Whether you live in one of Alaska's bigger cities or in a rugged, rural area, having home insurance protects your property and valuables. The State of Alaska doesn't require you to carry home insurance, many lenders do if you have a home mortgage. Even if you don't have a home loan there are many good reasons to purchase a home insurance policy.
Comparing Alaska Home Insurance Rates
Home insurance rates in Alaska vary widely. Several factors come into play when an insurance company sets your premium, including:
- Home value
- Year of home construction
- Availability of fire protection (smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, etc.)
- Your preferred deductible
- Your credit score
You may also get a discount for having more than one policy with the company, such as a home and auto policy. Check with your insurance company for exact policies and restrictions.
One important thing to think about when shopping for a home insurance policy is if you need earthquake insurance. Alaska has more earthquakes than any other U.S. state. Some areas of the state are more vulnerable than others, which will factor into the cost of earthquake insurance.
You can use mapping tools from the U.S. Geologic Survey to determine if you are in a high-risk earthquake zone. Standard homeowner's policies do not cover losses from earthquakes or floods. Therefore, you must purchase a separate policy to protect against this natural disaster. You can search FEMA's available products to find flood insurance in Alaska.
The State of Alaska Division of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development Division of Insurance offers helpful background materials on all kinds of insurance, including home insurance. You can use this information when shopping for your home insurance policy.
Taking Precautions Against Earthquake Damage in Alaska
Alaska is the site of three of the eight largest earthquakes in the world's history. On average, 1,000 earthquakes occur in the state every month, although many are minor. Some Alaska homes and buildings have built-in earthquake precautions. Still, you should take steps to protect your home and safety, especially if you live in a high-risk area.
There are several things you can do to protect your home against earthquake damage, including:
- Correct structural weaknesses (reinforce masonry walls and foundations)
- Brace water heaters
- Install safety shutoff valves on gas lines
- Secure furniture and possessions to walls
You can get more information on how to protect yourself and family before, during, and after an earthquake from The Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Frequently Asked Questions About Alaska Home Insurance
1. How much home insurance do you need?
Insurance policies are highly customizable to address your coverage needs and wishes. In most cases, you need enough insurance to cover any mortgage on your home. You may also want to consider having insurance to cover the rebuilding of your home, should a total loss occur. Another thing to consider is liability coverage, which protects you from lawsuits resulting from your negligence. A reputable insurer can review options and craft the right policy for you.
2. Can the insurance company cancel your policy?
Under Alaska law, insurers cannot cancel an insurance policy except under very specific conditions. For a homeowner's policy, your insurer can cancel your policy if you fail to pay the premium or if you commit insurance fraud or other crimes. Plus, policy cancellation is possible if your home becomes uninsurable due to material changes.
3. What happens if you don't agree with what the insurer offers to pay you for a loss?
Sometimes, claim disputes do arise. In Alaska, the state requires use of an appraisal process to settle any disputes between you and your insurer for property loss claims. Both you and your insurer select independent appraisers to review the loss; each of you must pay for your selected appraiser. The appraisers select a neutral umpire. The agreed upon amount is binding on both you and your insurer, if both appraisers agree. However, if they don't agree, the umpire reviews the differences. Once an appraiser and the umpire agree, this amount is binding on you and the insurer.
How to Get Great Rates on Alaska Home Insurance
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Alaska Home Insurance Resources
Alaska Division of Insurance
Insurance regulations and consumer information on insurance in Alaska