The home insurance policy is one of the most misunderstood policies that an individual can purchase. Many changes to this type of insurance policy have occurred through the years to expand what is covered and also to clarify what the policy excludes. Our dedicated protection team will guide you through this selection process to make sure you are comfortable with the various provisions and coverages within the homeowners’ policy.
To be very clear, the ultimate purpose of homeowners insurance is to enable the homeowner to rebuild his or her home and life, even in the event of total destruction.
A good homeowners insurance policy will cover:
- Your residence
- Any detached structures, like garages or garden sheds
- Your personal belongings
- Additional living expenses in the event of a loss
- Personal liability
- Medical expenses to others who may be injured on your property
Our office will provide you with the most comprehensive policy available on the market today which will help to put your life back in order in the event of a catastrophic loss.
Not all home insurance policies are alike. To be sure, there are many insurance companies in the market today that will quote an inexpensive policy but most of them are only giving you the “bare bones” coverage. When quoting your home insurance premium, we will use a full replacement cost valuation to be sure that you can replace your home in the event of a total loss.
We will also make sure you are clear about any areas of the policy that have limitations and exclusions. Items such as earthquakes, landslides and floods are excluded from the policy but may be purchased separately.
Other items such as jewelry, coins and collectible items have limitations in the policy but can be added by providing appraisals and paying a small additional premium.
Discounts are available for newer homes, central station alarm systems and higher deductibles.
As you can see, our protection team understands the way home insurance works. Let us identify the kind of policy and coverage you need while working hard to provide you with the best value.
Save on Home Insurance
11 Ways to Save Money On Your Home Insurance
Now that you know the basics of your home insurance policy, here are 11 ways you can pay less. In many cases, you can get the same level of coverage for fewer dollars.
- One Insurer, Multiple Policies — Do you have an automobile insurance policy? If so, is it with the same insurance company that provides your homeowners insurance? If the answer’s no, you’re paying too much — for both policies. Almost every insurance company that sells home insurance wants its policyholders to also buy auto insurance from them. So, they offer “multi-policy discounts” to entice you. Usually, these discounts are at least 10% — and some insurers apply the discounts to both the auto and the homeowners/renters policy.
- Raise Your Deductible — The deductible is the amount you pay before insurance kicks in if you have a claim. For example, if you have a $250 deductible and you file a claim for $1,000 in damage to your home, you pay the first $250 and your insurer pays the balance, $750. The higher your deductible is the less you pay for your policy. Of course, you risk more out-of-pocket if you have a claim, but you save on your premium each and every year.
- New Is Better — Insurers really like newer homes. That’s because it’s less likely something will go wrong with the electrical, heating and plumbing systems. In addition, the structure itself is in better shape. Insurers offer discounts of as much as 8% to 15% if your residence is new.
- Location, Location, Location — Where do you live? If your home is near a fire station, you will pay less for your home insurance. If your neighborhood has fire hydrants you will pay less for your home insurance. If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, your lender may require you to buy a flood insurance policy. That will likely cost you hundreds of dollars a year. Where you live will impact the cost of your home policy.
- Insure the House, Not the Land — Nobody is going to steal your land. Fire and high winds won’t “destroy” it. And your home policy doesn’t cover your land anyway. So, don’t include the value of your land when deciding how much insurance you need. Have your agent run a replacement cost estimate to determine what it will cost to rebuild your home – and other structures – if they’re destroyed. The market value of your land doesn’t matter. If you include the value of the land, you’re paying too much.
- Don’t Insure What You Don’t Have – Your home policy includes an automatic protection limit for your personal property. This amount IS adjustable. If you don’t need all that protection you can lower it to save some money. But be careful. You may also need more. Your agent should help you with a quick personal property calculation. Also, pay particular attention to items subject to special limits (as described above), items such as jewelry and computer equipment.
- Being Safe Pays You Back — Smoke detectors, burglar alarms and deadbolt locks are usually worth discounts of at least 5% on your home policy. You may get even bigger discounts, 15% to 20%, if you install a sophisticated sprinkler system or an alarm system that rings at the police station or a security company. However, not all of these systems qualify for discounts with all insurers. Before you install one, check with your insurer to find out what type of system qualifies for a discount and how much you would save on your premium if you installed the system.
- Where There’s Smoke . . . — There’s fire. Smoking (unattended cigarette butts, etc.) produces more than 23,000 residential fires in this country each year. That’s why some insurers have discounts if all the residents in a home are nonsmokers.
- Don’t Jump Around — If you’ve been with an insurer for a while and you like that insurer, stay put. Some insurance companies automatically have discounts for policyholders who have been with the companies for a certain number of years. For example, 5% for at least three years, 10% for at least five years.
- Monitor Your Automatic Inflation Adjustment – Virtually every home policy includes an automatic inflation adjustment every year. This means the company automatically increases your Dwelling Limit every year. The idea is to keep up with the rising costs of rebuilding your home and make sure your insurance will completely rebuild your home. That’s a good thing! But over time this automatic inflation adjustment can get out of whack with reality. If you think your Dwelling Limit is too high, ask your agent to run a new replacement cost estimate. You may be able to lower your costs while still being fully protected.
- Good Credit = Lower Rates – Most companies these days use your credit history as part of their pricing structure. People with better credit will pay less for their insurance in most cases. So, not only is improving your credit rating a good idea by itself, it may also reduce the cost of your insurance.