fence around the area.

Better Pipes, Lower Bills

The comfort of a finished basement or a swimming pool might be worth the higher premiums. Outdated pipes, on the other hand, pose a problem you can proactively correct to improve your water quality and lower your bills. If you need to have any of your plumbing elements inspected or upgraded to mitigate insurance costs, your local Benjamin Franklin® can help.



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