When applying for home insurance I was asked:
- Is the house visible from the road?
- Is the house visible from neighbors' houses?
How are the answers to these questions likely to change the insurance rates?
Personal Finance & Money Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who want to be financially literate. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
Every security pamphlet passed out by police, locksmiths, et al will suggest things like installing outdoor lights, trimming hedges fairly low, and so on -- all with the underlying thought that it makes intruders easier to see, permitting neighbors and passers-by to notice suspicious activity and report it to the police. This also has the direct effect of making the place feel riskier to attack. (You don't need perfect security, you just need good enough that the would-be burglar decides he'd better try elsewhere.)
I would presume the same rationale is behind these questions. Independent of burglary, a house that's visible is more likely to be noticed if it catches fire or has a roof collapse under snow load or otherwise suffers an emergency -- and the sooner such things are reported, the less damage they're likely to do.
Good neighbors make lower insurance bills.
I do not have home owner's insurance but I think I know why they would ask these questions that would ultimately affect your rates:
Is the house visible from the road?
This may be in case of a natural disaster or fire. Is your home accessible to the police or emergency crews. The more accessible your home is to in case of an emergency, the easier it would be to salvage.
Is the house visible from neighbors' houses?
Your neighbors can be the insurance companies' insurance so to speak. Keshlam brought up the security factor in which if your home owner's insurance covers personal belongings in the home, your neighbors can help deter burglars.
But also it can be a "double-edged" sword with neighbors because sometimes your neighbor or yourself may do something that may cause damage to your house or your neighbors' in which a claim would need to be made.
The questions about visibility from the road or neighbors property are related to other issues that the insurance company can answer themselves via accessing a database.
They can calculate where the property is in relation to the nearest fire hydrants. They can measure both from the edge of the property, or from the center of the main structure. They can even know the size of the water main that feeds the hydrant.
They can also know from the type of house: single family, duplex, townhouse, multi-family structure; how likely a fire will spread from a neighbors unit to yours.
What they can't know is how landscaping and terrain change those equations. Less visibility delays response time. It even can impact the time between the start of the incident and when it is reported. They take the answers from the visibility questions and feed it into their risk model to try and estimate likelihood of specific incidents and the possible range of damages.