Buying home insurance is mandatory if you have a mortgage and is an important purchasing decision you must make in order to protect one of your largest investments - you're house. To find the right amount of coverage at the most affordable rate for your single family home, townhouse, duplex, condo or other rental property, you'll need to get homeowners insurance quotes from multiple companies and choose the quote that is best fit for your unique situation. You can quickly and easily obtain free quotes from multiple companies for your house using our free services. Simply complete a few questions with your basic house and contact information and you'll be contacted by our network of leading home insurers offering you the most complete coverage for the cheapest price. Compare these comprehensive rate quotes and choose the one that is right for you. It's that easy! Start protecting your investment by getting cheap home insurance quotes on your coverage today.
Homeowners insurance provides specific hazard protection and liability insurance to covered policy holders against covered risks to their house and property. House insurance policies contain specific coverage against specific named perils. These perils include fire, lightning, windstorm, hail damage, damage cause by explosion, civil riots, civil disturbance, aircraft, vehicle, smoke, volcanic eruption, falling objects, weight of ice, snow, sleet and even freeze damage to plumbing, heating, air conditioning or household appliance. Additionally perils covered by a home insurance policy also include protection from loss of theft, glass breakage, vandalism or malicious mischief and damage from a sudden and accidental discharge of an artificially generated electrical current or damage caused by sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning or bulging of a heating/air-conditioning system, a fire-prevention sprinkler system or an appliance for heating water.
Named perils commonly excluded from homeowners policies (be sure to check for specific exclusions) may include damage caused by flood, earthquake, war, nuclear accidents or earth movement. Many home owners however, often buy endorsements or separate coverage specifically protecting them from these type of hazards.
In situations where the covered policy holder owns personal possessions of some value, additional endorsements covering these possessions can be added as well. Jewelry, artwork, firearms, technical and electronic equipment, and other valuables can be protected with these separate endorsements. To cover especially valuable items like these, homeowners need to know the specific guidelines they have to follow in order to ensure that their possessions are insured against any hazard of concern. These guidelines may include directions like taking photos and keeping sales receipts for valuables insured in this manner.
Typical Homeowners Insurance Coverage
There are seven types of home insurance but most policies can be divided into two categories - "Named-Peril Insurance" and "All-Risk Insurance." According to a 1998 NAIC report however, approximately 83% of homes were covered by policies that were homeowner-occupied. Of these homes, a whopping 87% had the HO3 Special and 9% had the more expensive HO5 Comprehensive. Both of these policies are "All-Risk Insurance" polices and are quite clearly the most common policy of American home owners nationwide. For this reason alone, it's important to compare rates from leading house insurers who can provide competitive rates in your area so you know you're not over paying. Named-peril insurance alternatively pay only for the causes of loss specified in the policy and are common amongst renters and condo insurance policies because they don't cover the structure.
The seven standardized homeowners insurance policies include:
HO1 - Basic Form
This basic policy provides coverage for your home against 11 listed perils, which include the following: fire or lightning, windstorm or hail, vandalism or malicious mischief, theft, damage from vehicles and aircraft, explosion riot or civil commotion, glass breakage, smoke, volcanic eruption, and personal liability. Exceptions include floods and earthquakes. Your contents are generally included in this type of coverage, but must be explicitly enumerated (clearly listed as covered by the policy).
HO2 - Broad Form
This is a more advanced policy that provides coverage for your home against the 17 listed perils and all of the 11 perils listed in the HO1 policy. The coverage is generally a "named perils" policy that lists the events that would be covered.
HO3 - Special Form
The typical, most comprehensive policy used for single-family homes. This type of policy provides "All-Risk Insurance" coverage with some excluded perils, such as earthquakes and floods. Contents are covered on a named peril basis.
HO4 - Renter's
This is a policy for people who rent their home and need coverage for their personal property but not for the structure of the home, which would be the homeowners responsibility. It is a "Tenants" policy for renters. It covers contents/personal property against the same perils as the contents portion of the HO2 or HO3.
HO5 - Premier
Covers the same as HO3 and more. This policy covers contents on an open peril basis, which means that contents will be covered for that cause of loss as long as the cause of loss is not specifically excluded in the coverage. This coverage may also be achieved by endorsing an HO15 to the HO3.
HO6 - Condominium
The policy for owners of condominium. These policies typically cover an association deductible that your homeowners association may require to rebuild your unit. Check with your HOA documents to make obtain coverage for the right amount.
HO8 - Older Home
"Modified Coverage" policies are intended for the owner-occupied older home whose replacement cost far exceeds the market value of the property.
"All-Risk Insurance" covers losses except those specifically excluded in the policy and contains specific coverages protecting policy holders against risks and hazards. Property damage protection is included in every home owners housing coverage and is often a percentage of the total coverage amount unless it's a renters or condominium policy. Damage to the real estate property (the physical structure of the home) is included in this portion of coverage so long as it's covered by the named perils listed in the policy. This coverage will ensure you are protected if there is property damage from any named perils. It typically covers floods inside the home that are caused by plumbing problems if you have purchased "sewer backup" protection that is an addition to your policy you may need to inquire about, but will not cover floods caused by water coming into the home from the outside. Flood damage from rising river beds and other weather based occurrences are not covered by standard homeowners policies. Separate homeowners insurance protection for this hazard or occurrences can be purchased. In flood prone regions of the country, this insurance rider can be extremely expensive to the homeowner.
