How to Choose a Homeowner’s Insurance Policy

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Pricing is important, but it shouldn’t be the only qualifying factor when deciding how your home is protected

Your home is very likely going to be the largest asset you will buy and you naturally want to protect your investment. Homeowner’s insurance will protect against potential damage and loss, and the majority of lenders today will require that you have insurance for your home at all times.

What Homeowner’s Insurance Covers

This type of insurance will help to protect a home against a variety of damage including storm damage, fire and theft. Not that most insurance companies will not cover any damage that occurs from flood or earthquakes. While earthquakes aren’t a typical problem in Florida, floods can be a potential threat and you may want to look at getting extra insurance to cover this possibility.

A homeowner’s insurance policy will typically cover the main structure of your home as well as additional structures, such as outbuildings, that you may have on the property. It can also cover the contents of you home, including your personal belongings. Keep in mind that most of the standard policies will not cover items that are extremely expensive, such as jewelry or rare collectibles. If you have expensive items, it is generally a good idea to have separate insurance that will cover them.

The policy will also include liability insurance. This means you’re covered in the event that a visitor is injured on your property. If the home is severely damaged, the policy may or may not include “loss of use,” which would cover the expense of another dwelling during the time your original home is being repaired and made habitable again.

Choosing Your Company and Plan

When you are shopping for insurance, you need to make sure that you don’t simply choose the first policy you find. You have to compare between three and five policies and companies – minimum. Keep in mind that you don’t usually want the cheapest insurance. You want something that’s affordable, but you also want it to provide you with the coverage you need.

When you are searching for companies, you can ask for personal referrals and check out online sites. Websites are a very common way to find insurers, get quotes and compare policies. Just make sure that when you are doing this, you are actually comparing identical plans that have the same amount of coverage. Be patient and look at all of the pros and cons of each of the plans, not just the overall price.

In addition, talk with the insurance company to see if there is a way that you might be able to reduce the cost, such as bundling the homeowner’s insurance with your car insurance. This could actually help you save some money in the end.

Once you find some companies that have policies that seem right for you, your home and your budget, it’s time to think about the company’s reputation. How long have they been in business and do they have a good name in the field? Are they notoriously hard to work with? High quality customer service is important and should certainly be something that you look for while perusing reviews of the company. If they have shoddy customer service practices, it means that filing a claim could become a nightmare, which is the last thing you need. Understand the claims process of the company as well.

You need to have a high quality homeowner’s insurance policy, so put in just as much effort to find the right company and policy as you did when you were looking for your dream home.