Staying with your existing homeowner’s insurance company for several years might not always be the best option, whether it comes to reducing your costs or maximizing your coverage.
In this quick and informative article, I’ll outline some of the top tips to keep in mind when it’s time to shop for homeowner’s insurance, starting with the basics.
1. The Importance of Shopping Around
Most carriers provide some kind of renewal discount starting at the three-year mark, but the reality is that companies can file new rates with State Insurance Commissioners every year. As a result, I recommend shopping around for homeowner’s insurance every other renewal.
When starting the process, it’s also a wise idea to speak with friends and family members about their homeowner’s insurance recommendations. Furthermore, you can call an IHS Insurance Group team member directly, and we can begin shopping around to see if you have the best rates available.
2. Reviewing Your Limits
Shopping insurance companies also represents an ideal time to ensure that your policy’s limits (dwelling, other structures, personal property, etc.) are adequate to cover everything you own in the event of a total loss. After all, we regularly buy new things, get rid of others, and make changes to our home, so it’s a good idea to verify your insurance has kept up.
When it comes to personal property, dozens of inventory sites and apps can help you during the process. They’re also handy for estate planning. Here they are, in no particular order:
- Sortly (iOS and Android), Free w/in-app purchases
- BluePlum Home Inventory (iOS and desktop), $17.99
- MyStuff (iOS), $3.99
- Home Inventory (iOS), $39.99
- Magic Home Inventory (Android), Free
When it comes to determining how much it would cost to rebuild your home in the event of a total loss, the team at IHS Insurance Group can quickly work with you using in-depth replacement cost software, whether in-person or over the phone (more soon).
3. Reviewing Your Deductibles
The lower your policy’s deductible, the more you’ll pay in premium. Conversely, a higher deductible translates into lower premiums, but more money out of your pocket if a loss occurs.
Keep in mind that altering your deductible will not have an equally inverse impact on your premium. For example, increasing your deductible from $500 to $1,500 won’t necessarily decrease your premium by $1,000.
4. Learning About Customer Feedback
Once you’ve narrowed your options down to a handful of carriers, you can quickly learn more about their online customer reputation.
First, type ‘XYZ Insurance Company reviews’ into your favorite search engine and find out what others say about their experiences. You can also search on helpful sites like the Better Business Bureau and TrustPilot.
5. Understanding that Replacement Cost & Market Value Are Not the Same
The amount of money your home would currently sell for is known as its market value. Comparatively, your home’s replacement cost relates to its rebuild costs if it were a total loss.
For example, an older home in a depressed area might have a low market value. Still, its ornate original woodwork might be challenging to reproduce with commonly available labor, thereby making its replacement cost meaningfully higher than its market value.
The IHS team can help you accurately calculate your home’s replacement cost. Beforehand, gather essential details like its year built, roof and flooring types, and custom features.
5. Taking Advantage of Applicable Discounts
Carrying home and auto policies with the same company will generally deliver the most profound savings. However, you can still obtain significant discounts by having other personal lines policies with the same company, including personal articles floaters, umbrellas, and more.
Does your home have an alarm? If so, is it basic with a simple siren, or does it notify the authorities?
The billing plan you choose can also impact your overall homeowner’s insurance premium. For example, many carriers provide a small discount for paying your term’s premium in full, versus monthly installments. Furthermore, you could obtain additional savings by signing up for electronic funds transfer (EFT), which automatically draws payments from your account when they’re due.
6. Recognizing Your Credit Score Can Have a Big Impact on Your Insurance Premium
In addition to your credit, your insurance score considers many different factors, including your claims history, age/years of driving experience, your garaging zip code, and vehicle details (age, make, model).
Why’s this important? The lower your insurance score, the higher your auto rates will be, and vice-versa.
7. Choosing Between Independent & Captive Agents
Independent agencies like IHS can provide personalized service that larger companies can’t. We also have decades of combined experience at your disposal, and our knowledge of the process can save you loads of time. And as we all know in today’s age, time is money.
8. Reading Through Your Policy Documents
I’ll admit it: reading through homeowner’s insurance jargon isn’t always exciting. However, you’re paying for a product, and you deserve to understand exactly what kinds of coverage you’re getting for your money.
Your policy’s declarations page displays your coverage limits, deductibles, and endorsements for quick-and-easy reference and how much you pay. For additional details, you can dive into your policy’s exclusions and conditions.
Do You Have Additional Questions About Shopping for Home Insurance?
The staff at IHS Insurance Group is here to serve your needs, now and into the future. When it’s time for shop for homeowner’s insurance, we’re your go-to professionals!
Need a FREE Quote or have questions regarding shopping for home insurance? We have three convenient ways to reach us:
- If you prefer to talk to a licensed agent directly, please call (866) 480 5063.
- If you prefer to fill out a quick form and have an agent get back with you at your convenience, use the GET A FREE QUOTE.
- Lastly, for those that want an immediate quote, please click HERE.
We look forward to speaking with you today!