How do I get a quote for home insurance?
It’s a pretty common question, really. For all the needs of homeowners, getting an accurate figure for an insurance policy can help save money and provide the right kind of protection for years to come. Despite its importance, many homeowners are still unaware of how to learn about pricing, what’s included in certain policies, and more.
Table of Contents
Q. When should I get homeowners' insurance?
Q. How do I get a quote for home insurance?
Q. Is shopping online the best way to get quotes?
Q. How can an Independent Insurance Agent help me get a better quote?
Q. What info do I need to provide for my Independent Insurance Agent?
Q. Which questions should I ask while getting a quote?
Q. How much does homeowners' insurance cost?
Q. How can I lower the cost of homeowners' insurance?
When Should I Get Homeowners Insurance?
You should purchase homeowners insurance before you contact a mortgage company for a loan. Most mortgage companies will require you to have homeowners insurance in place prior to giving you a home loan, but don’t wait until the last minute to start thinking about insurance.
It’s important to shop around for the right policy for your needs. There are many factors that determine the right insurance coverage. A local independent insurance agent in your area can help you compare policies and quotes from multiple carriers to help find the best coverage, and cost, for your needs.
How Do I Get a Quote for Homeowners Insurance?
Nowadays, there are three basic ways to get a quote directly from an insurance company:
- Visit a branch office: Companies like State Farm, Farmers, and so on often have dedicated agents that work out of a branch office on behalf of the company they represent. Agents will speak directly with you and assess your insurance needs after you provide information about your home either by filling out a form or by answering an available agent’s questions. Bear in mind that this is easily the most time-consuming method of getting a quote and it may not be necessary.
- Online quotes: Online quotes are a generally very quick and easy way to learn how much it would cost for home insurance. With your home’s information at hand, you’ll submit information through an online form that covers your home’s value, desired coverage, your credit rating, contact information and more. With many online carriers, while you may be able to get a great price, it comes at a massive loss to your coverage.
- Call the insurer: Insurance companies still have phone lines for those looking for homeowners insurance to call into when they’re looking for a quote. The process is usually automated, but you may have the option to speak with a live agent if you choose to do so. Just like online quotes, you’ll answer a few basic questions over the phone to get a better sense of what coverage you need for your home.
This is why an independent insurance agent is one of the best options for you to get the quotes you're looking for.
- Match with an independent insurance agent: When you choose to go with an independent insurance agent, the process is simple. You'll answer a few very simple questions to help understand what it is you're looking for and where. From a database of over 250,000 agents, you'll be matched with a number of great local agents that are right for you. You'll choose who you'd like to work with, contact them, and walk them through your needs. Your agent will then shop multiple carriers to bring you a number of quotes that fit your needs and you and your agent will walk through them all, giving you the best blend of coverage and cost for you. Easy.
Is Shopping Online the Best Way to Get Quotes?
Getting your insurance quotes online can be tempting. Sure, it’s fast and easy, but are the quotes you're getting actually accurate? And are you getting quotes for all the different types of coverage your business needs?
Online quotes cannot give you the whole picture. They often omit important coverage, which may result in you being unable to get compensation if something disastrous happens. And they can leave out cost-saving opportunities such as discounts and bundling opportunities that an independent agent can help you take advantage of.
Instead of getting an online quote, find an independent insurance agent near you, and schedule a one-on-one consultation to discuss your options for the best coverage for your needs.
How Can an Independent Insurance Agent Help Me Get a Better Quote?
Independent insurance agents are an invaluable resource when it comes to getting better coverage for your home.
First, the ability to compare multiple insurers simultaneously with the help of an expert gives you more options. While you may be comparing quotes online, you may not be aware of local insurance companies that understand your individual needs better.
For example, you may live in an area that's prone to flooding and may not be able to be insured by a company unless you have flood insurance. However, the insurer may not currently offer it as a rider. That’s where an independent insurance agent is able to provide you with a list of insurers that do provide flood insurance in your local area. Among these companies, you can choose ones that offer the best coverage against flood-related damages at the most affordable rates.
