How to Shop for Home Insurance

How to Shop for Home Insurance

Finding the right home insurance policy is just as important as finding the right home. And yes, just like you shopped for a home, you should also shop around before you buy homeowners insurance. Not all providers are created equal. And not only that, home insurance might not be completely comprehensive. For instance, the major appliances in your home won’t be covered. You’ll likely want to also look into a home warranty plan. 

In this article, we’ll answer some of your burning questions about how to shop for home insurance. If you know what to look for, finding the right protection plan(s) for your home can be a painless process.

Follow these links for answers to some other questions you might have:

How Much Home Insurance Do I Need?

Is Homeowners Insurance Tax Deductible?

How to Shop for Home Insurance in 6 Steps

There are some simple steps you can follow to buy home insurance that will best fit your needs. While the prospect of sifting through multiple companies to find the one that works for you sounds daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Follow these easy steps and you’ll be fine.

1. Determine the Level of Coverage You Need

Before you buy homeowners insurance, a great baseline for determining how much dwelling coverage you need is to figure out the build price of your home. If you didn’t build your own home, that can be challenging. Do what you can to find at least a ballpark figure. This calculator might help. 

If something happens to your home, you’ll want to be able to rebuild it. Once you know the rebuild cost, you can start searching for plans with the right amount of dwelling coverage for your needs. After uncovering the building cost of your home, you should also think about the cost of the personal property in your home. With these figures in mind, you’ll have a great starting point. But don’t fear, the best insurance companies have agents who can walk you through the whole process.

2. See If You Can Bundle

Sometimes you can get a discount on your home insurance if you bundle with your auto insurance. If you like your current car insurance company, see if you can add a home insurance policy. And if you do find that another company has a better bundle offering, don’t be afraid to switch car insurance providers. Chances are good you could save a pretty decent chunk of change by bundling home and auto.

3. Read up on the Companies

The cheapest homeowners insurance isn’t always the best option. There are so many things to consider beyond just price. Perhaps the most critical consideration is the customer service. After all, if something goes wrong and your home needs to be repaired, you’ll want a friendly agent on the line helping you through the headache. Don’t just go with the cheapest option when deciding to purchase homeowners insurance. Read online reviews, talk to neighbors and friends, and don’t rush more than you need to. 

4. Know the Process to File a Claim

Do you know what you’ll do if you do need to use your insurance? Sometimes it can be a really complex process, especially if you choose the wrong company. Consider the claims process even while you’re shopping around, because it’s critical. If your insurance company gives you the runaround and makes it very difficult to file a claim, it can be an absolute nightmare. Do your research so you know how things work beforehand. A bit of time now can save you a lot of headaches down the road. Choose the right provider.

5. Pick the Company and Policy That Best Fit Your Needs

Some people need more coverage than others. And some people value the customer service so much that they’re willing to pay a premium for it. If you just need cheap, basic coverage and aren’t as worried about a few more steps to file a claim, a cheap option might be best. If you’re lucky, you might find affordability and ease of claim filing all in one company. The point is that there are pros and cons to each homeowners insurance policy and company. Take ample time to find the one that best fits your needs.

6. Get a Home Warranty Plan to Cover Other Things

Your home insurance does not cover everything. For example if your fridge or washing machine stops working, homeowners insurance won’t do much for you. That’s where a home warranty plan comes in. It will cover the major appliances and systems in your home and repair or replace them if they break down. Home warranties are critical. Windstorms don’t come around all that often, but broken down appliances are pretty common. Protect yourself from the headache of everyday breakages with a home warranty plan.

Things to Keep in Mind When Shopping for Homeowners Insurance

The steps outlined above are easy enough to follow, but there are some common pitfalls you should be aware of and tips you should follow when you purchase homeowners insurance.

1. Know the Terms 

Policy, deductible, premiums, rates, coverage. These are all terms that you’ll want to know when shopping around. A home insurance policy is essentially an agreement you have with an insurer that outlines what they will cover in the event of damage to your home. Home insurance premiums or rates are how much you pay. Often, you may pay one lump some per year for your home insurance. Coverage defines how much money the insurance company will pay for specific repairs or damages. Types of coverage include dwelling, personal property, and more.

