5 home improvements to lower home insurance rates

Replacing your roof and installing a home security system are just some of the home improvements you can make to lower your home insurance rates.

Pat Howard 1600Kara McGinley

By

Pat Howard

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

&Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley is a senior editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she writes about homeowners and renters insurance. As a journalist and as an insurance expert, her work and insights have been featured in Kiplinger, Lifehacker, MSN, WRAL.com, and elsewhere.

Updated|4 min read

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Home insurance rates are on the rise nationwide, according to the Policygenius Home Insurance Pricing Report. But a good way to lower homeowners insurance costs is to take steps to make your home safer and limit the frequency of claims. 

Insurers will typically reward you with discounts and credits on your insurance rates if you make improvements like replacing your roof or installing wind-resistant windows.

Here's how to lower home insurance rates by making a few improvements to your home.

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1. Replace your roof

Your roof is the part of your house with perhaps the biggest impact on your homeowners insurance rates. Replacing an older roof with a newly constructed one could lower your homeowners insurance rates drastically.

Here's how much you stand to save on your home insurance rates by replacing your roof:

Insurance company

Average annual cost with old roof

Average annual cost with new roof

Savings

Nationwide

$1,907

$1,482

$425

Allstate

$1,765

$1,441

$324

ASI Progressive

$1,818

$1,534

$284

American Family

$1,795

$1,514

$281

Auto-Owners Insurance

$1,499

$1,348

$151

Methodology: Annual rates are based on our analysis of home insurance premiums provided by Quadrant Information Services in March 2022 for ZIP codes in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C. Annual rates for old roofs are calculated by averaging the cost of policies for a roof that's 10 years old, 15 years old, and 20 years old with each carrier.

If your house is in an area at heightened risk of wildfire or wind-related damage, you can save even more money by installing a roof with superior-grade construction, such as one that is fire- or wind-resistant.

2. Add a security system

If you install protective features like deadbolts, fire alarms, or a fully monitored security system, you can save a good amount on homeowners insurance premiums.

The size of your discount is based on the quality and effectiveness of the protective device. For example, a local burglar or fire alarm won’t net you as large of a discount as a central station device that alerts your police or fire departments directly.

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3. Upgrade your home systems

Home systems are a prominent cause of accidental fires and water damage, which are two of the most frequently filed homeowners insurance claims. If you live in an older house in need of serious upgrades, you’ll likely see a substantial rate reduction once you repair or replace your home’s internal systems.

Here are a few other ways to upgrade your household systems

These could all lead to lower rates — especially if you opt for eco-friendly options like solar panels, heat pump water heaters, or Energy Star appliances.

Save money on green home improvements with the Inflation Reduction Act

With the signing of the historic Inflation Reduction Act, homeowners will receive thousands of dollars in tax incentives to improve their home’s energy efficiency in 2022 and beyond. And even if you don’t take advantage of the tax credits yourself, it’s predicted that the average household will save $170 to $220 per year on electric costs.

Read more about the Inflation Reduction Act

4. Invest in smart home technology

Many insurance companies also offer policy credits and discounts if you install smart home devices in your home that help minimize risk. Smart locks, water leak detection systems, and gas leak or freezing pipe sensors are all a great investment if your goal is making your home safer and saving on homeowners insurance.

Here are a few home insurance companies that offer discounts for investing in smart home technology to better protect your home and belongings:

Insurance company

Eligible smart home devices

Home insurance discount

Amica

Honeywell, Kangaroo, Nest, Ring, Samsung SmartThings, SimpliSafe, and more

Varies by device

Hippo

Kangaroo, Notion, Ring, and SimpliSafe

Up to 13%

Nationwide

Notion

Average savings of $50 per year

USAA

Honeywell and Resideo

Varies by homeowner

5. Consider wind or hail-resistant upgrades

If you live in an area at risk of severe wind or hail storms, consider investing in impact-resistant windows, storm shutters, or reinforced garage doors that can withstand hurricane-force wind speed. Protecting the exterior of your home against inclement weather and fire damage can earn you some pretty massive discounts if you live in a high-risk area.

Other home improvements that may result in a discount

Here are a few other home improvement measures that may result in cheaper home insurance premiums:

  • Installing solar panels

  • Making your home LEED certified

  • Auto water shut-off valves

  • Installing a sump pump

Inform your home insurance company of any improvements

If you recently made improvements to your house or made it safer in any way, be sure to contact your home insurance company to see if you’re eligible for any rate reductions. It’s important to note that you don’t have to wait until policy renewal to do this.

Your insurer is able to adjust your rates in the middle of your policy term. If you’ve taken steps to improve your home, make sure you’re getting credit for it with lower home insurance premiums.

Home improvements that may not save you money on home insurance

Bear in mind that not every home improvement that was made during your latest remodeling project will result in homeowners insurance savings. In fact, certain renovations like adding a room onto your home, remodeling your kitchen or bathroom, and finishing your basement will all increase your home’s replacement cost

A higher replacement cost will likely result in higher policy premiums, but you should still notify your insurer of any renovations or additions to ensure your home is fully covered.

Improvements that may raise your rates include:

  • Adding a pool

  • Installing a diving board to your pool

  • Expanding the size of your home, like building an extension

  • Adding a room

  • Building a shed or other detached structure

  • Building a fountain

  • Renovating your bathroom or kitchen

  • Adding a fireplace or chimney

  • Installing a wet-bar 

  • Getting a dog or exotic pet

  • Buying a trampoline

Insurers categorize things like pools, diving boards, and trampolines as “attractive nuisances”, meaning they increase your liability risk because there’s a chance of someone getting injured.

It’s typically suggested that you increase the amount of liability coverage in your policy if you have an attractive nuisance on your property to better financially protect yourself in the event that someone is severely injured at your home and you’re found liable.

→ Learn about 10 more factors that affect your home insurance rates

Ready to find cheaper home insurance?

We don't sell your information to third parties.

Authors

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

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Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

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Kara McGinley is a senior editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she writes about homeowners and renters insurance. As a journalist and as an insurance expert, her work and insights have been featured in Kiplinger, Lifehacker, MSN, WRAL.com, and elsewhere.

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