How to Shop for Home Insurance Online: Buying Guide & Tips
Shopping for home insurance is one of those tasks that you shouldn’t keep until the last minute, especially if you are buying a home. The last thing you want to do is make rash decisions when it comes to choosing your home insurance.
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Keep reading to learn the top tips for shopping for home insurance.
Know the Home’s Condition
The insurance agent will need to know several things about the home before insuring it. Basic information like the age of the home and its size are standard questions. But, you’ll also need to answer questions on the type of roof, type of electrical, type of plumbing, as a few examples. The insurance agent needs to know what the house is made of, what’s inside of it, and how well it has been maintained. All of these factors will play a role in how much they charge you for home insurance.
Know the Home’s History
If you are buying a home, you should ask the seller about any recent home insurance claims. Even though you weren’t the one that made the claims on the property, it still plays a role in the cost of your insurance. Remember, the insurance company is insuring the home, not you. If there were previous claims, the insurance company will need to know why the homeowners filed them. If it was anything to do with weather, theft, or even fire, it could raise your rates for insurance because of the risk of liability that the home poses.
Consider Various Deductibles
One of the best ways to save money on your home insurance is to take a higher deductible. When you shop for home insurance, ask each insurance company for quotes for various deductibles. This way you can choose the one that suits you the most.
When you shop for home insurance, don’t jump at the policy with the lowest premium. Look closely at the deductible. Is it a deductible that you could afford? If not, it doesn’t make sense to take that deductible. What if the unthinkable happens and you have to file a claim. If you find yourself with a $10,000 deductible, for example, that you can’t pay, your home insurance won’t help you. Look closely at all options and choose the one that offers a happy medium between the premium and deductible.
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Only Purchase the Coverage That You Need
Insurance policies aren’t a one-size-fits-all approach. You can customize your policy to fit your needs. Think of the coverage that you need and ask for it to be a part of your quote. Think of things like liability coverage and personal property coverage. Most policies come standard with $300,000 in liability coverage. Is that enough for you? Ask the agent how much it would cost to increase that coverage; it may not be nearly as much as you think.
Do you need Additional Living Expense Coverage? This coverage helps you should you have to live elsewhere while your home is rebuilt or repaired. If you don’t have the money set aside for such an emergency, it may be worth asking how much it would be to add this to your policy.
Personal property coverage covers your personal belongings. A standard policy may cover a small portion of your personal belongings, but if you own anything valuable, it may be more than what the policy covers. Make sure you ask for a quote for extra riders for your valuables.
Make Sure You Have Adequate Coverage
Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you know the type of coverage you are getting as there are two types:
- Actual Cash Value – This insurance provides coverage for the replacement value of the home minus any depreciation. This could leave you with a deficit, forcing you to pay money out of your own pocket if you have a claim.
- Replacement Cost – This policy will reimburse you for the full cost to replace your home at the current market price. The premiums for this policy are higher, but you have better protection in the end.
Try to get quotes from at least three agents when you shop for home insurance. This gives you a chance to see what other companies have to offer. You can then compare premiums, deductibles, and coverage options to make the choice that is right for you.
Shopping for home insurance is almost as important as shopping for the home itself. You need enough coverage should you have a total loss, while having coverage that you can comfortably afford. We recommend that you shop for home insurance every few years to make sure that you have the best and most affordable policy available.
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