2. Get as Many Discounts as Possible

Just like you might get a discount on your car insurance for being a safe driver, you can usually save money on your home insurance premium if you take measures to keep your home protected. For instance, a new roof might go a long way. Deadbolt locks on all the doors and a home security system might also get you some money off. You’ll not only be more protected, but you’ll be less of a risk for the insurance company. This means you’ll pay less for great coverage.

Final Takeaways About How to Shop For Homeowners Insurance

The best thing you can do to find the right plan is to do your research. Home insurance is a huge decision, so you shouldn’t rush into it. Even after you purchase a plan, you might look into switching at some point down the road if a better offer comes along. It’s not uncommon to change insurance plans every so often. If you take your time, read reviews, talk to friends and family, and follow some of the tips and steps we’ve laid out, you can have a good experience shopping for and selecting homeowners insurance.

And don’t forget to purchase a home warranty plan also. Enter your ZIP code to get a quote today. You’ll be glad you did.

How Much Home Insurance Do I Need?

How Much Home Insurance Do I Need?

If you own a home and have a mortgage, you’ll likely be required to have homeowners insurance. Your home is where your family grows and plays together, so protecting it is a top priority.

Understanding homeowners insurance can be difficult, as there are many elements to it and different types of coverage to be aware of. One of your burning questions might be “how much home insurance do I need?” It’s a common concern. Beyond that, many people wonder if homeowners insurance is enough or if there are other options for added coverage. We’ll try to answer these questions and clear up any confusion you may have.

How Much Homeowners Insurance Do I Need?

This is a complicated question, but it’s important to ask it if you’re shopping for home insurance. It’s critical for a few reasons. First, how much coverage you have will determine how much you pay for your policy. Second, it’ll dictate how big of a financial headache you’ll have if disaster strikes. The time to find out how much homeowners insurance you need is before a major incident, not after.

Just how much homeowners insurance coverage do you need? The answer is, it depends. When you’re thinking about how much dwelling coverage you’ll need, start by figuring out how much it will cost to rebuild your home. This will help you determine the coverage and limits you need. Keep in mind that this number will likely be different from the original purchase price, or even the current market value. A lot of factors go into determining how much coverage you’ll need. Here are a few of them:

  • The style of your home. Is it ranch or colonial, for example?
  • Your home’s exterior. Is it brick, stucco, stone, or veneer?
  • The number of rooms. More rooms likely equals a higher premium.
  • The roof type. Do you have wooden shingles?
  • Additional structures including garages, sheds, and decks. You’ll want to insure more than just your actual home.
  • Improvements and renovations. These could add to the amount of coverage you may need.
  • Belongings and personal property. Start thinking about more than just the roof over your head.

What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?

Homeowners insurance coverage covers about five different areas, with more nuanced coverages also available. Dwelling, personal property, and liability are usually the most standard coverages included in a policy. The others can be added if you want the most comprehensive coverage. The typical coverages you’ll see are the following:

  • Dwelling Coverage (or Hazard Coverage)
  • Other Structures Coverage
  • Personal Property Coverage
  • Liability Coverage
  • Additional Living Expense Coverage (or Loss of Use Coverage)

Could You Explain Each Type of Coverage?

There are a lot of different elements to a comprehensive homeowners insurance policy. Let’s break the different coverages down so they’re easier to understand.

Dwelling Coverage (or Hazard Coverage)

Dwelling coverage is used to rebuild your house should it be damaged by things like a fire, windstorm, or vandalism. Generally, dwelling coverage covers your home and also anything attached to it (like a garage or deck). You may be wondering “how much dwelling coverage do I need?” It depends on the price of rebuilding your home.

Other Structures Coverage

Other structures coverage is for other structures that are on your property but separated from your home. A shed or a detached garage might fall into this category.

Personal Property Coverage

This type of coverage helps you if your personal belongings are damaged or destroyed by a covered loss. In order to make filing a claim easier, it’s important to take a look at what you own and keep track of how much you paid for it. Take an inventory using pictures, and be sure to note how much each item costs.

