Last Updated Apr 22, 2010 1:31 AM EDT
Did you know that houses are the biggest pollutants on earth? They pump far more CO2 into the air than cars.
Did you know that 2 million trees were killed in order to supply all the forms needed for real estate deals in the last couple of years? Not only that, but millions of gallons of dirty water was created.
I learned these green facts at the AFIRE conference I'm at this week in Scottsdale, AZ.
And they reminded me of a conversation I had several months ago with some folks from Travelers Insurance Company.
Sean Meehan is a second vice president of national property for Travelers. His job is to develop new products and to introduce new features and coverages for existing products. Their corporate research shows that consumers have fully embraced the green movement.
Consumers are now actively looking for companies that offer a green strategy and prefer to do business with them. (And it won't surprise you to learn that younger consumers have a stronger green affiliation than their parents.)
Understanding that green matters has led Travelers to explore green insurance policies and endorsements. In fact, Meehan told me that the company had begun to develop a package of green incentives for consumers. In other words, if you want to save money on your insurance premiums, you should go green.
Over the last few years, Travelers has been selling a discounted automobile policy for hybrid car owners. Green car? Green motorcycle or scooter? Green insurance. And, you pay less. Green consumers tend to be a more conscientious lot, the survey says, and so they would be less risky to insure. Ka-ching!
"An automobile policy on a hybrid car could provide a discount up to 10 percent," Meehan explains.
The popularity of the product has led Travelers to explore giving a discount to those homeowners who purchase LEED-certified houses. How much will you save on your insurance premium? Maybe another 5 percent, Meehan said.
Because of the interest from consumers, Travelers is introducing green endorsements that you can add to an existing homeowners insurance policy. How does it work? If your house burns down, the policy will pay to do a green rebuild, Meehan explained. While having that green rebuild endorsement will add a few percentage points to your policy, consumers feel it's worth the money in case they have to rebuild.
Meehan said the company is focusing on helping consumers to get bigger discounts without skimping on their homeowners insurance policy coverage.
"Make sure you're getting all of the discounts you're entitled to," Meehan said, including:
- Raise the deductible and lower the premium.
- Buy as many insurance policies from the same company, such as automobile, homeowners, and an umbrella liability policy.
- Keep your credit score as high as possible.
- Prefabulous + Sustainable: Why Prefab, Green Homes Are The Future Of Home Building In the U.S.
- Prefab and Sustainable - Why You Should Build A Prefab, Energy-Efficient Home
- Tax Credits For Making Your Home Energy Efficient
Ilyce R. Glink is the author of several books, including 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask and Buy, Close, Move In!. She blogs about money and real estate at ThinkGlink.com and tries very hard to be green (although her children, Alex and Michael, don't really like to take out the recycling).