The state of West Virginia can be vulnerable to flooding, wildfires, wind and hail damage, which means that homeowners should look into purchasing home insurance to protect their house. In fact, if you want to take out a mortgage, your lender may require that you obtain home and flood insurance first.
Before choosing a home insurance policy, you need to determine what coverage you need and how much you can afford to pay each month, including the cost of the deductible. A deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket when an accident happens and can be set based on your budget. Consider the value of the items in your home before deciding how much to insure your possessions for.
Comparing West Virginia Home Insurance Rates
Home insurance rates vary from insurer to insurer. Experts recommend that you get insurance quotes from at least five or six insurers so you can be confident you’re buying the right home insurance policy for you. You should also keep in mind that coverage varies from policy to policy, even if the premiums or rates are the same. Also evaluate the service and options offered by the company. Better service such as a renewable policy after a claim may make higher premiums worthwhile. Things to look for include:
- If your policy will be renewed even if you make a claim.
- If your policy include replacement coverage. This is where your insurer will pay out the replacement coverage of an item rather than its actual cash value, which may be less. For example, if your TV is damaged in a storm, replacement coverage will allow you to replace the TV, whereas actual cash value is how much the TV was worth before it was destroyed, and its value would have depreciated over time.
- A good reputation (reviews from past and present customers are helpful).
If you have dogs, some companies may charge a higher premium, especially if you own a dog that’s on the blacklisted breeds list (dogs on the list are considered to be dangerous and more likely to bite people). Some insurers also charge more for smokers due to increased risk of a fire in your home. Replacement coverage usually costs more money than value coverage but is better in the end for many homeowners. Value considers the actual value of the item, which reduces over time. This means that if your TV is damaged because of a power surge, you only get the money it is worth rather than the funds to buy a new one.
West Virginia Flood Insurance
Floods are a common natural disaster in West Virginia, but a typical home insurance policy won't cover flood damage. If your home is in a federally designated flood zone, you may be able to purchase a separate flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program. Also, if you live in a flood zone and your mortgage is through a federal lender, you will have to buy flood insurance.
You may qualify for one of two types of flood insurance from FEMA depending on the flood risk in your area. Preferred risk policy flood insurance covers your home if you are in a low to medium risk zone. Premiums are also lower in these zones because it’s less likely you’ll have to file a claim. If you live in a high risk zone, you will have to pay normal flood insurance rates, which can be costly.
The West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has set up a flood management system to help reduce flooding and promote the awareness of flood insurance.
Frequently Asked Questions About West Virginia Home Insurance
As a homeowner, you should always ask your insurance provider as many questions as you can. Here are a few commonly asked questions:
1. How can I reduce my home insurance premium?
Most insurance companies offer discounts on home insurance. Almost all insurers offer discounts for installing home security systems and for home upgrades such as installation of wind and impact resistant roofing and siding.
2. What is the West Virginia FAIR plan?
The West Virginia FAIR Plan or Essential Property Insurance Association is a federal insurer. FAIR provides low cost insurance for anyone who otherwise would not qualify. If you have been denied home insurance coverage by private insurers, you may be able to purchase a basic plan through the FAIR plan.
3. Which types of home insurance are most important?
Depending on your location, you may require a variety of home insurance coverage. All homeowners should have basic home insurance to start. You can check the West Virginia Flood Tool to see if your home is in a flood risk area as most of West Virginia is at some risk of flooding. In addition, be sure to check locally to see if wildfires are an issue in your area which may require additional coverage in the event of fire damage.
How to Get Great Rates on West Virginia Home Insurance
Has it been a while since you shopped for homeowner’s insurance? Is so, loyalty doesn’t always pay because prices vary from insurer to insurer. Another company may offer you a much better deal. Looking for home or renter’s insurance quotes? insuranceQuotes.com can help you find the best homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy at the best price. Every year, we match 15 million consumers to the nation’s biggest home insurance companies, including Allstate, State Farm and Farmers.
West Virginia Home Insurance Resources
WV Insurance Commission
State of West Virginia site with links to regulations, forms, and consumer information