Consider Insurance Costs Before Buying a Home
Most buyers overlook one important factor when they consider the cost of a new home: insurance. Instead, they tend to focus on property taxes, the neighborhood, the school district, recreational and cultural facilities, the commute time, and, of course, the house itself. But they don’t calculate how much home insurance they will need to protect their investment, even though they will have to pay insurance for as long as they own that house. So, before you put down a down payment for your dream house, here are a few questions you will need to answer before you apply for insurance quotes:
• How far is the home from the fire department? Houses near a fire station staffed with professional firefighters typically cost less to insure. Since firefighters can limit the damage from a fire, the cost to insure your home is lower. Another factor that could influence the cost of your home insurance policy is your home’s building material: brick, wood, stucco, stone, etc.
• What is the condition of the plumbing and electrical systems? Homes built by reputable craftsmen and professionals to meet modern engineering-based building codes are less likely to be damaged by fire, wind, lightning and other natural disasters. Plumbing and electrical systems can become unsafe with age and poor maintenance. If the house has unsafe and/or outdated systems, your home insurance rates will be higher.
• Is the house well built and well maintained? Homes built by respected builders to meet current building codes are also less likely to be harmed by severe weather. If the house has a new roof and is made with fire and/or hail resistant materials, you may even qualify for a discount on your home insurance policy. Stately, older homes with ornate features — plaster walls, ceiling molding and wooden floors — may be handsome, but they are also more susceptible to damage. Typically, they have higher home insurance rates. If you are considering buying an older home, you may want to obtain free insurance quotes from InsuranceQuotes.com in order to calculate your insurance costs.
• Do you need flood insurance? Many homeowners don’t realize that if it rains in their area, their homes can become flooded. You don’t have to live near a river or in an area prone to hurricanes. After a severe rainstorm, drainage systems could become clogged and water could back up into your home. Flood insurance is not covered under standard homeowners insurance policies. However, it is available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program. If your community participates in NFIP, you can buy federally-sponsored insurance through private carriers. Even if your community is not in the NFIP program, you can still buy what’s called a preferred risk policy to protect for your home.
• Do you need protection from wind damage? Most standard homeowner policies cover direct damage from wind. Make sure your policy gives you enough coverage to adequately reimburse for your losses. Don’t try to save a few dollars on a low deductible, if you can’t afford to rebuild later. Note you may have restrictions on wind damage coverage, if you reside near the Atlantic or Gulf coasts. And if your home is located on or near a beach, your home insurance may be more expensive.
• Do you need earthquake coverage? Earthquake coverage is not included in standard policies. Find out if your area is in an earthquake zone. The cost of coverage depends where you live and your proximity to the earthquake prone zone.
A knowledgeable home inspector and your insurance agent can help you answer many of these questions. Whether you are buying your first home or upgrading to a new one, it is critical that you assess your insurance needs.
Once you have determined the best coverage for your family’s needs, you’re ready to obtain home insurance quotes. Call agents in your local area, contact several insurance companies directly or use InsuranceQuotes.com to instantly get competitive insurance quotes from the nation’s leading insurance providers. Take the time to protect you and your family today.