Tips to consider when it’s time to purchase homeowners insurance

Adam Rubin
Adam Rubin
Published on September 9, 2020

If you won’t be paying cash for your home the lender will require that you purchase a homeowners insurance policy. This will assure the lender that the home won’t be lost to fire, acts of God and other events. These policies also benefit the homeowner, so shop carefully.

What does a homeowners insurance policy cover?

America has learned a lot about the ins and outs of insurance policies over the past few years with the ushering in of mandatory health insurance. While some services are covered in everyone’s health insurance policy, we’ve learned that not all policies are alike in other aspects and that our coverage may be quite different from our neighbor’s. Homeowners insurance policies too have similarities and differences.

Most homeowners insurance policies cover the loss of the structure, its major systems, items inside the home and damage or destruction of other structures on the property (sheds, etc.).

Types of homeowners insurance policies

The insurance industry offers eight different policies from which to choose, known as HO-1 to HO-8 (there is no HO-7). HO-3 (known as the “open perils” policy) is the one most homeowners choose. With this, you will be covered for damage to the home and other structures on the property. The perils typically listed in the policy include:

  • Windstorm damage
  • Damage from hail
  • Explosion
  • Fire
  • Lightning

If you’re purchasing a condo you will be required to purchase the HO-6 policy and, for vintage home-buyers the HO-8 policy may be best.

Shop for a company that doesn’t require a 4-point inspection if the home hasn’t been updated.

How much coverage should I buy?

The lender, will of course, have a certain minimum amount of coverage required and after that, it’s up to you. Your insurance agent may counsel you, however, that it’s smart to get coverage that provides for 100 percent of the cost to rebuild the home, and we agree.

To determine how much coverage you’ll need for the home’s content requires a thorough inventory of everything in the home. The Insurance Information Institute’s website provides a tutorial on how to take such an inventory. You’ll find it by clicking here.

Don’t leave your insurance agent out of the loop. He or she is an expert who deals with these matters on a daily basis so seek your agent’s counsel.

Then there the additional policies for items not covered in your primary policy to consider. For instance, if you live in a flood plain you may need additional insurance coverage.

How to shop smart for homeowners insurance

The first insurance company to call for a quote should be the one that covers your vehicle. Then, use the quote to compare to others. Get at least three quotes, although we think five is better.

How much does homeowners insurance cost?

The average cost, nationwide, for homeowners insurance is $1,096, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Remember, this is an average so yours may be more or less.

What is a home insurance binder?

If the company you choose has yet to issue your actual policy by closing, your lender may request that you bring a binder to closing. This is, simply, a one-page document that contains the insurance company’s commitment to insure the home. It acts as proof-of-insurance in most instances.

If you continue to have questions regarding homeowners insurance, consult with your insurance agent – your best resource in this instance.

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