A plethora of information goes into deciding your rates in property insurance: your credit score, loss history, location, structure type, and much more. On top of all that, each company weighs each of the factors differently. However, one of the easiest ways to save money with any company is having a thorough update history.
An Update History is an itemized list of all updates/major repairs that have happened since the initial construction of the building. All insurance policies that cover buildings, personal or commercial, will ask you for any known updates, and the more you know, the better the rate/coverages you'll get. Not everything will qualify for discounts, but the following items almost always will:
One of the largest factors in getting a preferred rate is the year the roof was replaced. An old, worn-out roof increases the chances of a loss occurring tremendously, so the newer the roof, the better. Also, many insurers give a discount for hail-resistant shingles, so replace your roof with certified hail-resistant shingles when yours are worn out. With the roof, make notes of any repairs done to it as well and the date it happened.
The building's electrical system can play a big part in rating. During the 60’s to 70’s, copper prices soared, so instead of copper, they used aluminium wiring…with disastrous effects. Aluminium and copper are highly reactive when mixed, and their pairing has been the cause of numerous fires. Another very important item is if your building is using a fuse box or a breaker box. Breaker boxes replaced the fuse box because fuses created many hassles and safety hazards (read: fire hazards). So if your building has copper wiring and a breaker box, you’ll get a much better rate. Note that some insurers won't even insure buildings with aluminum wiring and/or a fuse box!
Way back, someone decided to use lead pipes for plumbing before we found out about all the 'fun' side-effects. Then copper piping used to be the norm, but as we all know from Lady Liberty, copper and water don’t exactly play nice together. Today, homes are made with plastics and/or non-oxidizing alloy plumbing. If your home has had its plumbing replaced, a discount might be available. Again, make notes of sizable repairs and replacements done, along with the date completed.
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning units are another area where you can receive a preferred rate. When you have these replaced, always note if it gas, oil, or electric, and the type it is (Heat Pump, Forced Air, Central Air, etc.). Like the roof and plumbing, keep a schedule of repairs and maintenance done to the HVAC systems.
For each one of these, save receipts that verify when the update occurred and what was done. Keep everything in a file, and make a simple list of updates for quick reference. Also, when buying an older home, make sure the seller has all the update information!