For the majority of people, protecting their home is crucial considering it is most likely their biggest investment. Homeowners insurance can offer you financial protection against damage whether you rent or own your home. Compared to the protection it offers, homeowners insurance is a fairly small investment. You can choose to add on additional coverage options to your policy or reduce your rates by altering your coverage and including discounts in your policy. Wirefly makes it easy to compare homeowners insurance rates and get a free quote online.
Types of Homeowners Insurance
If you took out a mortgage to finance your home, your lender will require you to carry current homeowners insurance and provide proof of your coverage. Lenders require this in order to protect themselves from potential losses. If you do not owe any money on your home, home insurance is not required but is still highly recommended. You can customize your coverage based on your specific needs.
It is important to consider a variety of factors prior to deciding how much homeowners coverage to carry. When determining the amount of coverage to place on your home, two of the most important considerations are the value and the age of the home. Insurance Services Offices (ISO) set a standard basis for coverage. Currently, there are seven different options when purchasing home insurance.
The most basic option for coverage is HO-1. This straightforward plan covers you against damage that results from fires or lightning strikes. HO-2 offers a more broad approach to coverage that also includes protection against hail damage, building collapse, vandalism, and theft. HO-3, a specialized coverage option, features protection against the majority of hazards. Exceptions will be clearly outlined in your policy as exclusions. HO-3 is the most popular policy that homeowners purchase if they have endorsements or riders that need to be added.
HO-5, a deluxe coverage option, automatically protects most items that are excluded by HO-3. For homes that are older, HO-8 insurance provides homeowners with acceptable replacement materials if supplies are available. For example, the plaster in an older home may be replaced with new drywall.
If you are the owner of a condo, homeowners insurance is still necessary. However, since condos usually just include the building but not any land or additional structures, a different type of homeowners insurance is suitable. Condo owners can purchase homeowners insurance known as HO-6. This coverage is specifically intended for condos and protects personal property and also provides liability protection. Mobile homeowners can seek out an HO-7 policy.
Many renters fail to obtain renters insurance since they are not the owner of the condo, house, or apartment they are renting. This is a mistake that puts renters at risk of a potential disaster such as theft, vandalism, or a fire. Renters are eligible to be covered under an HO-4 policy that protects their assets against the events outlined in their policy. Renters can also choose to include personal liability insurance in their coverage plan.
Homeowners Insurance Coverage
The ISO states that there are six different types of coverage in terms of homeowners insurance. It is crucial to review the policy thoroughly to have a clear understanding of exactly what is covered by your provider. For instance, if your HO-1 policy covers against fires but only applies to your dwelling but not other structures, any damages to your garage or other buildings will be your responsibility in the case of a fire.
Coverage A applies to the dwelling, not the land itself. This type of coverage is standard in all homeowners insurance policies aside from HO-4 (renters insurance) since renters do not own the actual dwelling. To cover additional structures on the property (garages, storage sheds, or other outbuildings), Coverage B is necessary. This is only applicable to outbuildings that are for personal use as opposed to business use.
Coverage C is meant to protect personal property. Depending on your specific policy, your property can be protected against a variety of situations including damage from smoke or items that are stolen in a burglary. Certain items are only insured up to a set amount. More valuable items may require a special endorsement that covers them up to a greater limit. This type of coverage is usually typical for items such as electronic equipment, coin collections, expensive jewelry, and furs.
At times, your home can get damaged and require you to be displaced during the renovation process. If this causes you to take on additional costs to cover living expenses, Coverage D can assist you in financing your temporary living arrangement. Typically, this covers the cost of an apartment or hotel but does not include extras such as entertainment or meals. Coverage D also include Loss of Use protection. This assists landlords in covering the loss of rental expenses if they are forced to complete repairs that prohibit them from earning rental income.
The fifth type of coverage is known as Additional. Additional coverage handles expenses that are not typically covered in other types of insurance. These expenses may include situations such as damage to landscaping, identity theft, or charges owed to a fire department for services.
The sixth classification pertains to Exclusions, not coverage. Exclusions indicate which situations are not covered by your home insurance policy. Water damage and earthquakes are common exclusions amongst homeowners policies. It is essential to understand what perils are excluded so that you can purchase additional coverage for particular situations. For example, it may be a wise decision to purchase flood insurance if you reside in a designated flood zone.
Discounts and Premiums for Home Insurance
Your premiums for your homeowners insurance are determined by a variety of factors. The age of your home, its square footage, and the particular location are key factors that play a role in setting the base rate of your policy. As opposed to auto insurance, which increases if the vehicle is newer, homeowners with newer houses can usually expect to enjoy a lower coverage rate. This lower rate is due to the fact that older homes often have outdated technology (such as older electrical wiring or issues with lead) that pose higher risks. You will likely be required to pay higher rates if your residence is located near an area with frequent crimes or in a flood zone. Whereas living in or near a flood zone can raise your home insurance rate, living within a certain distance of a fire department can have a positive effect on your rate.
Your credit score and history can also have an effect on your rate. Insurance companies often pull credit reports. A poor or low credit performance can equate to a higher rate. If your credit score is less than ideal, attempt to improve it as quickly as possible and then ask for your premium to be reevaluated.
Once you decide what type of coverage you want, raising your deductible can decrease your premium. Your cost can also be impacted by the difference between the cost of replacement and the actual cash value. A 100 percent replacement cost will equate to a higher premium. Fortunately, it will also amount to a larger benefit in the event of a claim. Similarly, if your home contains older furniture, you may choose to reduce your premium by selecting coverage that handles the depreciated value of your loss if there is a payout.
Using certain security and safety measures can help earn you beneficial discounts. For example, burglar alarms, smoke detectors, or a secure area for your guard dog almost always help decrease the amount you are required to pay for coverage. If you own a vehicle, it is often possible to combine it with your home and earn a multi-policy discount.
Get Home Insurance Quotes For Free Online
Home insurance is more affordable than health or vehicle insurance but, ironically, it protects your largest investment. Just like any other insurance, it is best if you never end up needing it. However, it is important to have peace of mind that you will be covered in the case of a fire, water damage, or other unfortunate instances. Consider using the tool provided for obtaining insurance quotes to help you shop around for the best available coverage rate.
Wirefly Is America's Most Trusted Source For All Cell Phones, Plans, TV, and Internet Deals
Wirefly offers great deals on a large selection of smartphones, cell phones, tablets, mobile hotspots, and other wireless devices for the nation's most popular carriers. Use Wirefly’s innovative cell phone and plan comparison tools to ensure you are getting the best deal on the market. Shop with confidence knowing that Wirefly wants to help you find the best prices on cell phones, cell phone plans, TV, and Internet service.