Home Insurance: A Brief Step-By-Step Guide – Shopping around for home insurance can be a mind boggling experience. It can be hard to know what type of questions to ask, how much coverage you really need and how to know you are getting the best rate for your particular needs. So how do you know where to start?
As with most things these days, the best place to start is online. A search will result in dozens of companies, both locally and nationally. Most of them will have an online quote feature where you can get a quote in minutes by simply answering a few questions. You will want to follow up with some of them with a phone call to meet with an agent in person. This will give you a feel for how the two of you will work together. Your insurance agent is an important part of your team; you will need assurances that they will be there for you when you need them most.
If you can, raise your deductible so that your rate will be cheaper. You don’t want to be cash-strapped every month, though, so only do this if it is financially feasible. Another way to reduce your rate is to install a security system and security cameras around the perimeter of your property. This will deter thieve and make your home less likely to be broken into.
Insurance companies have several criteria that they take into consideration when giving you a quote. They will want to know things like:
If your home is in close proximity to a fire hydrant or fire station
Crime rate in your particular area
If your home is in close proximity to a police station
How your home is heated
If you have fireplaces, and if so, are they gas or wood burning
How much it would cost to replace the property in case of fire
How old the home is
The exterior of the home i.e. brick, siding, etc.
Amount of liability ($1,000,000 is a popular amount)
Climate: is your area prone to blizzards, tornados, floods, etc?
If you have valuables in the home, like jewellery or other high value items
The style of your home i.e. one storey, or two storey
They may do a credit check, or look at your history of payments with other companies
They may want to know if you’ve made any claims in the past
These are just a few of the considerations they will take into account when giving you a free quote. Finding a good home insurance policy doesn’t need to cause you undue stress and confusion. With a little homework on your part and a good company as your partner, you can find the insurance that you need without paying too much and breaking the bank. Finding the right agent is as important as finding the right home. Choose wisely and interview several before making your final decision. Don’t sign anything until you’ve gotten all of your questions answered and you fully understand what you’re signing. You may want to ask what the process is for changing or upgrading your coverage in the future.