Located in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Oregon is a state in which it can rain on any given day throughout the year. This excess moisture and cold weather brings with it the potential for structural damage due to snowstorms, ice and hail.
The state of Oregon doesn’t require homeowners to purchase a home insurance policy, but it’s a good idea in order to protect your assets. Keep in mind that once you experience property loss or a natural disaster, it is too late to purchase a policy and receive coverage.
Comparing Oregon Home Insurance Rates
As you are shopping for home insurance in Oregon, you should take the time to speak with more than one insurance company or agent. This way, you will be able to find the cheapest rate for the level of coverage that you need for your home and property.
As you evaluate your options, it is important to know that there are several factors that can affect the cost of your home insurance policy. Note that the state mandates carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms in all Oregon homes. Some factors that can affect your policy costs are:
- Age of the primary dwelling.
- Presence or absence of an alarm system and deadbolts.
- Area of the state the home is located in (coastal area vs. middle or eastern part of the state).
- Age of the occupants.
- Proximity to a fire hydrant.
Many incidents are covered under a common home insurance policy, such as sudden and accidental damage caused by fire, theft, wind, and hail. There are, however, several scenarios not covered by a standard policy in Oregon. Some scenarios include:
- Flood damage.
- Water damage that has been proven to occur over time (and the damage was caused by your neglect).
- Boats and other watercraft.
- Damage caused by failure to maintain your home.
- Mobile homes, unless attached to the ground with a permanent foundation.
If you’re concerned about flooding and earthquake damage, your agent can advise you about your options for separate policies that cover such events. A good resource is the FloodSmart program, run by the U.S. government.
Preparing for Oregon Weather Incidents and Losses
The threat of severe storms and loss in Oregon is not as high as many other states. That being said, there is still the possibility that you and your family may need to leave your home suddenly and without advanced warning. This is why you should have a plan in place, just in case. Some things that you can do include:
1. Create a home inventory with video and pictures of your belongings, if possible.
2. Have an emergency bag packed for each member of your household and one for any pets that you have. You should pack a blanket and rain jacket as well as a change of season-appropriate clothes and food and water.
3. Know where you will go if you have to leave suddenly. This can be a friend or relative's house that is not in the same general area. Keep a list of addresses and phone numbers with your other important papers.
4. Keep your birth certificates, social security cards, and other important documents in a central location so that you can grab and go.
Frequently Asked Questions About Oregon Home Insurance
There are several questions that Oregon residents ask when shopping for home insurance. Some of the most common questions are:
1. What is extended replacement cost coverage?
This is a policy add-on that insures a home for a specific value and also adds a 20 to 25 percent cost cushion. Not all policies have this coverage; an agent can give further information.
2. Is mold damage covered?
Mold is one of those exclusions not covered under a home insurance policy. This falls under failure to maintain a structure.
3. Should policyholders insure their home for worth or for cost?
It is always advisable to have enough insurance coverage to rebuild your dwelling in case of a loss. For this reason, most agents recommend insuring for replacement cost.
4. Can a policyholder lower insurance costs?
There are several things you can do to lower your monthly premium. Every insurance agent has a list of improvements you can make to your dwelling as well as lifestyle factors that can lower your cost.
How to Get Great Rates on Oregon Home Insurance
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Oregon Home Insurance Resources
Here are some resources to get you started in learning about Oregon insurance.
Oregon Insurance Division
Information on insurance laws and other insurance-related matters for Oregon consumers
Oregon Home and Renters Insurance
Oregon’s Consumer Guide to Homeowner and Tenant Insurance