If you own a house or are buying one, you’ll want to get home insurance quotes to discover prices for protecting your house and your personal property inside it. As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau explains, your lender will likely require insurance if you have a mortgage. Different plans vary on what the insurer will pay and what’s an out-of-pocket expense for the homeowner and charge different premiums. Search for an insurer that offers a price you like for the coverage you want. Also, consider other factors like if you want to work with an agent or mostly do business online.
If you’re applying for a homeowners insurance quote, you’ll need to have some basic information about your property. You’ll want to know its approximate age, when structural features such as the roof were last replaced, details about its layout—like how many bedrooms and bathrooms it has—and whether there are any extra structures like decks and sheds.
You’ll also want to think about whether you want any extra coverage beyond the basic insurance policy, such as flood insurance, identity theft protection, or coverage for earthquakes. Not all insurers offer every type of coverage and not all make all the extras available for every property. Also, think about whether you want to combine your homeowners insurance with another policy, like your auto insurance or life insurance for a possible discount.
Also, consider your more expensive personal property, like jewelry or collectibles, that you may want to make sure are covered to their full value. Since you’ll likely pay more for this, it’s helpful to be ready with an itemized list of those possessions.
You should also think about how you’ll pay for the insurance. Some insurers offer discounts for paying for a year’s worth of coverage in advance or signing up for an automatic payment plan.
- Basic info about your home
- A sense of any extra coverages you’ll need
- Thoughts on whether you want to bundle other policies, like auto insurance
- A list of valuables you want extra insurance on
- Payment information
A number of factors can affect the cost of a home insurance policy, as the Insurance Information Institute explains. Your location affects what you pay, since different places have different average costs to rebuild a damaged home, different levels of fire department coverage, and some areas are more storm- or earthquake-prone than others.
The condition of your home makes a difference, including how recently it was built or renovated and how recently the roof has been replaced. So does the size of your home. How much coverage you get makes a difference too, as will details of that coverage, like whether your property damage coverage will give you the actual cash value, which accounts for depreciation, or the true replacement cost of your items. Higher deductibles generally will lower your premiums, though that will increase how much you personally have to pay before your policy kicks in if you have to file a claim.
Add-ons to your policy to cover things like personal liability in the event of a lawsuit, or flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program will also boost your premium. Although you may be glad you paid extra if you suffer a covered loss. Adding insurance to cover specific valuable items, like collectibles, musical instruments, or jewelry, will also generally add to your premium. Though, you may be glad you have it if the property is damaged or stolen.
Certain factors that impact your insurance costs, like your ZIP code and how old your house is, aren’t subject to change. But there are steps you can take to lower your premiums.
You can often lower your homeowners insurance costs by bundling multiple types of insurance, like home and auto, for a multi-policy discount. You can also sometimes get discounts for installing security and safety equipment, like alarms and deadbolts. A recently renovated home also can lead to lower premiums. Some insurers give discounts for applying a certain amount of time before you need the policy, whether you’re a first-time homeowner signing up or switching from another carrier, so make sure to start your insurance search early. Staying with the same insurer for a long period of time can also lead that company to cut your premiums. Some also give discounts for not filing claims.
Cutting back on the level of insurance you carry can also lower your premiums. Decide how much liability coverage and other add-ons you need. Consider whether you want to specially insure your high-value items to get the full replacement cost if they’re damaged or stolen. If you get rid of any items, make sure you’re not still paying to insure them. In general, decide the minimum level of insurance that doesn’t feel like too high a risk to you.
Taking a higher deductible, or the amount you have to pay before insurance kicks in when you file a claim, can also help lower your premiums. Only choose that option if you can afford to pay more in the event of a claim.
If you work with a company that has agents, talk to an insurance agent about other discounts that may be available.
For more information on Homeowners Insurance please visit our other guides:
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