The state of Virginia can be vulnerable to disasters such as floods and hurricanes. You should review what your home insurance cover; a standard home insurance policy typically won’t cover any kind of flood damage.
Most lenders require you to get insurance if you have taken out a loan or mortgage on your property. Your policy should cover at least 80 percent of the replacement cost of your home according to the Virginia State Corporation Commission, or 100 percent if you have a mortgage.
Choosing an insurance policy for your home is a learning experience. You should research, compare, and consider your options in order to choose the best coverage. It is important to consider any minimum liability rates set by a lender if you have a mortgage or loan on your house.
Comparing Virginia Home Insurance Rates
Your home insurance premiums will vary depending on your home’s value and location. If you have a home near the Virginia coast then your premiums may be much higher than if you live in the mountains, where flash floods and hurricanes are less of a concern.
Most insurance companies set premiums based on how much they think they may pay out for your claims. This means that the more at risk your home is, the more you will have to pay for your insurance. Factors that determine how much you’ll pay for your home insurance premium include:
- Natural disaster risk for the area.
- Whether you’re a smoker (many insurance companies offer lower premiums for non-smokers).
- Your claims history.
- The age of your home.
- Whether you own a dog (because dogs are responsible for a high number of liability claims for dog bites, they may increase premiums, especially when in a dangerous breed category.)
- Whether you’ve installed security measures that protect your home, or reduce the risk of damage (such as window shutters, or a security alarm).
Factors That Affect a Home Insurance Policy in Virginia
While it’s important for you to compare insurance premiums when choosing home insurance, you should also pay close attention to the coverage offered by the insurance agency. For example, there are different policies available depending on the type of home, how much of the property is protected, and what types of damage are covered. Statistics show that wind, hail, and fire cause the most damage to homes, so these should be the most important items covered in your insurance policy.
Anyone with dogs can expect to pay more for liability insurance. This is because a large percentage of personal liability claims are due to dog bites. While Virginia does not have a list of dangerous dog breeds, you are required to register any "dangerous dog" according to Virginia law. If you believe that your dog may be a danger to others, you should register your dog with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. If your dog is on an insurer’s blacklisted breed list, your dog will not be covered by your home insurance policy.
Smokers can also expect to pay higher premiums because of the higher possibility of a house fire. Some insurance companies offer discounts to anyone who hasn’t smoked within the last two years.
It’s important to remember that many natural disasters won’t be covered by a standard home insurane policy. Exceptions include earthquake and flood damage. It’s possible to purchase a separate flood insurance policy through through the federal National Flood Insurance Program. Some insurers also sell earthquake insurance policies but if you live in a high-risk zone, you may not be able to get coverage.
Choosing a Home Insurance Policy in Virginia
It’s important to compare insurance policies if you want to choose the best rate and coverage for your Virginia home. Considerations to look into include:
- The insurer’s claim process and customer satisfaction rating.
- What exactly your home insurance policy covers.
- How much your deductible is. A higher deductible can lead to a lower premium but remember: You will need to pay the deductible out of pocket if a disaster occurs, so ensure you have the funds available to cover the deductible.
Frequently Asked Questions About Virginia Home Insurance
Here are some of the most common questions about Virginia home insurance:
1. How much should my deductible be?
The deductible establishes how much you pay out of your own pocket if something happens. You can choose your deductible based on your calculated risk and what you can afford to pay out of pocket should something happen.
2. How can I reduce my premium?
Lowering premiums is easy to do if you can lower your risk to an insurer. Some good solutions to lower your insurance risk include installing storm shutters and an impact-resistant roof. Installing a burglar alarm, deadbolts, carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms are all helpful and easy solutions to reduce your premium.
3. Is home insurance mandatory?
Home insurance isn’t mandatory in the state of Virginia. However, most lenders require that you purchase a minimum level of home insurance coverage if you take out a home loan or mortgage.
4. Is flood risk an issue?
Even if your home has a low risk of flooding, you may want to consider flood insurance. In Virginia, nearly one-fourth of all flood insurance claims are from homes that were at a low-risk for flooding. In fact, your home stands a 20 percent chance of being flooded over a 30-year period. While you aren’t required to have flood insurance unless you have a government-backed mortgage, it’s a good idea to get it. You can check to see if your area is part of the federal National Flood Insurance Program.
How to Get Great Rates on Virginia Home Insurance
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Virginia Home Insurance Resources
Virginia Bureau of Insurance
Consumer information on various kinds of insurance and preventing insurance fraud