Top 5 Considerations When Buying Home Insurance for the First Time
As you unwind with a glass of wine in front of your glowing fireplace in your brand new home, you wonder, “Am I totally covered if something bad happens to my home?”
If you kept avoiding that thought during the home-buying process, it’s time to confront it now. You can’t fully enjoy your home without putting a solid financial blanket on it.
Home insurance is a critical part of homeownership, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of if you didn’t think about it during the process.
Here are the top five things to consider when buying home insurance for the first time.
1. Know Your Coverage and Ensure It’s Enough
How to buy home insurance is a question that often gets taken for granted. There are many considerations to make, yet a lot of people still practically jump into a purchase.
If you’re interested in first-time home buyer insurance, you should be careful. Start by reviewing the usual coverage that a standard policy will offer:
This refers to your house itself, including all attached (garage, deck, etc.) and unattached (fence, detached work room, etc.) structures within the physical perimeter of your property.
This includes your personal possessions or everything that was inside your home when the peril happened.
If someone was accidentally hurt inside your home and they could prove that you were at fault, this coverage will cover your legal costs and the injured party’s medical expenses.
Additional Living Expenses
If your house becomes unlivable because of a covered event, you will be covered for additional living expenses to help you pay for your temporary housing, food, and other costs while your house is under repair.
The main thing about getting home insurance is ensuring that you’re covered enough. So how do you know if you’re getting adequate protection? Get an accurate estimate of your home and contents’ value before even discussing coverage with your agent.
2. Know What You’re Not Covered For and What to Do About It
Note that there are exclusions to home insurance policies, which means some damages will not be covered, such as those caused by earthquakes and sewer backup.
Before buying your first home insurance policy, make sure to talk to your agent to discuss what exactly you won’t be covered for. Then ask them what supplemental policies you can get to ensure that you’re protected all the way.
On the other hand, while you want to get maximum coverage for your home, remember that this comes with a higher cost. Hence, take time to list your home insurance needs and ditch coverage in your policy that you know you won’t need.
For instance, if you own your home, you obviously don’t need landlord coverage. Whatever additional protection you need, you can always add it as the necessity arises.
3. Understand Your Costs
In 2022, average homeowners in the U.S. pay $1,784 yearly for homeowners insurance that offers $300,000 in dwelling coverage. Of course, this is only a benchmark. The actual cost of your policy will depend on various factors, including:
Type of Coverage
The more extra coverage and the higher your coverage limits, the higher your premiums will be.
If you built or purchased your home for a total of $300,000, it would be more expensive to insure than if the property were worth anything less. That’s because as the value of your home increases, so does the amount required to rebuild it.
Which state you live in is a huge factor in determining how much your homeowners insurance will cost.
For example, while you may pay $1,289 yearly for a dwelling coverage of $250,000 in New York this year, you could be looking at $378 annually in Hawaii for the same dwelling coverage and year.
Believe it or not, whether you live near or far from a police or fire station also impacts your premium. The closer you are to them, the more secure insurers feel and the lower they’ll pull your premium.
Your deductible is the money you pay yourself before your insurance begins paying for the rest of your loss. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium.
There are seemingly unimportant things about you that your insurer will actually care about because of their ability to affect your chances of defaulting on your payments.
These include, among others, your age, marital status, and state of health. Your credit-based credit score and your property claim history will also affect your premium.
4. Choose the Right Insurance Provider
Purchasing a home through a loan usually comes with a requirement to get home insurance. Whether you get your policy from a bank or an insurance company, make sure you choose your provider well.
Research your options and don’t just pick a provider at random. Find out their reputation in the industry, especially in terms of addressing claims. You’ll also want to get quotes from different providers and compare them for their coverage options, pricing, and discounts before making a choice.
5. Work Your Premiums Down
Keep in mind that insurance premiums are calculated based on the amount of risk a provider takes in insuring a home. Hence, when you actively work to reduce that risk, you get a good chance of paying lower premiums.
Reducing that risk can be as simple as installing some fire alarms, investing in firefighting equipment, setting up CCTVs all over your property, reinforcing your roof, or adding some storm shutters.
Lastly, consider that when you buy home insurance online, you can actually save quite a bit. If you’re getting first time home buyer insurance, you’ll save even more. Try getting a quote!
Be Smart When Buying Home Insurance
Before buying home insurance for the first time, remember these five tips and you won’t go wrong. If your needs and situation are out of the ordinary, talk to your agent and ask for a personalized plan.
Most importantly, review your policy thoroughly and get everything straight – what’s covered, what’s not covered, what extra coverage you need, how to reduce your costs, etc.
Your home is probably one of the biggest expenses you’ll make in your lifetime, so take good care of it with a well-chosen home insurance policy.
More educational posts for you are in this blog, so continue reading.
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