Keep the Wolf from Your Door and Reduce Premiums

Which of the fabled three little pigs would get the best insurance premium?

Many factors go into determining your homeowner’s insurance rates, and building materials are one of them. What is your home made of: straw, sticks, or brick? And could the proverbial big bad wolf destroy it?

Rates are affected by your home’s flammability, and its ability to be destroyed by potential threats – natural and man-driven. If you are considering new construction, or just curious about how your home would rate in the fable above, note the following pros and cons of different building materials and their impact on your rates:

Steel beam construction: It’s less likely to burn, and may qualify for discounts. It’s also more likely to sustain damage in earthquakes.

Frame construction: Burns easily and completely, but is less likely to sustain earthquake damage. This costs more to insure than homes of the same value in the same area constructed of different materials.

Brick: Less likely to burn, brick costs less to insure than a similar frame home. Pure masonry materials usually receive a discount.

Stick-built: Insurance rates are lower for a home constructed on-site than for modular or mobile homes.

Modular/Mobile: Premiums reflect the value of the home as well as the risk. The values of a modular or mobile home is typically lower, but rates are higher: the two factors may balance out.

“Wolf-guards”: Regardless of construction type, many items can decrease premiums by reducing risk. Adding bolt locks, security systems, sprinkler systems, and smoke detectors helps “blow down” your rates.