- Before you begin house-hunting, check your credit history. Many insurers take into account this important financial responsibility indicator when determining whether to insure you, and at what price.
- Compare insurance rates by location. Rates may be higher for a home in a central-city, higher crime area or rural location with no fire hydrants and miles from police or fire stations.
- Consider a home’s design and age in the insurance equation. Older homes typically cost more to insure. And brick or masonry structures typically have lower premiums than wood framed homes.
- Understand the natural disaster profile in your target neighborhood. Floods and earthquakes are generally not covered under a standard policy. You may need additional coverage.
- Shop around. Contrary to popular belief, you are not required to purchase insurance from the company your lender recommends.
- Once you move in, create an inventory of your possessions and store the information in a safe place. The free MyHOME Scr.APP.Book mobile app from NAIC lets you quickly capture photos, descriptions and serial numbers so you don’t under-report losses should you need to file a claim.
- Consider installing protection devices in your home, such as smoke detectors, a burglar alarm, a sprinkler system, deadbolts on doors or security devices for windows. Many insurers offer a discount if you have these safety features.
- Alert your insurance company when making any major home improvements, usually anything more than $5,000. You will want to update your homeowners policy to reflect the new enhancement and prevent being underinsured.
- Determine if you need to purchase an endorsement or floater to cover additional possessions, e.g., jewelry, antiques, art, collectibles, etc.
- If you decide to start a home-based business, understand that most standard homeowners policies don’t cover home-based business losses. Consider purchasing additional coverage, such as professional liability insurance and coverage for business property.
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