Insurers review many factors when calculating your home insurance rate. Some of these variables are beyond your control, but you do have some influence over how much you pay for home insurance. By pricing other insurers every few years at least, choosing a higher deductible, making sure you get all the discounts that you can and not filing too many claims, you can do your part to get the lowest insurance rates possible for your home. We'll explain these topics in detail:
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Some insurance agents, such as independent agents, will compare policies from multiple vendors. However, this does not mean that the agent has access to all of the vendor’s policies. As insurance agents represent insurers, they may or may not have the experience and expertise required to advise you regarding the best policy for your particular situation. While independent insurance agents may be able to offer you more choices as they work with companies that are competing for your business, they generally only sell the insurance options that will provide them with the biggest profits. Keep this in mind when choosing between an insurance broker and insurance agent.
Ideally, you should base your property coverage limits on how much it would cost to rebuild your home. That's sometimes the house's current market price, but it could climb higher. You should consider insuring over market price if your house is older, you've got other structures on your property (like a shed or four-car garage), or construction costs in your area run high, for example.
Independent agencies including A.M. Best, Standard & Poor’s, and Moody’s provide ratings on the financial strength of insurance companies. These agencies asses the ability of an insurance company to remain solvent in the event of major crisis or difficult economic times. While companies of such status seem invulnerable to failure, not even they have limitless funds. One notable example: American International Group (AIG) needed a government bailout during the 2008 recession. While many circumstances can influence the financial state of these corporations, their agency ratings are a valuable metric. A good rating is confirmation that an insurer can back your claim when it matters most.
A homeowners insurance policy also differs from mortgage insurance, which is typically taken on home buyers making a down payment of less than 20% of the cost of the property. Mortgage insurance covers the lender for issuing a loan to a home buyer who otherwise might not be able to get the loan required. Basically, a homeowners insurance protects the homeowner and a mortgage insurance protects the lender.
Whether you own a home already or you’re house-hunting, it’s wise to know average home insurance rates for your state so you can anticipate what your expense is when shopping your policy and creating a family budget. Knowing what you can expect to pay also helps you save money when comparing rates because you can more easily flag rates that are above the average home insurance cost for your area.