By Sarah Netter
Open floor plans. Walk-in closets. Wrap-around porches. Master suites. Buying a new house is exciting and full of possibilities.
Before you start picking out paint samples and fabric swatches, your first move should be to secure the right homeowners insurance for your family to protect your new house and the belongings in it. Many companies offer homeowners insurance, but how do you know you are getting great coverage at a fair price?
Start with some research on the Internet. Read reviews and make sure that you are going with a name that you trust and that’s licensed in your state.
Here are a few things to consider when you’re on the hunt for the right homeowners insurance.
You want more than just the basics. There are basic coverages in every standard homeowners insurance policy that protect against things like wind damage, fire and theft. What else do insurers consider when setting your rate? What discounts could you get? The home insurer is looking at what it would cost to rebuild the home in its current location in the event of a total loss, says Michael Barry, vice president of media relations for the Insurance Information Institute. “That’s the number that drives almost everything else.”
You live in a disaster-prone area. In Florida, Texas and Louisiana, it’s hurricanes. In the Midwest, maybe it’s inland flooding from heavy rains. In California? Think earthquakes and brush fires. Though 43 percent of homeowners believe their insurance will cover losses from flooding caused by heavy rain, according to a recent III survey, standard insurance policies alone don’t cover flooding or damage from major natural disasters without additional insurance added in. It’s important that your representative explains what is and is not covered in a disaster, so that you are prepared and insured.
You have more than just a house. “Imagine if you picked up your home and turned it upside down. What would fall out?” Barry asks. Your customer service representative should help you settle on a coverage amount that will let you rebuild not just the outside but your life inside the house in the event of a total loss. The benchmark, he said, is about $50,000 to $75,000 of contents coverage for every $100,000 of the dwelling. “People over time, I think, underestimate how much they’ve accumulated in terms of high-definition televisions and appliances and furniture and bedding,” Barry said.
Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make and Amica Insurance is here to help you protect it. With award-winning, 24/7 customer service, they’ll make sure you have the right coverage to fit your needs. Visit AmicaQuote.com to get a quote with Amica today.
Sarah Netter is a Yahoo Storyteller. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and ABC News.