Purchasing homeowners insurance is one of the best ways to protect your investment. In this article, we’ll run through 5 tips that will help to make your homeowners insurance purchasing process easier. Speak with our licensed insurance agents in Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia, and Indiana today to help guide you through the purchasing process for homeowners insurance.
Know your home’s specifics
During the insurance purchasing process, there’s a few things that you’ll need to know about your home. These include basic information such as when your house was built to more detailed information such as the building material used to construct the house. Below is a list of items that will be good to know when getting a homeowners insurance quote:
- Size of Home: During the quote, you’ll be asked to provide the square footage of your house as well as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in your house.
- Year Home Was Built: You’ll also need to provide the year your home was built.
- Construction Details: Many insurance companies will ask for the details regarding your house’s construction, including the building materials that were used in the construction process.
- Pets: Your furry friend is an important part of the quoting process, and you’ll need to provide details about your pet (breed, age, weight, etc.).
- History of Homeowner’s Insurance Claims: This is a crucial element when quoting and you will need to disclose any details of homeowners claims that were filed in the last 3-5 years.
- Recent Renovations or Updates: You’ll need to disclose if you’ve performed any renovations to your home. These include additions of living space, updates to appliances and exterior landscaping to name a few. Ultimately, this helps for your agent to have a realistic estimate of your home’s value during the underwriting process.
- Continuous Coverage: You’ll need to provide details of previous policies and also provide proof of continuous coverage (unless your house was recently purchased or is a new build).
Know what is and isn’t covered in your policy
While there are typically several items that are covered under a standard homeowners policy, it’s important to note that there could be some exclusions to this. Here are a few things to look out for when reviewing your current coverage:
- Car Coverage: While your homeowner’s policy will cover any personal effects that get stolen from your car, it may not cover loss due to car theft. This is typically covered by comprehensive coverages on auto policies.
- Natural Disasters: While your policy will most likely cover a variety of natural disasters including hail, thunderstorms, windstorms and even volcanoes, there are exclusions to certain disasters. Thi can include earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods. In fact, you might even be required to retain flood coverage if you live in an active flood zone.
Ultimately, it’s important to review your current coverages to determine if you’re covered during certain events. Our agents can assist you to choose the best coverage to protect your home.
Know how much coverage you need
HO-3 policies are the most common type of insurance policies. They cover a variety of additional perils and provide broader coverage for personal property as well. HO-3 coverage has 6 different coverage areas which are:
- Your House: Often referred to as ‘dwelling coverage’, this will protect you from damage to the house and its accessories, such as your garage, fireplace, inground pool, and more.
- Personal Property: Your personal property is typically anything that is owned by you. In addition to providing protection for your personal items (such as computers, phones etc.), it also includes protection when those items aren’t at your house. Let’s say for example your phone is stolen from your car. In that case, your personal property coverage will protect you from stolen items regardless of where they are. There are limits to this however for valuable items, such as jewelry and artwork, and it’s important to make sure any higher value items have additional coverage!
- Other Structures: Which includes fences, sheds or any other structures that exist on your property – don’t forget to protect your she-shed!
- Additional Living Expenses: If one of these perils occurs and your house is uninhabitable, you will get ‘loss of use’ coverage for any additional living expenses you might incur. Your insurance company can help pay for temporary housing and basic living expenses, such as food, laundry, hotel costs and more. In these cases, your deductible isn’t applicable.
- Personal Liability: This refers to coverage in case anyone gets injured on your property, and it’s your fault. Additionally, this also provides protection if you or anyone on your policy causes damage to someone else’s property. In these cases, your policy will have you covered. Keep in mind that these coverages don’t cover injury to yourself or anyone covered in your insurance policy.
- Medical Fees: Liability insurance covers damages in the event you are sued. However, medical fees can cover injuries that others may sustain when they’re at your house. It will help to cover any medical bills they incur and is a quick way to settle injuries.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list could be covered, it’s best to refer to your current policy and coverage details below. Learn about how much homeowner’s coverage you need for your home.
Know your bundling options
Purchasing multiple insurance policies with the same provider, otherwise known as bundling, has a lot of benefits. Many insurance policies will offer discounts and savings for bundling your insurance policies. In fact, there are many benefits to bundling your insurance policies:
- Savings: The most obvious and tangible benefit to bundling your policies is saving money. In fact, bundling home and auto insurance policies provides the highest savings opportunities available. It is important to get multiple quotes, however (as we’ll discuss below) as insurance companies often employ different rating systems and discount policies. Looking at multiple quotes will help you find a policy that provides the highest savings.
- It’s Easier: A company with multiple insurance products can make it easier and faster to address insurance needs. For example, you can view these two policies in the same account online or in the company’s mobile app. Having multiple insurance policies for different providers can make it difficult to keep track of contact information, which can mean that making changes or submitting claims can be slower or more difficult. The convenience of bundling your home and auto insurance policies with one company means you can handle your insurance needs quicker.
- Less Bills: Depending on how your home insurance is paid, you might be able to combine bills, which can be helpful when you are budgeting. If you have a mortgage, your home insurance might be billed to your mortgage and paid from your escrow account. But if you own your home outright or if you do not have an escrow account, you might be paying your home insurance directly. If this is the case, you may be able to combine your policies on one billing account. This means that you will only receive one bill each billing cycle — whether you pay monthly, quarterly, semiannually, or annually.
Shop around, weigh your options
As with most types of insurance, you can choose to shop around for better prices. You may be able to find another company that offers similar insurance at a lower price. Our agency can work with you to shop for trusted providers, such as Nationwide, Progressive and Safeco to get you the best quote! Speak with our licensed insurance agents in Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia, and Indiana today to learn more about the different types of coverage available to protect your investment!
Disclaimer: This blog post is meant for general informational purposes only and may not reflect your specific policy.
About the Author: Alekha is an expert in the insurance space and has been with the Malhotra & Assoc. Insurance team since its inception. Alekha works to provide expertly written and researched content for the Maholtra & Assoc. Insurance agency.