In the event of a disaster, such as fire or flood, your homeowners insurance policy will repair or replace your house and possessions. In many cases, the policy will also cover items missing after your home is burglarized. Knowing you have a policy in place that fits your family's needs provides security and comfort, but knowing how to choose the right company to handle that policy can be confusing. Comparing several companies before buying coverage can help you rest assured that you got the best bang for your buck.
Locate several companies in your area. Many companies have an online presence. You can also call your local Chamber of Commerce and request a list of their insurance company members. List the companies on a notepad with plenty of room beside each name to take notes as you conduct your research.
Determine an approximate amount of coverage you need before calling. While the agent you ultimately choose will help you narrow the policy to the exact amount of coverage you will need, having an idea of how much coverage you want to buy can help narrow the field. Calculate what it will take to rebuild your home and add it to the replacement value of your belongings to arrive at a starting figure.
Interview several companies. List beside each company what their premium is for your desired insurance coverage amount. Ask questions about how to file a claim and what the average time span is between filing a claim and getting a check.
Ask about personal liability coverage. If someone is injured on your property, your homeowners insurance should cover it. Ask about amounts of such coverage, including any caps or exclusions that would be attached to the policy.
Vary the deductibles. Once you decide on an appropriate amount of coverage ask for quotes using different deductibles. A deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket following a loss, after which, the insurance coverage kicks in. Deducible variables significantly impact premium amounts, so be sure to ask for a quote with low as well as high deducible amounts.
Check out discounts. Many companies offer homeowner insurance premium discounts for things such as nonsmokers, installing security and living in safer areas. Ask each company what discounts are available.
- Be careful when adding endorsements to your basic policy. Insurance companies are allowed to include endorsements that affect or change the coverage in the basic policy. Make sure that the changes caused by endorsements do not negatively alter the coverage you desire.
Candace Webb has been writing professionally since 1989. She has worked as a full-time journalist as well as contributed to metropolitan newspapers including the "Tennessean." She has also worked on staff as an associate editor at the "Nashville Parent" magazine. Webb holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a minor in business from San Jose State University.