Once you’ve purchased a home, the next step is to protect it. Though home insurance is an essential requirement for getting a mortgage, it is also your first and greatest line of defense in the event of loss or damage to your home. Therefore, every home should have an insurance coverage. However, what do you need to know when searching for home insurance quotes?
The differences in each kind of policy can be confusing and with so many insurance firms selling home insurance in the US, it is difficult to know what you are getting when it comes to home insurance quotes. Therefore, here are ten things you should know when figuring out your home insurance policy.
1. What Does the Insurance Cover?
Irrespective of the type, all policies will cover damage or loss to your home and many structures, such as sheds or garages, which are on the property. In addition, the policy will cover your private property, like clothing, as well as extra living expenses (should your home be deemed unsuitable to live, as a result of a claim).
Ultimately, your home insurance offers legal liability coverage that protects you from lawsuits. For example, if a mail carrier trips and falls on your front steps and tries to sue to cover their medical expenses, your home insurance will always cover that.
2. Different Kinds of Home Insurance
Home insurance coverage often comes in three main categories: basic, broad and comprehensive.
- Basic coverage works for individuals who need to save a little cash up front. Nonetheless, it only covers damage or loss claims for named perils -a chance event which must be listed on your insurance policy for it to be covered.
- Broad insurance offers all risk insurance – so your home is protected from several accidental and unexpected events – but again, only named perils for your properties.
- Comprehensive coverage is the most inclusive package and protects your belongings and your home from all risks, except where specifically excluded on your policy (natural disasters are a lot of the time not covered). This is the most popular type of home insurance sold by brokers.
3. Many Factors Determine your Home Insurance Cost
Each insurance company will analyze and examine a series of factors to determine what premium to charge for your home insurance. Some of the factors include: age of the home, location, kind of heating source, primary use of the home, type and the age of electrical system, proximity to fire station or fire hydrant, age of plumbing, proximity to some other business (like gas stations), your claims history, and the cost to rebuild your exact home.
4. Seek Out Discounts
Want to lower your home insurance costs even further? Then look for the discounts. If you were planning to install a monitored alarm system then ensure to tell your broker, as this could easily translate into a discount on your home insurance quote.
If you are a non-smoker and have monitored (otherwise known as central) fire alarms installed in your home, ensure your agent knows that as well, as it can mean extra savings on your premiums.
5. Don’t Switch Firms Mid-year
If you revoke your home insurance coverage midway through your policy year, you could be hit with a cancellation penalty. To avoid this charge, ensure to wait until the renewal time before switching insurance companies.
Also, several insurance companies are now offering loyalty discounts, so if you stay with them for five years, for instance, you may be eligible for a significantly lowered rate.
6. You Can Lower your Premiums
There are some effective ways of lowering your yearly home insurance costs, without having to lower your coverage. For instance, suggest a credit check to your home insurance provider. Insurance companies believe people who can manage their credit properly are less likely to burn them with a huge claim.
Another good option is to raise your deductible. A deductible is part of a claim you pay before the insurance coverage kicks in and pays the rest. The higher the deductible, the more you’ve to pay out before your insurance kicks in. Standard deductibles are $500, $1,000, or $2,500. When making this choice, ensure that you’ll have the cash in the bank to cover the deductible.
7. Bundle your Insurance Policies
You need to consider bundling your insurance for additional discounts (and some other benefits!). By moving your vehicle and home insurance to a single company, you can save significantly.
Several insurance firms provide discounts to clients who have many policies with them—you can expect a 5-20% discount, based on what and how much insurance you bundle with your insurance provider.
8. Pay Annually
Want to lower or remove the fees associated with your insurance premiums? Consider paying yearly instead of monthly. Many insurance providers will charge more administrative fees for the monthly payments, fees you remove if you pay your premiums yearly.
9. Insure the Correct Amount
Many people underestimate the cost of replacing all their belongings. But some homeowners are also paying for excessive coverage. The easiest way to know how much you have is to stock take.
By documenting what you possess—either by keeping a log or keeping receipts —you will know precisely what it’ll cost to replace your personal items. Just remember that you will have to include everything in this list: from clothes to pantry items, to appliances, to goods which are stored and used infrequently.
10. Shop Around
Nowadays, everyone wants to jump online and get a home insurance quote—and there is plenty of firms quoting online, but do not limit your comparison shopping to only the computer. As such, consider using all online quotes as a guide and then call an independent insurance broker.
The challenge in comparison shopping, when you are looking for home insurance quotes, is that this kind of coverage isn’t standardized in a way which allows for easy and quick comparisons. That is where a broker can be of assistance. By talking to your agent about the coverage you require, they can assist you in finding the best policy at an affordable price.
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