Buying a home for the first time is an extremely stressful and confusing process. Not only do you have to spend time looking at houses, making offers, applying for loans, and planning your move, you also need to start looking into your first homeowners insurance policy.
With over 20 years of experience working with policyholders, we like to think we are experts when it comes to helping people looking at their homeowner’s insurance policies. Here are our tips for buying your first policy!
Shop For Insurance Early
Homeowners insurance is not something to buy in a day. There are so many companies that offer so many different rates, levels of coverage, and red tape hidden in the fine print that it is going to take you some time to find the best solution for you. Because of this, you should start the process of shopping for homeowners insurance early. Schedule time to talk to representatives from multiple companies and take down notes on the things that they do and do not cover. When asking about policies, make sure to ask very specific questions about very specific situations to get a good idea of what you are getting.
- Am I covered if my basement floods?
- A tornado hits my house?
- A hail storm leaves damage?
- A sink hole appears in my back yard?
The more of these specific questions you ask, the better idea you will have at the level of coverage you are getting, and the less likely you will run into problems later on down the road when you need to file a home insurance claim.
Things Every Homeowners Insurance Policy Should Have
What you are trying to uncover by asking those questions is what your insurance policy will cover and what it won’t. When looking at a policy, here are some things that you should definitely make sure are included.
- Water Damage: This can sometimes slip through the cracks of your policy.
- Liability Insurance: If someone is injured in your home, this makes sure that you are covered.
- Natural Disaster Insurance: Many policies cover standard damage, but may not cover you if your home is damaged in some kind of major disaster (such as a tornado or flood).
- Additional living expenses (ALE): This covers the cost of living if your home is destroyed and you need to, for example, stay in a hotel.
These are just some of the things that are included in a standard policy, but it is important to double-check that they are there.
In addition to the standard items, here are some other nice-to-haves
- Sewer and Drain Back-up
- Matching Siding and Roof Restoration
- Underground Services Lines
- Valued Possession Coverage
Tips To Save Money On Your First Home Insurance Costs
Now that you know what you should always have as a part of your policy, the next step is to shop around for prices.
Note: NEVER sacrifice coverage in order to get a lower cost. Make sure you are covered for everything that you need.
The best and easiest way to get a deal on your homeowner policy is by looking into bundles. If you already have other forms of insurance with a company (car insurance for example) you may be eligible for discounts with that provider. Now, just because a company does offer bundle pricing doesn’t always mean it will be cheaper, but it is a great place to start!
Another good thing to look for is other discounts that an insurance company might offer. Just by adding smart devices into your house and taking a few other small safety measures, you could reduce the amount you spend on your homeowners insurance fairly drastically.
What To Do If You Need To File A Claim
When you buy homeowners insurance, you hope that you never have to actually use it. But if you do, what is your first step? Should you contact your insurance company right away?
If you need to file a homeowners insurance claim, your first step should be to contact a public adjuster. We work with hundreds of homeowners each year to maximize their insurance settlements and fight to make sure their insurance companies are treating them fairly. With our help, you can be sure you will get the most out of that policy that you did so much work to research!