How Do I Pick Homeowners Insurance?

Protect your home's structure and contents wih homeowners insurance.

Protect your home's structure and contents wih homeowners insurance.

A home is the biggest investment many young couples make. Homeowners insurance protects that investment from a number of risks. While most insurance policies offer the same basic coverages, the details and customer service set them apart. Your own interests aren't the only consideration. If you have a loan on the home, your lender has set requirements for insurance coverage. Without a policy of your own, your mortgage company will kindly place a policy in force for you -- usually at a high price. Choosing your own policy, on your own terms, is a better option.

Evaluate your needs for the homeowners policy, including the amount of coverage for personal possessions, liability and high-value items, such as paintings or antiques. Decide if you want a cash value, which pays the item's value including depreciation, or a replacement cost policy, which pays enough to replace the item. Consider the amount you can afford for the deductible, which you will have to pay if you file a claim.

Call a variety of insurance agents or brokers to get homeowners insurance quotes. Ask them to figure the quote using the amounts you determined would fit your needs. This allows you to compare the quotes equally because they will have the same coverages.

Ask about additional discounts that could lower the homeowners premium. This might include discounts for safety features in the home and multipolicy discounts for carrying more than one policy with the company.

Review the quotes received to look for small differences and to compare the premium amounts. Narrow down the options to the best three or four quotes.

Call your state's insurance department to ask about complaint index information, which calculates the number of complaints they have received in relation to the size of the insurance company. This information helps evaluate which companies offer the best customer service.

Research the financial stability of each insurance company by checking its ratings with Standard and Poor's, A.M. Best or Moody's rating systems. Look for a company that is financially stable for your own security.

Choose the policy that offers you the best coverage and provides quality customer service based on your research.

 

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