7 Hidden Benefits of Sustainable Living
This blog often details ways to lower home insurance premiums by promoting a safer lifestyle, such as installing smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, deadbolt locks and more. With Earth Day around the corner, we thought we’d discuss how some major insurance carriers are now rewarding green homeowners and drivers for their earth-friendly initiatives. Check out these suggestions for ways the green choices you’ve made are – or should be – preserving your bank account.
What you might not know about carpooling
You’ve made the responsible choice to carpool to work with a friend. You enjoy the company, for one thing. But there’s more. You’ve also cut the amount of carbon emissions you and your friend generate and the amount of fuel you use. Here’s why it’s important: In a single year, the average car in the U.S. emits almost 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide and guzzles about 500 gallons of gasoline, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. You’re reducing emissions and saving money on gas.
Here’s what you might not have considered. Most top insurance providers reward responsible policyholders who drive less. Carriers use a number of factors to determine the risk you pose and the rate you pay. One is how much you drive. If carpooling means you put less than 12,000 miles on your vehicle each year, make sure your insurance agent knows it and that your premium reflects it. Other ways to help reduce the mileage on your vehicle include walking or riding a bicycle whenever possible for short trips. The additional reward from this also is valuable: You’ll be healthier.
The ‘other’ advantage of your hybrid car
You bought a hybrid car because they’re as much as two-thirds more fuel-efficient than conventional vehicles. That’s a lot of gas and emissions you’re saving right there. Plus, many top insurers believe hybrid owners are more responsible drivers, and they consider the cars safer – at least in part because they generally weigh more than similar conventional vehicles. The result: Some providers offer hybrid car insurance discounts of as much as 10%.
Stop smoking: You can clean up three ways
Did you know that three cigarettes can produce 10 times the pollution of a diesel engine during the time they’re lit? With 1.1 billion smokers in the world today, the consequences of smoking on the environment are staggering. Plus, it’s common for smokers to toss their cigarettes out the car window when they’re done, where the butts take about 25 years to completely decompose. Quitting means you’re helping to clean the air and the land around you.
But you also can clean up another way. In addition to the obvious environmental and health benefits of not smoking, most insurance companies consider homeowners who are completely tobacco-free to be lower risks for house fires and other perils. As a result, nonsmokers often receive discounts of up to 20% on their premiums.
Choosing cozy is really living large
It’s simple math: The smaller your home, the less energy it requires. You don’t have to have the largest home on the block. A smaller home means you spend less to heat, cool and power your place. You also don’t require as much dwelling coverage. That’s the portion of your home insurance that pays to repair or rebuild your home after a covered disaster. Your dwelling coverage should be equal to the amount it would take to rebuild your home completely. The less it costs to do this, the lower your premium.
All systems on go
You updated your electrical and heating and cooling systems so they’d use less energy. In doing this, you also reduced your risk of a costly failure that could lead to fire, water damage and other expensive problems. Make sure your insurance carrier knows: Many offer premium discounts of up to 20% for homeowners who live in a new home or have invested in new systems during the past 10 years.
You’ve seen the light on solar panels
The solar panels you installed are a smart choice for sustainable living. In addition to drastically lowering electricity costs, the panels could help some homeowners qualify for an insurance discount of as much as 3%. Even if your insurance provider does not offer this discount, make sure it knows about your solar panels – the improvements could increase the replacement value of your home – so that you don’t run into coverage issues in the event of damage.
Get the full benefit of the remote advantage
You cut your heating and cooling costs by using SmartHome technology to control your thermostat when you’re not home. Most of these systems typically include or are part of monitored security systems. Why does that matter? Burglars are three times less likely to target homes with security systems; as a result, many home insurance carriers will reward policyholders with a discount of as much as 10%.