Personal property coverage could be handled in one of two ways. You can either have an actual cash value policy where the insurance company pays the cost to repair the item minus depreciation. Or, you could have a replacement cost policy. This type covers the dollar amount it would take to replace the item at the time of the claim. Keep in mind that there are limits to the coverage, so if you have expensive items like jewelry or collectibles, you might need to look into a plan with higher limits.

Liability Coverage

This coverage can help pay for repairs if you damage someone else’s property. It can help pay medical bills for someone who is injured in your home. Even if you are responsible for another’s injuries at a different location, it can sometimes help. For instance, if your dog runs into the neighbor’s yard and bites or injures them, your liability coverage might pay for your neighbor’s medical bills.

Additional Living Expense Coverage (or Loss of Use Coverage)

This helps pay for the cost of rent, hotel, food or other living expenses. It’s a type of coverage that’s helpful if your home is so damaged that you cannot live in it for a time.

What Does Homeowners Insurance Not Cover?

Homeowners insurance does not cover damage from things like floods and earthquakes. Generally, it’s also not helpful in the event of sewer backups or broken down appliances within your home. You’ll need separate insurance for earthquakes or floods, and you might need a home warranty if you want coverage on your appliances.

How Much Does Home Insurance Cost?

The cost of home insurance varies by insurance company, state, and even city. Zillow says that a ballpark number is around $35 a month for every $100,000 of your home’s value. While that’s a rough estimate, keep in mind that it can fluctuate dramatically from there. It’s best to talk to an insurance agent to get the most accurate information for your specific home.

What Should I Consider When Buying Home Insurance?

There are a number of considerations when buying a home insurance policy. The main things you’ll want to think about are your coverage limits, deductibles, and premium.

  • Your coverage limit is the maximum amount your homeowners insurance will pay toward a covered loss. Be sure you have sufficient coverage to cover the cost to rebuild your home.
  • Your deductible is how much you’ll pay out of pocket before the insurance kicks in and pays the rest. Make sure you can afford your deductible.
  • The premium is the amount you pay for an insurance policy. The higher your premium, the lower your deductible, and vice versa.

Above all, remember that no two policies are exactly alike. As such, you should work closely with an insurance to craft the best policy for your specific home and needs.

How Can I Get More Protection Beyond a Home Insurance Policy?

Not everything is covered with a homeowners insurance. For instance, if your dishwasher or water heater breaks down, you can’t rely on your typical home insurance policy to help there. This is where a home warranty comes in. A home warranty covers many of the systems and appliances in your home and acts as additional coverage.

We recommend adding a home warranty plan to your homeowners insurance policy to get the most comprehensive coverage. There’s no dollar sign on peace of mind, so a little extra investment is a great idea. Request a home warranty quote today!

What Does a Home Warranty Cover When Buying a House?

What Does a Home Warranty Cover When Buying a House?

It’s not uncommon to have questions about a home warranty, particularly if you are buying a home. While comprehensive homeowners insurance is clearly an important consideration, home warranty coverage is also something to keep in mind. If you are buying a home, the seller or real estate agent might offer you home warranty coverage as an add-on when you close. Or, you can always get your own home warranty coverage after you close. But what does a home warranty cover when buying a house? That’s a great question and an important one to ask. Let’s answer it.

What Exactly Does a Home Warranty Cover When Buying a House?

What is a home warranty? Home warranty coverage, also called a homeowners warranty, is an insurance of sorts that covers systems in your home, like appliances, plumbing, ductwork, and more. Many home warranty plans cover central heating and air conditioning, washer and dryer, and even roof leaks.

How Does a Home Warranty Plan Work When Buying a House?

If you’re buying a house, there are a few different ways you might get a home warranty. As mentioned, in some cases, the real estate agent or seller will give you a home warranty along with the purchased home. Other times, you will need to sign up for your own home warranty plan. With a home warranty plan, if anything breaks, the home warranty company will usually fix or replace the item free of charge. At times, you might be charged just a small service fee for having a repair person come to your home.

What are the Benefits of a Home Warranty for a Home Buyer?