Personal possessions inside a house are also included in the coverage provided by homeowners insurance. Policy holders have to decide how much of this coverage they want to buy at the outset of the policy period. Any damages sustained beyond this limit are not covered by their insurer, and have to be paid out of pocket which is why it's imperative for policy buyers to make sure they accurately determine the level of personal property protection they need when they first buy homeowners insurance coverage or compare their existing coverage after not having reviewed it in the previous six months. Doing a personal property inventory of you're home may take some time, but knowing you have enough protection against a named peril to cover all of your things in a total loss is certainly worth your time and energy.
Besides personal property limits that you'll determine after calculating how much it would cost to replace your belongings, liability protection is also included in a homeowners insurance policy. Home owners liability insurance protects you and your family against claims arising from bodily injury or property damage for which you are legally responsible. An example of a situation covered by liability insurance might include a slip and fall injury on your property, if your dog bites a neighbor, or if your broken pipe causes damage to a neighbor's condominium.
When it comes to medical expense coverage, each state administers liability civil cases differently and homeowners should be aware of the laws of the states in which they live.
If your home becomes unfit to live in because of damage from a covered incident, your homeowners policy provides may provide payment for the increased cost of lodgings, meals, etc...
Importance of Home Insurance
These days, as house prices continue to drop and interest rates remain low cost, many people are getting into the real estate market for the first time. New homeowners and anyone thinking about buying a house needs to know the importance of homeowners insurance. There are many reasons why this type policy is an important, and often required, one to carry. Whether you're a first time home buyer or are purchasing a second home as an investment with prices so affordable, factoring in the costs of homeowners insurance is important. This is a vital expense well worth paying every month and because buyers, whether they plan to be landlords or live in the home, need an accurate portrayal of what a new house is really going to cost them each month.
When consumers go house shopping, they tend to focus on extra costs like property taxes and things of that nature but usually do not put much thought into the cost of homeowner insurance on the properties they're considering. This is unfortunate because these costs can vary widely even among similarly valued homes. Many factors can influence these prices from the previous loss history for that property, building costs, furnishing and even the crime rate in the immediate local vicinity, so it's a good idea to gather some quotes for a homeowners policy before spending a fortune on coverage you'll likely never think about again unless you need it.
You will pay for homeowners insurance for the entire time you have a mortgage home, so this cost should get some attention during the shopping process; especially when prices can vary significantly depending on so many factors. No one likes to discover that the house they choose to buy for its affordablility is not quite so cheap after they factor in high homeowners insurance rates. It is smart to find out important cost and coverage information when you are house shopping to help ensure affordable homeowners insurance rates.
Buying a New Home
These are the a few questions you might consider asking your realtor when entertaining the thought of putting in an offer on your new found home. This is the time when the realtor will earn his or her commission so get the straight facts and get armed with the information needed to make the right call. Do not be seduced by a low cost listing price only to find out that the homeowners insurance is hundreds of dollars more than what you can afford.
It'll be a good idea to find out how far you're new found home is from the fire department and/or hydrants. The further a home is from the nearest fire station and hydrants, the more likely it is to burn down in a fire. Homeowners insurance companies will take this into calculation when determining you're rates for homeowners insurance coverage.
Find out about the condition of the electrical and plumbing systems. Outdated or poorly maintained systems can lead to increased homeowners insurance rates of claims and some HO policies may not provide coverage for homes with outdated systems. The loss history on these homes tends to force up the cost of insurance which is exactly why you'll need to make sure the home insurance company will cover you're new pad in it's current state. To keep homeowners insurance prices low, make sure the home you buy has up to date and fully functional plumbing and electrical or you're insurer could decline your claim if you've lied on a homeowners application.
Get the facts on the location of your house as it pertains to special types of hazards or risks such as windstorms, flood, earthquakes and hurricanes. These hazards and risks are generally not insurable under a standard policy, but you can get special coverage from specialty home insurers and/or special riders or endorsements on your homeowners insurance policy if need be. You might move into a house thinking it is perfect, only to find that it has a flood hazard every time it rains heavily. If this is the case, you can either purchase expensive flood homeowners insurance or to try to prepare the home as best you can to withstand these damages that may or may not occur.
Homeowners insurance is a standard expense that is required by your mortgage company and it will come in handy when and if you ever experience a loss and need to file a claim. Home owners cannot do much of anything to completely eliminate the cost of home insurance. The best idea is to compare rates and policies every 12 months in order to better determine what types of coverage you might need and how much you might save by switching insurers. Homeowners can access competitive quotes with our nationwide network of licensed insurance companies that will actually compete for your business.
Savvy house owners will recognize the opportunity they have to save money when searching for a quality policy that reflects their coverage needs by shopping online. Use our network of leading home insurance providers to explore the possibilities for lower priced homeowners insurance in your neighborhood. Get your free online quotes today and obtain the best homeowners insurance coverage to protect you, your family and your assets.
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