Homeowners Insurance Advice
I am looking for Advice on New Homeowners Insurance
If you are like me and in the market for new homeowners insurance then you have come to the right place to find out a few tips along the way with me. Most likely money is tight, you are not in the mood to pay a higher premium this year to your insurance company just because they feel like hiking it up on you. Maybe you have an inconsiderate insurance agent and you are sick and tired of it.
Whatever your reason to be seeking a new insurance company for your home I am here to help. The world is full of insurance companies and I for one feel we all have the right to choose who we want to use. You should never ever feel like you are stuck with your insurance company for any reason even if you have filed a claim on your house with your insurance company you still have the right to change your insurance company at any time for any reason.
Often times when we call our insurance company because of a problem the agent will not tell you that it is completely up to you weather or not you want to call the claims department to make a claim or not. You do not have to have your agents approval to file a claim. Let me say that again your agent is not going to want you to ever file a claim so if you have damages to your home make sure you have the claims department phone number so you can just call them directly to file the claim. If the claim is not covered or is not going to reach the deductible amount it will never hurt to hear this from a claims adjuster as opposed to your insurance agent.
The insurance adjuster is the person who comes to your home to look at the damages. If the adjuster turns your claim down you have the right to dispute the adjusters findings. You have the right to pay an expert home inspector to inspect the problem & determine the cause of the problem if the cause is at issue. This is what I did to dispute a claim that was turned down by my insurance company, the adjuster tried to tell me that my roof was damaged by settling of the land even though I heard the roof damage myself during a storm with very high winds.
I had called my insurance agent the next day after the storm & told her of my extensive damage & her advice was that the damage was not enough to reach my deductible & that my roof damage was from settling of the ground even though she never even looked at the damage! I decided to file a claim against my agents advice. Once the insurance adjuster came out & looked at the damage he told me the cause was settling & that it was not covered however he stated, if I found an expert that had a different opinion then his he would revisit the claim. I took this as he was not an expert & this was only his opinion turns out I was correct. I hired a house inspector for $100.00 & he said the complete opposite of the claims adjuster. He found that the evidence clearly showed wind damage was the cause of my roof damages & that the adjuster told me the complete opposite of the truth. Shock & awe, shock & awe the claims adjuster flat out lied! Yes you read that correctly he lied right straight to my face.
Just know that you do have rights. Likewise be aware that your insurance company will do anything to get out of paying any claim on your home. The insurance company does not want to be out any money at all so expect them to try their best not to have to pay anything. This is the very reason I am writing this hub to help other people like myself that are to busy to think about or expect that my insurance company is not looking out for my best interest. I hope this hub helps other people to know they have rights. If you have any questions at all please feel free to ask, I will do my best to help in any way I can.
First Step Find Out How Insurance Companies Rate with Others
In my opinion the first thing I have done is ask my friends & family who they use and if they are happy with them. Here is my unscientific pole of my friends and family of who they use and how happy they are. As you can see there were 13 people in my graph. The top rated among them is Farm Bureau. The second highest rated was State Farm. I have received some great feed back from friends & family with this question and most people had advice about their passed insurance agencies. There are two graphs below with this information, one for ratings the other with poor ratings.
Good Ratings GraphClick thumbnail to view full-size
Who is your Insurance Company?See results without voting
Poor Ratings GraphClick thumbnail to view full-size
There are some great sites out there with some wonderful information. Customer ratings are number one in my book when you are looking for a new policy. That is definitely where I am going to start. I am very unsatisfied with my insurance company because of the lack of professionalism on their part as well as their lack of concern with my families safety.
Did You Know:
There are things that will determine a higher insurance rates on your home
When you buy a home, don't forget to consider the insurance costs. These cost will affect the price you are paying for your home. Among the things to consider:
- Construction of the home, in relation to the geographical region. -brick homes may result in less costly premiums in the East whereas frame houses are less costly in the West. Chose wisely it could cut your premium by 5 to 15%.)
- Whether the area is prone to floods -if so, you could pay as high as $300-$400 or so a year extra for flood insurance.
- Whether the home is new or used -Many insurer's offer a discount of 8 to15% for a new home).
- The condition of the electrical system, plumbing, and structure.
- Whether the home is close to a hydrant or fire station will help determine your premium.
- If you have a dog this could raise your premium
- If you have a pool this could affect your costs as well.
Tips to Save you Money
Consider Increasing The Deductible
A deductible is the amount of money you pay when some thing is considered a loss before your insurance company pays for a claim this amount is taking off of the top. The higher you set your deductible, the more money you can save off the premium. Currently insurance companies recommend a minimum deductible of $500. Ask your agent how much you would save if you went with a $1000 deductible. Be ready for them to say any damages your home incurs up to $1000.00 you will pay to fix yourself keep this in mind. If you have a home in good condition this can save you a bundle of money.
Rebuilding Home Costs
Many times people think that they need to insure their house for the amount that they purchased it for.If your house were to completely burn down, you would still have the land. Many agents will not point out to you that you can take off the price of land then figure to rebuild just the house or dwelling. Also the costs of building materials will vary as well. There is additional coverage for separate structures as well so if they are destroyed & nothing else you can replace them as well.
Multi-Policy Discount for Home & Auto
Consider purchasing both your auto and homeowners insurance from the same company. Most companies will give a multi-policy discount.
Home Security Systems Decrease Premiums
Many insurance companies will give a discount for smoke detectors, burglar alarms ( monitored or unmonitored ) and dead-bolt locks. Some companies will also give a discount for sprinkler systems.
Good Credit Does Help
Insurance companies are using credit scoring more to determine premium on homeowners insurance. If your credit is a bit low when shopping for a home loan chances are you will already be trying to pay off debits before shopping for Homeowners Insurance. However if you have a few things you can pay off quickly to get them off your credit now would be the time to do so. This will raise your credit rating thus will help your rates on both Home loans as well as homeowners insurance as well.
Check For Senior Discounts
If you are at least 55 years old & retired, you never know may qualify for a discount of 5% or up to 10%.
Double Check Your Policy Yearly
The value of your possessions should be reflected in your coverage double check this at least once a year to make sure your covered. Remember when major purchases and additions to your house your policy needs to cover these things to make sure you are protected. I once knew a person who built a new huge new business building and said nothing going to happen it's a new building. He had insurance on his autos & his personal home but neglected to purchase insurance for his new building. Guess what? In less then a year the entire building burnt to the ground! He learned the hard way you have to have insurance to cover all your property!
Steps to Finding the Right Insurance For You
1. Compare your friends & families opinions on different companies. If you want to ask more people ask online. You can ask anyone on any forum what insurance they use & who they were happy with as well as unhappy with. You can use the free graph at the end of this hub to make your own graph like I did so you have a visual to help you see the best insurance company among your friend & family or Internet friends. I found this to be a great help to me in my search for insurance.
2. Contact insurance companies to compare your specific home & needs for premium amount, coverage as well as deductible.
3. Compare company rates decide who is best for your needs.
4. If you are switching insurance on your home inform the old insurance company of the change to a new company immediately. Often the new company will send a letter on your behalf if you request it but you may have to sign a cancellation notice as well.
Make your own Insurance Graph
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