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Three Fire Safety Strategies That Will Reduce Your Homeowners' Insurance Premiums

If you are going to be purchasing your first home soon, you're probably already thinking of good ways to keep home ownership costs as minimal as possible. Naturally, you'll want a good insurance policy that will protect your investment in the event that your home is damaged or destroyed, but there are nonetheless many ways that you can keep your premiums low, including minimizing the risk that your home will be damaged by fire. Following are three strategies to keep your home as safe as possible in the event of fire.

Use Fire-Resistant Siding and Roofing Materials

Fiber cement siding has a Class A fire rating, meaning that it can withstand up to four hours of extreme heat before the structure of the home starts to become seriously affected. Insurance companies like this because this allows local fire departments plenty of time to arrive on the scene, minimizing damage to the home and its contents. You can also use fiber cement shingles as roofing material -- the roof is one of the most important parts of the home to protect when implementing fire resistant strategies because fire often spreads by airborne embers. Roofing material such as slate and metal also provides good fire protection.

Remove Combustible Vegetation

Dead and dying trees and shrubs should be removed because they can easily provide the fuel that fire needs in order to grow and spread. You should never allow branches to overhang the roof of your home, and avoid massing trees and shrubs together, especially if you're using highly flammable vegetation such as juniper or pine. Avoid using foundation plantings and always keep your lawn well-watered and mowed -- fire spreads rapidly over dry grass. Don't allow piles of dead leaves or other vegetative debris to remain in your yard, and be sure to keep gutters free of pine needles, leaves, and other material that may dry out and cause a fire hazard. Diligence in this department may reduce your insurance payments.

Use Noncombustible Hardscaping Materials

Instead of a wooden deck that can easily catch fire that will spread to the rest of your home, consider a concrete, cobblestone, or brick patio instead, particularly if you're going to be using the area for outdoor barbecuing. Consider replacing wooden gates and fencing with those made from iron or other metals, and use non-organic mulching materials such as pebbles and oyster shells in flower beds and vegetable gardens rather than highly flammable bark mulch. 

Your insurance agent will be able to help you craft more strategies for keeping your homeowners' insurance coverage premiums modest and affordable.