How remodeling your home may get you big discounts on homeowners insurance

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Homeowners often think about resale value when considering home improvements. But if you're not looking to sell anytime soon, there could be another good reason to remodel: savings on your homeowners' insurance.

In a partnership with Consumer Reports, 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney reveals the fixes that can get you big discounts on premiums.

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Replacing the roof can be one of the most expensive house repairs. This one estimated at about $30,000. "It's a significant upfront cost," said Thomas Kelly, a homeowner.

But contractor Brendan Rogers says a sound roof prevents even more expensive issues like rot and structural damage that can be caused by water leaks, and insurance companies know that. "A better roof will reduce the insurance claims drastically," he said.

That's why replacing an old roof can really pay off in home insurance discounts - ranging from 5 percent to a whopping 35 percent depending on where you live, what kind of roofing materials you choose, and your insurance company. "No surprise, insurance companies are looking for upgrades that will improve safety and security," said Tobie Stanger, Consumer Reports Money Editor. "So, it's worth considering a home security system, you might save on premiums," she said.

Discounts may be more likely to be offered for home security systems that are connected to an outside monitoring service.

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"Any type of accidental misuse of an outlet, these will trip," said Sergio Guzman, a contractor. Upgrading your electrical system to safer standards is not glamorous, but it's also a definite plus with insurance companies.

"We found one company that would give up to 8 percent off your premium if you upgraded your electrical and plumbing," said Stanger.

Add in a stationary generator to keep everything humming in a power outage, and you might also get a discount.

And do not forget simple precautions like smoke detectors. They are typically required by code. But certain fire and smoke alarms could get you a 2 to 6 percent insurance discount by installing them. Check with your insurance company to see what discounts are offered. The individual breaks may be small, but taken together, they could add up to significant savings.

Click here for a look at more stories by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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