How to Compare Home Insurance Quotes
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Finding affordable home insurance might sound like a headache. But it doesn’t have to be. Researching different companies and comparing quotes helps ensure that you get the best home insurance for the best price. First, though, you need to determine exactly what insurance type and amount you need.
In this article, we'll help determine the type of home insurance you need, explain how much home insurance coverage you need, show how to research home insurance companies, and explain how to get quotes online from homeowners insurance companies.
Determine the Type of Home Insurance Coverage You Need
Before looking up home insurance quotes, you need to determine exactly what type of coverage you need. The information below, from Allstate Insurance, reveals the types of available home insurance coverage:
- Dwelling insurance: Dwelling insurance helps rebuild or repair your home after it’s damaged. Dwelling insurance covers many different hazards, including fire, vandalism, and damage from inclement weather. Most dwelling insurance does not cover damage that occurs from a flood, earthquake, or neglect. If you want to file a claim because of this type of hazard, you'll need extra coverages.
- Other structures coverage: Other structures coverage provides protection for other buildings on your property besides your home. Some of the covered buildings include sheds, fences, and any other unattached buildings.
10% of your total home coverage represents the most typical amount of insurance. For instance, if your primary home insurance coverage is set at $200,000, then your "other structure coverage," if applicable, would be set at $20,000.
- Personal property coverage: Most home insurance provides personal property coverage up to a certain limit, as outlined in the specific policy. But you can also purchase separate coverage for specific items and belongings in addition to the regular coverage your homeowner's policy provides. Most often such coverage helps protect more expensive items, such as jewelry, musical instruments, or works of art.
- Liability coverage and personal umbrella policy: As a homeowner, you also can purchase liability coverage for your home. Liability coverage covers medical bills, death benefits, and legal costs for anyone injured while on your property.
Keep in mind that most liability coverage only covers a limited amount, as outlined in your specific policy. A personal umbrella policy, which provides protection above your home insurance liability coverage limits, represents a coverage option in addition to liability coverage.
- Relocation expenses: Additional living expenses insurance coverage helps pay for hotel rooms and rental costs if you need to relocate while your home is rebuilt or repaired after damage specified in your specific policy, such as fire, falling objects, or weather damage.
This insurance coverage also pays for food and other incidental living costs you might incur while living away from home.
Determine How Much Home Insurance Coverage You Need
When determining how much coverage you need to purchase, keep in mind that you need enough insurance to cover the following items:
- Your home: Usually lenders require you to get enough insurance to cover the amount of your total financing needs. In addition, you should consider buying enough insurance to cover rebuilding your home if necessary.
An easy way to determine this includes multiplying the square footage of your home by the construction cost per square foot in your area. To determine this, talk with a local home insurance agent, builders association, or real estate agent.
- Your possessions: While many home insurance policies provide anywhere from 50% to 70% of your total coverage in personal belonging protection, you can determine exactly how much coverage you need by completing a home inventory. Figure out what the actual cash value (or ACV) is for your belongings. For highly valuable items, you should consider getting additional coverage for that specific item.
- Additional living expenses if you need to relocate while your home is repaired: While not obvious now, if your home becomes damaged to the point where you can no longer live in it, you will have to pay out of pocket for somewhere else to live while your home is rebuilt or repaired.
Luckily, most home insurance policies take this into consideration and pays you additional living expenses if this happens, usually at 20% of the insurance you have on your house. You can also buy additional coverage if you feel you need it.
- Liability insurance for people injured on your property: Liability insurance covers you if someone gets injured while on your property. Having enough coverage to cover your total worth in property, investments, or savings is the main purpose of home liability insurance.
You can purchase an excess liability or umbrella policy for this purpose, as these two types of policies can protect your investments if someone injured on your property sues you to court. The amount of additional liability coverage you need depends mostly on the worth of your assets, though many home insurance companies require a minimum of $300,000 of such coverage to start.
Research Home Insurance Companies
Once you determine the amount and type of coverage you need, it’s time to find companies you want to get quotes from. Some of the more popular home insurance companies include:
You can usually find many local offices in your area for the companies above, and others. When comparing home insurance companies, make sure to assess the following information:
- Financial status: Check the financial stability of the insurance companies you have an interest in getting a quote from. Some Websites that can give you a breakdown of a company's financial strength and reliability include:
- Complaints: You can also visit the Website for your state's Department of Insurance (DOI) to check out consumer complaints against a company. Plus, when checking out a company in your local area, check customer reviews online at Websites like reviews.com, consumeraffairs.com, and consumersadvocate.org.
- Customer service: In addition, check out such information as the company's hours of operation to see if you can contact them whenever needed. You also need to determine if the company has an actual office in your area.
Get Quotes Online From Home Insurance Companies
Once you have picked out a few companies that you feel comfortable with, it’s time to get quotes to see how the premium costs from the companies match up. To get a quote online, follow the steps below:
Step 1: Get quotes. Once on a company's website, enter the information the company requests to get a quote from them.
The information usually requested includes:
- The address of your home, including zip code
- Your name
- Your birthday
- Your phone number
- Your email address
- The name, gender, and birthday
- Whether you currently have home insurance
- When you want the policy to begin
- The home purchase month and year
- Any previous addresses
- Whether the home is your primary residence and whether you plan on renting it
- How many people live in the home
- Whether you have any pets
- Year home was built
- Whether the home is a single or multi-family home
- The style of house
- The foundation type
- The type of roof and the year it was installed
Step 2: Compare quotes. Wait for the companies you queried to respond with a quote.
Most often insurance companies contact you either via email or over the phone.
Once you get all of the quotes, compare how much coverage the companies offer for what you need to pay for that insurance.
Step 3: Select a quote. Selecting a quote represents the final step when looking for a home insurance policy.
At this point, you need to contact an agent to finalize the process.
Acquiring home insurance doesn’t need to be hard. By following the steps above, you can find reliable insurance companies to get quotes from. Then once you compare those quotes, you can choose the home insurance that provides the exact coverage you need.