Acquiring a home is one of the most important milestones in the history of a family, it is the place where memories will be built, children will be educated and many other moments will be lived, good and bad alike.
In addition, for average families across the country, a home is often the most valuable asset in their possession.
Because of the importance of a home to each family, it is important to protect them from all the risks to which they are exposed.
Homeowners Insurance Companies
In this regard, homeowners insurance protects you against losing a significant amount of money when something terrible happens to your home or belongings and they need to be repaired or replaced.
Addressing this issue is often as complicated as it is important, after all, although there is less competition than in other fields, such as auto insurance, bidding companies offer policies that vary in coverage and quality.
That’s why we prepared this article, with the intention of helping you select the best company for you.
Understand your circumstance
First of all, you need to keep in mind that every insurance policy may be different and insurers take similar factors into account, but in varying proportions when establishing the premium for an insurance policy.
Also, one family’s circumstance will be different from another, so don’t rush to use the same insurance company as your neighbor for listening to the price you got.
Because insurance companies often take the same elements into account when establishing premium, coverage, and deductible, among other things, it’s a good idea to know the evaluation parameters. Remember that they can use all of them or exclude some and that each one gives more importance to some according to the formula they use. These factors are:
- The insurance laws of the state in which you live.
- The coverage you want for your property.
- The brokers you add to your policy.
- How much their deductibles are.
- The size of the property in question.
- The quality of the materials and finishes of your home.
- How old the property is.
- The price required to rebuild the house.
- Where the house is located, such as flood risk areas, tornadoes, among others.
- The crime rate of the locality you live in.
- Fire protection classifications in your location.
- Your credit score.
- History of claims with them, or with other companies as well.
- Whether you choose between actual cash value or replacement cost coverage.
- If you have a home-based business inside your home.
- Eligibility range for discounts offered.
Whether you decide for the premium in a single disbursement at the time of hiring or whether you will do so through installments.
About the Insurance Companies
Another way to determine whether a company is the best for you or not is to know how to clean their reputation and work is. In other words, it is not that we are against supporting free competition when selecting emerging companies, but it is important that it meets certain basic requirements.
1. Verify the A.M. of the Best rated insurance company:
The a.m. Best is known as the “industry standard” for a company’s financial rating, this tool allows you to determine the financial strength and solvency of the insurance company.
At best, you want an insurer with an A+ rating. These ratings are usually available online.
2. Chose an admitted company:
Home insurance companies are grouped into 2 categories: admitted and not admitted. These are the differences, try to choose one framed as admitted:
- You are not licensed to do business in the state in which you live.
- This means that the company has no state backing or guarantee fund.
- It is not part of their selection process to file your application with the state in which you live.
- They offer limited coverage at higher rates than the other types.
- They have a formal license to operate in the state in which you live.
- All forms, as well as fees, are approved by the state in which you live.
When properly registered, the state backs them up with a guarantee fund, which protects your interests in the event that the company becomes insolvent (for example, if a colossal disaster occurs and many clients need full coverage).
3. Claims History
Ask your homeowners broker about the insurance company’s history of customer claims. Just as they look at this history to see if you qualify, it’s a good idea to be aware of their claims behavior. Look for reliable sources, especially if you base your research online.
4. Qualify for discounts
It is very important that the insurance company you choose considers the security measures you have already implemented in your home.
This is because simple measures can reduce the risks to which your home is exposed. Therefore, the lower the risk of accidents, the less likely it is that the home insurance company will have to pay money to cover the damage. Here are some things you can do:
- Installing smoke detectors, burglar alarms and high-security locks can give you a discount of up to 5 percent.
- Also, a sophisticated sprinkler system that incorporates alarms and alerts to public agencies could get you a 15-20% discount.
Besides, it is a great idea to use roofing materials that are resistant to impact and fire, preferably made of asphalt, rubber, cement, and metal, these can offer greater discounts because they better resist hail, debris, and embers, which are the main cause of damage caused by forest fires.
Non-combustible coating provides additional protection. Try to install them if you don’t have them, it may seem expensive, but it will increase the value of your property and protect your family and interests.
If you live in hurricane-prone areas:
Storm windows and doors, hurricane-resistant coatings and a standard code roof that can withstand winds of up to 130 mph will allow your property to cope with extreme weather.
Consider that fortified homes can withstand a category 4 hurricane.
If you live in earthquake-prone areas:
Make sure your home’s building frame is properly screwed to the foundation. You can learn more about reducing the risks of earthquakes, cold weather, lightning, wildfires and more from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety.
Besides, consider that insurers will consider the simple solutions you have at home to reduce risks.
For example, replacing the washer’s rubber hoses with braided steel hose protects your home from water damage, plugging outlets reduces your liability for damage to others on your property, and the list of measures follows.
5. Get Quotes
You will never know the size of the offer if you never dare to ask the insurance company. You may have to pay more money than you think to get several quotes and compare personally the advantages that each company can offer.
However, consider this as an investment, after all, choosing the right one can save you a lot more than you have to invest in the selection process.
If you are a traditionalist it will be necessary for you to contact an insurance broker, he will be able to guide you when filling out the forms to obtain a quote that fits your reality perfectly.
On the other hand, if you are already familiar with these forms and want to save time you can get these quotes online, and this method is usually cheaper than going to a professional broker’s office.
6. Read the offer carefully
Finally, in order to choose between the multiple quotes you obtain, you need to know what advantages the insurance companies must offer you.
At this point it is necessary to mention again that every circumstance is different, so don’t be carried away by coverages that may not apply to you, such as high property damage cover, when you live in a quiet suburb. These are the issues to keep in mind:
- Limit of coverage offered compared to the value of your home, the belongings it contains and other structures.
- The kind of dangers are covered (liability for accidents, earthquakes, fires, among others, although you should generally add them).
- The type of property covered by the insurer.
- How the insurance company determines reimbursement for damages, either replacement cost or actual cash value.
- The brokers you can add to your policy.
- The exceptions applied in the policy.
- Imputed deductibles for different coverages.
- The discounts offered and whether you qualify for them.
- The financial strength of the company.
- Quality of customer service.
- Opinions of other clients of the company.
- Annual premium value.
In the End
Once you have settled all these aspects, you will be able to highlight and get the best deal for your house insurance. Make sure to keep an eye on details through the process, and find a company that suits your housing needs.