Because independent insurance agents don’t work directly for an insurance company, they can give you a more realistic picture of which insurance policies best fit your unique scenario. When speaking with a company’s insurance agent, they can be eager to sign you up for policies that may have more coverage than you need or try to steer you towards company-specific policies when better options may be available elsewhere. Instead, an independent insurance agent works with multiple insurers on a regular basis and has a working knowledge of which company is actually the best fit.
There’s also the aspect of forming a rapport with an agent who understand your needs.
In fact, it’s not uncommon for a person to stick with their independent insurance agent while changing insurers, acting on your behalf instead of fulfilling a company quota for commissions. This type of personal relationship creates a direct connection to your insurance needs instead of being just another number. In fact, because an independent insurance agent is more familiar, they can ask questions about your current situation and find you better rates, such as when your mortgage is paid off and you’re investing in a second property.
What Info Do I Need to Provide for My Insurance Agent?
Getting a homeowners insurance quote can only take a few minutes when you have all of your information at hand. But which information should you have ready? The following is a checklist to keep handy when getting quotes for home insurance:
There can be more questions involved in getting a homeowners quote than a car insurance quote, so it can be helpful to gather your paperwork and be ready to answer specific questions about your home in advance. Here’s a checklist of common questions and aspects of your home to help you get started:
- What’s your house like?
- The year your house was built
- The style of the home
- The exterior finish
- Square footage of your home
- Number of bathrooms
- Amenities, such as a hot tub, pool, or sauna
- The type and age of the roof
- Attached and unattached structures
- Recent improvements to the home
- Who lives at your house?
- Do you run a business from the home?
- Do you own a dog or any pets?
- What’s your insurance history?
- Do you have a mortgage on the home?
- Are there any prior insurance claims?
- How much would it cost you to rebuild your home?
- What kind of safety features you have installed in your home?
Which Questions Should I Ask While Getting a Quote?
Part of getting an accurate quote isn’t just getting an estimate after answering some basic questions. On the contrary, homeowners should ask their own questions with an insurance agent to get a fuller picture. The following are some of the most important questions you should ask when getting a quote:
- How much coverage do I need?
- What are the coverage limitations on the policy? Exemptions?
- Which policy riders may I need for comprehensive coverage? (e.g. earthquake insurance, umbrella coverage?
- Is there any way I can qualify for a discount?
- Would I get a reduction in premiums if I bundle my other coverage?
- Am I able to insure my business property at home through this policy?
- How can I lower the cost of homeowners insurance?
How Much Does Homeowners Insurance Cost?
The value of your home and the amount of coverage you buy will largely dictate the amount you'll pay for your premiums. But there are other factors that can affect your premium as well, including things like the crime rate in your area, and how many claims you have filed in the past.
Another important factor is the state you live in, as average costs can vary significantly from state to state.
Because there are so many factors that affect the cost of homeowners insurance, a typical annual premium can range anywhere from $400 to $1500, or more for a high-value home. If you choose additional coverage, you may pay a higher premium, but you will also have better protection.
It’s always important to comparison shop for the best homeowners insurance rates and the best value. An independent insurance agen can compare prices from several different insurance companies to find the right policy for you at the right price.
How Can I Lower the Cost of Homeowners Insurance?
As an example of the answers that you may receive from an independent insurance agent, you may want to know how to reduce your premiums to get the most affordable coverage you can. Here are just a few of the recommendations you can discuss with your agent:
- Raising your deductible
- Bundling your policies, such as automotive insurance
- Installing safety devices, such as smoke alarms and handrails
- Taking homeowners safety courses for premium discounts
- Reducing coverage limits
- Having your home’s value reassessed annually
- Removing any risk factors from your property, such as a dilapidated barn or broken fences
- and more
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin
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