Shopping around for the right insurance quotes can be overwhelming. And if you answer one ad on the Internet, you're going to be bombarded by advertising calls for the next five years at least. Even if you get some quotes, how do you know if the price anyone is offering is even a good deal?
This is when you head to the experts. An independent insurance agent is the easiest way to get a home insurance quote, especially since they're not biased in favor of any one company. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s talk about homeowners insurance quotes, how they’re made, and how to get the best ones placed on the table in front of you.
What Is a Home Insurance Quote?
Before you commit to the first homeowners insurance policy you find, you want to shop around to receive the best coverage for your home. An insurance quote is an estimate of the cost of your insurance based on a variety of information that you provide to the insurance company.
Traditionally, insurance companies go through the following process when creating a home insurance quote:
- They will evaluate a series of risk factors that have number values (costs) associated with them, in a rating manual.
- Risk factors may be things like age, gender, location, etc. — things that could increase the chances of you filing a claim.
- The cost of the risk factors is determined either through studies of historical trends or via analytical models.
- They'll check off those attributes that apply to you.
- A quote comes from the sum total of everything checked off on the list — plus a bit extra factored in for the insurance company's profit margin. However, due to competition from other companies, they might lower the price a bit.
It’s important to remember that a quote is simply an estimate and is subject to change between when you receive a quote and actually purchase insurance.
When Do I Need to Get a Home Insurance Quote?
You should start collecting home insurance quotes as soon as you sign the papers on your home and are able to provide the necessary details for an accurate quote.
Usually, you have around 30 days between signing off on a home and finding insurance, but mortgage lenders will require that you have home insurance nailed down before you close on your loan.
Who Do I Contact for a Home Insurance Quote?
There are a few ways you can go about collecting insurance quotes. Not all options are as legitimate as others, but there are a few ways you can go about it.
Independent insurance agent
The easiest way to get a variety of home insurance quotes is to go through an independent insurance agent. Independent agents are able to shop multiple carriers and gather a variety of quotes, faster, and more efficiently than if you were to go after it yourself. After all, they do this for a living.
We’ve all seen the online search tools that say “get an insurance quote in 30 seconds!” If you’re just wanting to get an idea of how much insurance would cost, these tools are okay, but they’re most likely leaving out a variety of factors that could affect your cost.
Word of mouth
If you have several friends who are homeowners, you could inquire who their insurance is through. You could also call up any big brand insurance company and let them know you’re looking for a quote on home insurance.
While searching for a quote online or via friends isn’t a horrible idea, going through an experienced independent agent will assure that you’re getting the best rate possible. Getting a good quote is about more than providing some basic information, you've got to keep things in mind like an insurer’s claims process, customer service, and reputation, or you may really kick yourself if something bad ever happens.
How Do I Know if I’m Getting a Good Price?
Getting a good price on your home insurance is half the battle. A good place to start is to know what the average home insurance price is in your neighborhood and city. You could gather this information by speaking with neighbors or working with a local insurance agent.
It’s also important to take advantage of all of the discounts that are available when it comes to purchasing home insurance. A good insurance agent will be sure to collect the proper information to assure that you’re getting the best price possible.
To make sure you’re staying on top of your game as well, here are a few things you can ask your insurance agent about:
- Personal factors that affect your insurance rate
- Home factors that affect insurance rates
- Bundling discounts
- Group discounts
- Safety discounts
- Loyalty discounts
- What adjustments you can make to save money
Factors That Affect Home Insurance Quotes
Before jumping into home insurance quotes, it’s a good idea to educate yourself on the factors that can affect the price of your insurance. That’s why you’re here, right?
These are a few things that really matter when an insurance company insures your home:
- Structure of home: How the home is built and the materials used play a major factor in insurance. The stronger the build, the less likely your house will blow over in a hurricane. The less likely your house will blow over, the lower your insurance.
- Roof type and condition: The better your roof performs, the cheaper it will be to insure. Roofs that are made of slate, tile, concrete shingles, and metal offer the best protection.
- Additional structures: Additional structures can affect your quote in a variety of ways. Decks, detached garages, sheds all need coverage. In addition, a swimming pool can increase your premiums because of the risks associated with the pool.
- Who lives in the home: A young married couple with no claims history, no children, and minimal risk are going to get a much different looking quote than a family of giving with three young children and a dog. The insurance company is going to look at the risk of any member who lives in your home getting injured or causing damage and use that to determine your quote.
- Do you run a business in your home? Running a business out of your home means you need coverage for supplies, materials, and general liability insurance. This can get expensive when trying to have it all covered under your home insurance policy. It’s best to get a separate business policy.
- How much personal property do you need covered? We humans like to collect a lot of stuff. Some of it is junk, but valuable or precious memories we’d be sad to see damaged in a hazardous event. It’s best to provide your insurance agent with an inventory of your personal property that you’re seeking coverage for.
- Do you have collectible items, luxury jewelry, etc. that need covered? If you’re a hunter, then you most likely have a variety of firearms in your home, and if you’re a jewelry collector, you probably have safe boxes of precious gems. You’ll want to determine what items you want to be insured as this will affect your insurance quote as well.
Comparing Home Insurance Quotes with an Independent Insurance Agent
An independent insurance agent will review your needs and help you find the best home insurance coverage for your property. They'll also compare policies and quotes from multiple insurance companies to make sure you have the proper protection to keep you and your possessions safe. Find an independent insurance agent in your community here.