When you buy a home, there are a lot of things to worry about. You’re surely thinking about location, layout, and price. But have you thought about the appliances and systems within the home? Some homes come with a washer, dryer, dishwasher, and fridge. Most have central heating and air. Have you ever stopped to consider how old these systems and items might be? What would you do if they broke down? In order to protect yourself as a buyer, it’s smart to have a home warranty. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Peace of mind
  • Protection against costly repairs
  • Coverage of items not covered with typical homeowners insurance

Do Home Warranties Cover Pre-existing Conditions?

No. Home warranties do not usually cover pre-existing conditions. What is a pre-existing condition? Let’s say your air conditioner breaks before you have a home warranty. In this case, that air conditioner would be considered under the pre-existing condition of your appliances. In other words, you can not expect to simply purchase a home warranty plan and have your air conditioner fixed under that plan if it breaks before you have the plan in place.

What Should I Know as a Buyer About Home Warranty Plans?

Know that a home warranty plan can really save you from unexpected expenses. Be sure to ask the seller if they will include a home warranty in the purchase of the home. If not, it’s still smart to purchase your own plan to make certain that you’ll be protected should any unexpected breakages occur. Home warranties really bring peace of mind, and that’s critical when you’re buying a home. Get a home warranty on your side and you’ll be comfortable in your new home for years to come!

Who Pays for a Home Warranty: Buyer or Seller?

Who Pays for a Home Warranty: Buyer or Seller?

A home warranty can be a wonderful thing. It can also be a confusing one. What is a home warranty? What does a home warranty cover? How does a home warranty work? And most importantly, who pays for a home warranty, buyer or seller? There are a lot of questions to answer, and understanding who pays for a home warranty isn’t always crystal clear.

As a home buyer or seller, it’s nice to know how home warranties work and which party generally pays for the home warranty. While there isn’t necessarily one right answer, there are some common practices when it comes to paying for a home warranty.

Who Pays for a Home Warranty?

Sometimes a home warranty is involved when you buy a home. When a home is purchased, who pays for the home warranty: buyer or seller? Often, a home warranty is purchased by the seller and transferred to the buyer. The reasoning is that the seller does not want to be called on if something breaks down. If you buy a home through a real estate agent, they might throw in a home warranty plan as an added perk when you close.

What If You Purchase a Home Without a Home Warranty?

You can purchase a home without a home warranty. Just know that if something goes wrong with appliances or systems, you might be paying for it out of pocket. If the seller doesn’t offer a home warranty along with the purchase of the home, don’t worry. As a buyer you can always contact a home warranty company on your own and purchase a plan. Talk to them about your specific needs and they’ll find the best plan for you. At HSC Warranty, we’re happy to help with this.

Should You Purchase a Home Warranty as a Seller?

If you’re selling your home on your own without a real estate agent, it might be beneficial to purchase a home warranty. Why? Because it gives buyers more peace of mind when they are considering buying your house. Including a home warranty with the purchase of your home will act as an additional selling point. It could give potential buyers added confidence to purchase and could really help eliminate any hesitation they might feel.

Should You Purchase a Home Warranty As a Buyer?

If a home warranty isn’t included in the purchase of your new home, you might still consider getting a home warranty plan yourself. It doesn’t hurt to ask the seller if they can include a home warranty when they sell you the home. If they don’t, it may still be in your best interest to purchase your own plan and shield yourself from expensive repairs.

Should You Purchase a Home Warranty as a Real Estate Agent?

Having a home warranty plan for a home you’re selling as a real estate agent is a good idea. Often, buyers worry about potential repairs and maintenance that will pop up down the road. If you can provide them some reassurance with a reliable home warranty plan, it’ll help you better serve them as your clients.

How Should You Proceed?

Who pays for a home warranty? Buyer? Seller? Agent? It depends. But whether you’re selling your home “for sale by owner,” you’re a real estate agent, or you’ve recently purchased a home, you should be thinking about a home warranty. Home warranties for rentals are also available. And remember that it’s also important to renew your home warranty and have a regular inspection of your home systems to make sure they’re running well. If you want to get started with a home warranty, feel free to contact us or request a free quote.