Tips for Purchasing Homeowner’s Insurance
Here’s the truth: there’s no one “right” way to buy home insurance that will work for every shopper. However, there are still several high-level criteria you can use to make the process easier and less stressful.
Based on our decades of combined experience, IHS Insurance Group will quickly provide you with a framework for determining your “best” way to shop for home insurance. Let’s begin with step one.
Should You Obtain Home Insurance Quotes from an Independent Agency, or Through Each Company?
The first choice you’ll need to make is whether you obtain your homeowner’s insurance quotes from an independent agency, or directly through each carrier. What are the differences?
Compared to calling each carrier yourself and providing the same information multiple times, the IHS team collects your details once and then obtains quotes from our top insurance companies, which allows us to comparison shop while you’re free to enjoy more time with your family.
The IHS team can also help you select from a pool of companies where your needs and preferences might fit best, based on our years of professional experience working with top-rated carriers.
In general, we recommend obtaining quotes from at least three different carriers, so that you can get a solid idea of the rates and coverages available to you.
Here’s some of the information we’ll need to begin the quoting process:
- Your name, address, and social security number
- A high-level estimate of the value of your personal property
- The pets and other animals in your household
- The presence of other misc. exposures, such as pools, trampolines, business on the premises, and so forth
We’ll also need to complete an estimate of your home’s replacement cost, which we’ll talk more about in the next section.
Why is it Important to Figure Out Your Home’s Replacement Cost When Shopping for Insurance?
It’s crucial to keep in mind that, because carriers must rebuild your home if it’s deemed a total loss for a covered claim, they’re not concerned about market value, or what it costs to purchase your home from a seller. Instead, they want to know what it would cost to replace your home using like-kind building materials and construction methods.
With this said, even if you and your neighbor live in a development where your homes were built the same year and feature the same floorplan and square footage, the reality is that they can come with different replacement costs, based on upgrades you’ve made and amenities you’ve added.
Additional factors that can impact the replacement cost of any home include:
- Your home’s architectural style
- Garage size
- Exterior materials (e.g., siding, masonry, etc.)
- Roof type and age (e.g., asphalt shingle, tile, etc.)
- HVAC system type and age
- Your home’s appliances and their condition
- The presence of other structures such as a deck, gazebo, pool, fencing, etc.
IHS Pro Tip: Keep in mind that if you own a higher-value home, the insurance company may conduct an inspection after your policy is issued, and potentially adjust your home’s replacement cost based on the results.
What Other Coverage Options Should You Consider When Shopping for Home Insurance?
Although your dwelling’s replacement cost is arguably the most important single factor to consider when shopping for insurance, you’ll also need to have a high-level idea of how much liability coverage you need based on real estate you own, as well as other assets like your investments.
Furthermore, you’ll want to determine your ideal deductibles (what you must pay out-of-pocket after filing a claim), along with optional endorsements like scheduled personal property, umbrella (excess liability), replacement cost (versus actual cash value) on your dwelling and personal property, and for excluded perils like earthquake and flood.
Lastly, keep in mind that factors like your claims history, which can go as far back as five years, and your insurance score can ultimately affect what you pay for coverage under a home insurance policy.
How Can You Learn More About Each Home Insurance Carrier?
After you’ve narrowed down your choices to a handful of carriers, it’s essential to find out more information about them: namely, their financial ratings and online customer reputations.
You can learn more about a carrier’s financial ratings from organizations like AM Best and Standard and Poor’s. In our experience, you’ll probably want to select an insurer with an A- rating or higher, since those with lower scores often have more consumer complaints.
Along these same lines, make sure that you find out what a carrier’s policyholders are saying, which can be a piece of cake using sites like the Better Business Bureau, Consumer Affairs, WalletHub, Reviews.com, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Another great resource is JD Power’s annual Insurance Company Customer Satisfaction Survey.
Bottom Line: IHS Insurance Group is Standing by to Help You Buy Your Next Home Insurance Policy
The fact of the matter is that insurance carriers file new rates with states each year, and materials and labor costs change frequently based on factors such as demand and inflation.
As a result, the team at IHS Insurance Group recommends recalculating your home’s replacement cost annually, as well as obtaining new quotes from third-party carriers to ensure the company you’re with still represents a substantial value, based on your unique combination of needs and preferences.
Need a FREE Quote or have questions regarding Home Insurance Coverage? 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!