Every Alberta homeowner is familiar with the annual renewal requirements of their home insurance policy. However, many still neglect to make comprehensive assessments of their property come renewal time, regardless. It can be because of being pressed for time or simply a lack of awareness, but assessments are an important part of your due diligence as a property owner. In addition to performing a careful inventory of your home’s valuable contents, you should also consider your yard and exterior elements.
Coverage for Landscaping Elements
You may not realize it, but your Alberta home insurance policy provides built-in protection for landscaping elements like shrubs, trees, hedges and gardens, as long as any damage to these features was caused by what’s known as a “covered peril.” In insurance terms, a “peril” is a potentially destructive event that could cause property damage. Common examples of perils include fire, vandalism and extreme weather.
However, every type of coverage does come with some responsibilities. For instance, it is your responsibility to keep your trees and shrubs maintained properly. In the event of severe weather, which is common in Alberta and is affecting home insurance rates – if a limb from your tree falls and damages your neighbour’s property, then you could be liable. It is always a good idea to know your property lines, and be proactive about preventing such events. If you have an aging tree that is in danger of falling over, you should have it professionally removed, especially if one of your neighbours alerts you to the potential for damage. Failure to take preventive action can result in the nullification of covered peril coverage, which could leave you on the hook for any damage caused by negligence.
The Importance of Curb Appeal
Keeping your yard and your home’s exterior in tip-top shape does a lot more than just mitigate your possible liability risks; it can also greatly increase the resale value of your home. As any experienced real estate professional will tell you, curb appeal is one of the most important elements of a marketable property. In essence, curb appeal is the proverbial “wow factor” a prospective buyer experiences when looking at your home for the first time.
Curb appeal is so powerful that a few simple, inexpensive upgrades like front yard landscaping and a new coat of paint around windows and doors can add thousands of dollars in value to your home. The more time and money you’re willing to invest, the greater your potential payoff could be.
Real estate experts also stress the value of simple and easy-to-maintain but attractive landscaping elements, especially in the front yard. Some estimates suggest that front yard landscaping can boost your resale value by as much as seven per cent, or $35,000 if your home is valued at $500,000 or higher. Given that it will only cost you a fraction of that money to create the added value, it’s an investment well worth making.
Add Value with Exterior Features
Judiciously chosen exterior features can add further worth to your home. According to a recent study, a wooden deck is the most likely to generate an optimal return on your investment. More specifically, pressure-treated, weatherized wooden decks recovered an average of 85.4 percent of their construction cost for homeowners, making them the single most worthwhile project, from a financial standpoint and covered by the study.
While actual returns vary according to the size, scope and quality of the projects, as well as the preferences of prospective buyers, other features like backyard fountains, gazebos and trellises can also boost resale value. In large part, the presence of these features suggests that the property has been well-maintained by the current owners, making a more favourable impression on buyers. While you will never match the initial investment you make in most backyard landscape features, they will make a difference when it comes time to sell your home.
Finally, remember that a well-placed mature tree provides vital shade that can significantly diminish energy consumption. That’s the reason trees are cited as the single most valuable type of plant to have in your yard, so keep this in mind if you’re shopping for a home or thinking about putting yours on the market.
Alberta Home Insurance: Trust Lane’s for Outstanding Coverage at Affordable Rates
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Alberta-based brokerage. With competitive rates, value-added service and industry-leading claims support, Lane’s is always here to help. The brokers at Lane’s work for you, not the insurance companies, so you’re always guaranteed the best plans at the lowest rates. Remember, too, that you can bundle your home and auto insurance and save as much as 20 per cent!