Depending on where you live and what this winter has been like, your radiators are probably now switched on – and maybe have been for the last couple of months.
Heating keeps you, your family, your pets and your plants comfortable, and you may be aware that having the heating on at least a little will help the overall health of your home when it comes to preventing mould and burst pipes.
But did you know your heating system can affect your home insurance policy? Read on to find out how, and what you can do to reduce the likelihood of making a claim – and, consequently, keep your premium in check.
Why does my home insurance company care about my heating system?
Your home insurance looks at how you heat your home to help measure the risk of insuring your property. Depending on what heating system you have, the type of fuel used can increase the frequency or severity of a claim.
For example, with oil-based heating systems there is the chance of an oil leak – which is extremely costly to clean up and disastrous to your garden, especially if the oil leaks into your water and soil.
Why could the heating system I use increase my home insurance premiums?
Put simply, faulty or mismanaged heating systems are one of the leading causes of house fires.
With this in mind, it’s no wonder that this can have an effect on your home insurance rates, especially if you have an outdated system.
Not only that, but ineffective heating could cause pipes to freeze during winter, which leads to cracks, bursts and leaks which may cause terrible damage to your home and possessions.
Solid fuel can be a lot more dangerous than electricity or gas, and wood stoves, fireplaces, and even oil based heating systems could increase your exposure to fire risk and may cause you to pay more on your home insurance premiums.
Get it solved – the big solution
The best, but most expensive, way of solving this problem is – unsurprisingly – replacing your entire heating system from the boiler to the radiators, and everything in between.
Of course, this isn’t something you’re going to do simply to reduce your premiums; you’ll do it to save money, achieve a better BER rating (which could increase the value of your home), enjoy a more comfortable home and to be more environmentally friendly.
But if you were to do all this, well, the lower home insurance premiums would certainly serve as icing on the cake – and would be one of many ways through which you’d recoup your investment.
Always tell your insurance company about any changes you plan to make to your home, and it’s a great idea to ask them if they have any recommendations or advice to keep home insurance premiums to a minimum.
Other things to do
If swapping out your entire heating system is a no-go for now, there are other smaller, but no less important tasks you can get done to ensure your heating system is efficient and safe.
- Clean your chimneys. Cosy fireplace or wood burning stove? Soot and debris can catch fire easily. Get in a professional chimney sweep to do the job, and also check your chimney for birds and small animals escaping the cold.
- Insulate pipes. Water expands when it freezes, and if ice bursts your pipes, this can cause leaks and water damage to your property. Insulate outdoor taps and store hosepipes and sprinkler systems; clad interior pipes and turn on taps a little – just a steady drip, and only during cold snaps – to keep water flowing.
- Update windows and insulation. Keeping your attic snug and stopping heat escaping from windows by investing in double glazing or insulated curtains will stop you turning up the heat as much – which will lessen the risk of fire or flood, and lower your bills.
Basic home heating safety
Of course keeping home insurance premiums down is always good, but even the most up-to-date heating systems can be dangerous if used improperly. Always observe basic safety to ensure you never have to make a claim – or, worse, to keep your home and family safe.
Keep flammable items at least three feet away from heating equipment like furnaces, fireplaces or portable space heaters and put up guards for pets and kids around open fires. Never use your oven to heat your home, and plug only one heater into an individual socket at a time.
Always turn off space heaters and blow out candles when leaving any room, and test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms monthly.
If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove, make sure ashes are cool before putting them into a covered, metal container – and ashes should never be put into a plastic container. Keep the containers a safe distance from your home (or use the ash in the garden as a natural fertiliser, provided you’re sufficiently far from the back door!).
Never forget heating your home is an essential part of property safety and maintenance, so keeping it in good working order should always be a priority.
Heating systems can affect your home insurance policy more than you think – but more important than keeping costs low is keeping you, your property and your family safe this winter.
Talk to us in QuoteMe.ie with any of your home insurance queries.
If you have any questions regarding your home insurance or if you have queries around your current or potentially new heating systems please feel free to call us on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051 and talk to one of our Insurance experts. They are on hand to answer all your questions. You can also get an instant home insurance quote online. We compare the market to get you the right cover for your specific needs. We look forward to hearing from you.