Now that you have bought a home, you need to protect it. Homeowners insurance protects both you and your property in the event of damage, accident, theft or other unforeseen circumstances. Take the time to shop and compare homeowners insurance to ensure you are getting the best rates and coverage. Shopping online or working with an insurance agent to get premium quotes will help shape your decision.
Contact an insurance agent to help find your homeowners insurance. If you do not know an agent or have a recommendation of one, visit the National Association of Health Underwriters’ website to search for an agent in your area. After providing the agent with information about your home, an agent will research plans and obtain quotes on your behalf.
Review your current policy and property assessment of your home to determine how much coverage you will need. Review the coverage amounts of the five standard features of most policies including dwelling, structures, personal property, additional living expenses and liability.
Visit the websites of two or three major insurance carriers to research what homeowners policies are available to you. Answer questions about your home’s location and plug in the dollar amount of coverage for the standard areas such as dwelling and personal property. A quote should display online but some companies may prefer to email or call you with the quote. You can also complete this process by calling the insurer and working with a telephone representative.
Go to websites that search multiple insurance companies for a homeowners policy quote. Answer questions and input desired dollar coverage amounts to obtain an annual premium quote.
Create a table to compare the plans and quotes. Document each insurance company name and their premium quote, deductible amounts, liability and other factors important to you. The table may be handwritten or put in a spreadsheet.
Compare each plan side by side, using your table. Knowing your budget and coverage needs, narrow it down to the top two or three best options.
Review the top plans to determine if they cover areas such as water damage (floods; sewer backup; water overflow caused by plumbing, freezing, and heating and air conditioning units), mold, foundation damage and earthquake damage. These features are not standard for all policies but may be important to you.
Visit online forums to read consumer comments on the insurance companies. A.M. Best, known for assigning ratings to insurance companies, is another online resource to measure the company’s quality. This information may influence your final decision.
Francine Richards is a licensed multi-state insurance agent with years of human resources and insurance industry experience. Her work has appeared on Blue Cross Blue Shield websites and newsletters, the Houston Chronicle and The Nest. Richards holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Maryland.