Location, type of home can affect your premium

Summer to-do lists are often filled with road trips, swimming pools, vacation adventures and taking in the great outdoors. However, for many Canadians, the warm-weather season means even bigger plans - such as buying a new home.

Purchasing a new property, especially for the first time, presents many questions. After separating the must-haves from the wish-list, finding the right real estate agent, and calculating how much you can afford, getting insurance for the new home is often left to the end, or only considered after the papers are signed and the move-in plans are underway.

"The type and location of home you buy can have a significant impact on your insurance premium," says Wayne Ross, an insurance expert at Aviva Canada.

"By looking at a new home through the eyes of your insurance company, you could save thousands in home insurance premiums."

Ross offers four simple tips to keep insurance in mind when shopping for your dream home:

Explore the location: Neighbourhoods with lower crime rates and that are close to fire stations are kinder to your insurance premiums.

Think warm thoughts: Check out the heating system installed in the home. Oil tanks can cause expensive environmental damage if they leak while gas furnaces and electric heat are much less risky. If you heat with oil, you'll likely pump more money into your premium.

Some things are better new: Houses with more recent heating, electrical and plumbing systems are less susceptible to fire and other dangers, and result in lower premiums. Also search for an updated roof and look for signs of wear and tear.

Examine your extras: Adding upgrades such as swimming pools or hot tubs can increase your chance of liability - and therefore your insurance costs.

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