If you’re thinking about buying a house, you probably already know that you’ll need to compare home insurance quotes to get coverage that protects your property from dangers like theft and fires.
However, the factors that go into the eventual pricing that you receive can be confusing and opaque. Understanding what insurance companies will want to know when you request a quote for homeowners insurance can help ensure that you don’t end up overpaying for your coverage.
What is a Home Insurance Quote?
A home insurance quote is a "quoted" rate from your insurance provider, usually through an agent or an online quoting system, for a homeowners insurance policy. The quote you get depends on several factors, including your personal information, finances, the condition of your home, location and more.
Get Home Insurance Quotes
If you’ve been living in your property without homeowners insurance, you could be putting both yourself and your family at risk in the event of a natural disaster or break-in. Thankfully, it’s never been easier to begin comparing your homeowners insurance options online. Browse a few of our recommended homeowners insurance providers below.
Factors That Decide Home Insurance Quotes
While your experience getting a home insurance quote may be unique to someone else’s, there are certain aspects that you can generally expect to run into during the process.
Basic Questions About You and Your Home
When you request an estimate for homeowners insurance, your insurance agent will start by asking a few very basic questions and for a bit of personal information. Some of the information you’ll be asked for at the beginning stages of your application include:
- Your name
- Your address or the address of the property you plan on buying
- Your Social Security number (to verify your identity)
- Your date of birth
After collecting your personal information, your insurance agent will do a bit of primary research on your property online. Your insurance agent may make a basic assessment of your property’s exterior structure to learn more about its condition using photos from online real estate databases before consulting you on the condition of the property’s interior and any upgrades you’ve made since moving in.
Your insurance agent also will look at the tax-assessed value of your home and how its appraisal has been changing in order to get a better understanding of how much money your insurance policy would need to pay out in the event of a major disaster.
Types of Questions a Home Insurance Agent Asks
After doing a bit of preliminary research on your property and its likely condition, your insurance agent will ask you a few questions about the home. Some of the questions your agent will likely want answers for include:
- Is your roof new? In many parts of the country, a new roof can decrease the price that you’ll pay each month for your insurance. This is because homeowners with older roofs are more likely to see damage to their roofing that they’ll need to file an insurance claim to repair.
- Have you made any major renovations or replacements since moving in? Your insurance estimate may go up or down depending on the types of renovations and repairs you’ve made since moving in. For example, if you’ve taken time to replace loose shingles on your roofing or fixed a step on your deck that could create a liability issue, your homeowner’s insurance estimate will be reduced. On the other hand, if you’ve installed a pool, you may have created additional liabilities on your property, causing the price of your homeowners insurance to increase.
- How old is your water heater and HVAC unit? If you own an older home, you most likely have an older water heater and HVAC unit. Older appliances are more likely to be damaged or break down, which increases the price you’ll pay for your homeowners insurance.
- Does your home have a fireplace? Owning a fireplace in your home increases the chance of filing a fire-related homeowners insurance claim, which increases the price you’ll pay for your homeowners insurance. If you have multiple fireplaces in your home that are active and functional, you may pay significantly more for your insurance coverage.
- Does your home have an attic or basement? If your home has a basement or an attic, it means your property has additional rooms that your insurance will need to cover. This will increase the price of your insurance estimate.
In addition, your insurance agent might ask you specifics about the construction of your home, the mechanisms that control your major home appliances and a few additional questions to help determine the probability that you’ll need to file a claim in the future. If you aren’t sure about the answers to these questions, you can connect your insurance agent with your real estate agent.
How Much Home Insurance Coverage Do You Need?
After asking you questions about the condition of the property you want to insure, your insurance agent will begin calculating coverage levels and the total amount of money that it would take to repair your home in the event that it’s seriously damaged. Most homeowners insurance policies include multiple types of coverage, and you may have a unique coverage level for each type of coverage you have.
Some of the most common coverages you’ll see on your homeowners insurance include the following.
- Dwelling: Dwelling coverage compensates you for damage done to the physical structure of your home resulting from covered perils. For example, if a fire breaks out in your kitchen, your dwelling coverage will help cover the cost of repairs. You should carry enough dwelling coverage to rebuild your home.
- Other structures coverage: If you have another structure on your property that is not directly connected to your home (for example, a tool shed or detached garage) you’ll need separate coverage for these structures. You should aim to carry around 10% of the total value of your dwelling coverage in coverage for additional structures on your property if you have them.
- Personal property coverage: When you sign onto an insurance policy for your home, your homeowner’s insurance provider will ask for a detailed list of everything you want covered on the policy. Be sure to include all high-value items in your homeowners insurance policy so you have the right amount of personal property coverage. If you have a high-value item (like a valuable work of art or piece of jewelry) you may need to add excess coverage with a rider.
Your homeowners insurance policy also will include liability coverage, which compensates anyone who is injured on your property for the cost of their medical bills. The amount of liability insurance you should carry will vary depending on where you live and the unique structure of your home. Most insurance agents recommend carrying at least $100,000 worth of liability coverage.
Getting the Right Homeowners Insurance Quote
No one wants to pay too much for homeowners insurance. The best way to ensure you’ve got the right coverage for your needs and that you aren’t paying too much for your insurance is to get more than 1 quote when you start shopping for insurance.
When you searched for the right home, chances are that you didn’t make an offer on the 1st property you visited. Just like you compared the benefits and drawbacks of multiple homes, you should search around for the right coverage as well. We recommend that you secure a quote from at least 3 competing insurance companies before you decide where you want to buy your policy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the 5 basic areas of coverage on a homeowners insurance policy?
Most homeowner’s insurance policies include coverage for your dwelling itself, any additional structures on your property (for example, a tool shed), personal property that you own and liability insurance in the event that someone injures themselves at your home. You can also add coverage in the form of riders for things like works of art, musical instruments, antiques, jewelry and other high-value items.
What is the most important part of homeowner’s insurance?
The most important part of your homeowners insurance policy is your coverage level. Like most other types of insurance, your homeowners insurance policy will include a coverage limit that dictates the total amount of money you can claim from your insurance provider in the event of a covered peril. Choosing a policy with a coverage level that’s too low can leave you paying thousands of dollars if your home is seriously damaged.