Going green is a common trend rooted in environmental protection and conservation. People around the world are beginning to consider their impact on the air, water, land, and life around them. This awareness also encourages them to reevaluate the way that they live. Recycling, conserving water, and utilizing renewable energy sources are just a few ways that we can do our part to reduce our carbon footprint and protect the planet that we call home.
Playing a role in protecting the planet is an excellent feeling. But did you know that you can be rewarded for your eco-friendly choices even when shopping for insurance? Companies are starting to think about the way they can help out those who adopt green practices to help the environment. When it comes to insurance, being eco-friendly can also result in more green in your pocket. Some insurance companies offer discounts for those who have taken steps to outfit their homes with environmentally friendly materials and features.
LEED Certified Home Discounts
The US Green Building Council issues Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications for homes that meet specific, environmentally conscious design standards. There are different certification levels, but in general, homes that adhere to the criteria include:
- Low-flow plumbing fixtures and toilets, which reduces water waste.
- Insulation and sealing that keeps home heating and cooling costs lower.
- Toxin-free materials that don’t release harmful chemicals in the air keep you and other home occupants healthy.
- Moisture controls that reduce mold, mildew, and other allergens.
If you have a LEED-certified home, ask your insurance company if they offer any discounts for homeowners’ insurance. Some companies are known to give a 5% discount off of premiums.
Alternative Energy Source Coverage
Generating your electricity through solar, wind, or geothermal means can reduce or eliminate your reliance on power from other sources. However, running your electric system can come with its own set of downsides and expenses.
Most traditional homeowners’ insurance policies don’t cover specific items like wind generators or battery cells that might power your home. Insurance policies for alternative energy go beyond these typical homeowners’ insurance and protect you should disaster cause you to lose power. Depending on your coverage, these policies can cover the costs of temporarily purchasing power from a power company, getting your system back up and running, and any other related utility inspection charges.
If you’re living in an older home, it can be expensive to purchase eco-friendly systems and do a green remodel. Some companies will give you the option to rebuild with eco-friendly materials should you experience a loss or damage. While this may add a little bit to your monthly premiums, the insurance companies will cover added expenses to replace the damaged items with energy-efficient or eco-friendly options. Because “green” appliances and material are typically more expensive, the small price that you pay now could potentially save you thousands later.
If you're thinking about making your existing home a bit more eco-friendly, it might be a good idea to research home equity loans in your area. These loans tap into the value of your home and can be a great way to make your home improvement project quite literally pay for itself.
Green Auto Insurance
While most people think of homes when they think of green insurance, this approach can also extend to your vehicle. Insurance companies will also give you a break if you’re driving cars that are better for the environment.
Hybrid and Electric Car Discounts
Byproducts from combustion in gasoline and diesel engines dirty our air and are a significant source of pollution. Electric cars cut out the need for gas entirely. At the same time, a hybrid vehicle can significantly improve fuel economy, allowing you to go farther on a single tank of gas. Many companies offer discounted premiums if you drive a hybrid or electric vehicle.
Are you still driving a traditional gasoline-powered vehicle? A green replacement coverage option would help cover the cost of a hybrid car should your current car get totaled.
Alternative Fuel Discounts
Gas, diesel, and electricity aren’t the only things that fuel your car. Biodiesel, compressed natural gas, liquified natural gas, hydrogen, and ethanol are all alternative fuels that burn cleaner than petroleum products. Driving a vehicle that uses an alternative fuel may make you eligible for a discount.
The pay-as-you-drive model has become increasingly popular in the insurance industry. To do this, insurance providers will give you a device that measures how far and how often you drive. Usage-based pricing encourages customers to drive less, carpool, and use other modes of transportation when possible, therefore reducing the number of people on the road. It also decreases the chances that you’ll be involved in an accident.
Green Business Insurance
Business owners can save, too, when they make green decisions for their business.
Green Rebuilds for Businesses
Like green homeowners insurance, green business insurance would allow a business to rebuild using green materials in the case of an incident resulting in a loss. Even if you’ve set up shop in an older building, some environmentally sound choices may include:
- New lighting fixtures that use less energy
- Low-flow faucets and toilets
- Non-toxic paints and low-odor carpeting
- Energy-efficient HVAC systems
Green Vehicle Fleet
If your business has a vehicle fleet, you might be eligible for discounts on your business auto insurance if you use hybrid or electric cars.
It pays to be kind to the world around us, even when you shop insurance for your home, auto, and business. Always be sure to check with your provider on any additional perks or discounts they may offer for going green, even if they don’t advertise it. You may also want to ask your provider about smaller discount options like paperless billing. Even small changes like this can add up over time.
If you haven’t already adopted any of these eco-friendly practices, consider the savings and advantages next time you’re looking for a new home or car. Even small changes go a long way to bring you savings in the long run.