Home shopping is an arduous, complex process with many, many steps. One step that is often overlooked by buyers is obtaining insurance coverage. As insurance companies will tell you, they routinely get phone calls from frantic title or escrow firms because the buyer forgot to secure coverage. Experts recommend buyers start shopping for coverage as soon as the seller accepts their offer, giving themselves plenty of time to shop around and find the policy that best fits their needs. It’s also a good idea to compile some information before calling insurers to speed up the process.
When you call an insurer to obtain a quote, the agent will need certain information before a rate is quoted. In addition to your personal information, the agent will also need to know some details about the home you are buying. These details include the age, square footage and location of the home, as well as how old the plumbing and electrical wiring are, the type and shape of the roof and the number of claims filed on the house over the last five years. If you’re buying a country home nowhere near a fire department, some insurers will refuse to cover it. In that case, you will have to shop around and may have to use a specialty insurer, which generally takes more time.
When you’ve gathered all the information you need, it’s time to familiarize yourself with home insurance policies, how they work and some tips to save you money. One was to reduce your monthly premiums, or the monthly fees paid for coverage, is to go with a higher deductible. This is the amount that you’ll pay before insurance kicks in when you make a claim. The higher the deductible, the lower the monthly premiums. Be careful, however, as many lenders have a cap on your deductible, and you may lose financing if you get the wrong policy. So contact your lender before taking a policy with a high deductible.
Another way to save money on insurance is to make sure all the discounts you are eligible for are being applied. Insurers offer discounts for a variety of reasons, though individual agents may not always ask all the pertinent questions to determine your eligibility. Some common insurance discounts are for 24-hour alarm monitoring service, senior citizens or multi-policy discounts. Multi-policy discounts are offered by most insurers when policy holders hold more than one type of coverage with the same firm. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to go ahead and get a quote from your auto insurer, if they offer home insurance, even if you’ve already received a low quote from somebody else. Regardless of who you’re getting the quote from, however, make sure to ask them to run through all their discounts.