As a homeowner, you want to protect your house and the best way to do that is to buy a great home insurance policy. Believe it or not, more than 95 percent of homeowners have some form of home insurance already.
But that doesn’t mean it’s the best coverage possible.
If you’re looking for great coverage, you need to find a provider you can trust and one who is willing to work in your best interest. Before you decide on a policy, ask these important homeowners insurance questions.
1. How Much Coverage Do I Need?
Every home is different and the amount of coverage you need may not be the same as what your friends and neighbors need. Remember, you’re not just insuring the structure itself. You’re also insuring everything you have inside the house.
The more belongings you have, the more it will cost to replace them if your home gets damaged or destroyed.
The best thing you can do before asking an agent these homeowners insurance questions is to conduct a home inventory. Go through each room of your house and write down the approximate value of your belongings.
If you have receipts for your electronics or furniture, hold onto those. But don’t stop with those big-ticket items. Make sure to include the value of your dishes, the food in your cupboards, and even your clothes.
Add this amount to the price it would cost to rebuild your house from the ground up. This is the amount of coverage you should have on-hand at a bare minimum.
2. How Much Can I Afford to Pay?
The easiest way to offset the cost of your insurance policy is to increase the amount you’d pay out-of-pocket when you file a claim. The higher your out-of-pocket deductible is, the lower your monthly premium payments will be.
Take a look at your monthly budget and see how much you can reasonably afford. Remember, you also have to factor in costs for unexpected repairs and home maintenance tasks among other monthly expenses.
Use this number as a guide and search for policies that fit your budget. Just remember not to set your deductible too high. The last thing you want to do is find it too expensive to file a claim when you need to.
3. Does the Provider Offer Discounts?
Believe it or not, most insurance providers offer discounts. They just don’t advertise them. This means you need to ask when you’re shopping for coverage.
You can even get specific. For example, some providers offer discounts for energy-efficient appliances or having an older roof replaced with newer and safer materials. Others offer discounts for homes with security systems.
Ask each provider which discounts they’re currently offering.
Keep in mind you’ll want to keep asking each year when you renew your coverage to see if new discounts or promotions are in place. These can help you save hundreds of dollars over the course of the year.
4. What Is and Isn’t Covered By the Policy?
Different policies offer different types of coverage. This means you’ll need to ask each provider exactly what the policy protects against.
Try to get this list in writing. This will allow you to compare the benefits of different policies more directly. And make a note of any coverage gaps you notice.
Homeowners insurance is thorough, but it doesn’t protect against every threat imaginable. You may need to invest in supplemental coverage for issues caused by flooding, earthquakes, or even sewer backups.
When you understand what is and isn’t covered by each policy, you’ll be better able to make a decision on the right coverage for your needs.
5. How Will the Provider Handle My Claims?
Before you decide on a policy or an insurance provider, make sure you understand how the provider handles insurance claims. Great and trustworthy companies work to make the claims process easy and fast so you can get life back to normal.
But that’s not the case for all providers. If the claims process seems overly complicated, proceed with caution. The more complicated the process is, the more likely you are to lose out on the money you deserve.
6. What Happens If My Home’s Value Increases?
When your home’s value increases, your coverage needs to increase as well. Those increases could be due to changing property values in your area or even home renovations you take care of throughout the year.
Make sure the insurance provider you’re considering working with explains how to increase your coverage clearly. This should be as simple as adjusting your coverage limits online or calling your insurance agent to discuss the change in value.
If the insurance provider tells you not to worry about it or informs you that they can’t cover homes worth more than yours is currently, walk away.
7. Does the Policy Meet or Exceed the Requirements From Mortgage Lenders?
When you take out a mortgage, most lenders require you to buy homeowners insurance before they agree to finance your new home. This is a way for them to protect their interest in your property.
These lenders often expect you to buy a minimum amount of coverage. If you don’t, you may not get the loan in the first place.
When shopping for policies, make sure to ask if the coverage meets or exceeds the requirements set by your mortgage lender. If not, see if the provider has another option that will satisfy that requirement.
If they can’t, you’ll need to keep looking. Violating the terms of your mortgage agreement could create trouble down the line.
Ask These Homeowners Insurance Questions
These homeowners insurance questions will help you find the right coverage for your home and your budget. Just make sure you ask them with every provider you speak with.
This gives you a chance to find out more about the provider and their policies before committing to their insurance. If you feel that they’re not willing to work in your best interest, keep looking.
If you’re ready to find a homeowners insurance policy that completely protects your home and everything in it, contact us today. We’ll help you find the right coverage quickly.