Buying a House? What You Need to Know about Home Insurance

Buying a Home? What you need to know.

Buying a home, be it the first or the fifth, can be an incredible roller coaster of emotion, combined with copious amounts of information on subjects or terminology you may or may not recognize, such as radon, easements, and gutter quality. Since homeowner’s insurance is purchased after you have already selected your home, it is not unusual to ignore it altogether during the home-search. It is, however, a significant expense, one which will most likely cost you $600–$1,200 each year you own the home. Since the average person stays in a house 7 years (longer as you get older), you are looking at an average expense of over $6,000 in insurance costs.

Here are a few tips to help you get the proper insurance coverage, at a fair price, in an efficient manner:

  1. Ask your realtor to research any updates/renovations to the home, specifically in the following areas:
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Heating/furnace
  1. Determine the age of the roof. Many insurance companies will view a newer roof more favorably, especially one that is less than 10 years old. Be precise, if you can. Many homeowners keep receipts of all major updates and renovations, so do not be afraid to ask. Be wary of any shingle roof that has not been replaced in 20 years or more. If that is the case, many insurance companies will not give you a preferred rate.
  2. The larger the square footage of the home, the more expensive the insurance. Home insurance pricing is based largely on the projected cost to hire a contractor to rebuild all or part of the home in the event of a claim. The larger the square footage, the more insurance coverage you will need.
  3. Keep surcharges in mind. Two of the most common features that carry a premium surcharge are woodstoves and swimming pools. If you are unsure if a specific feature would carry a surcharge, consult with insurance advisors such as those at Merriam Insurance.

Our team is always available to answer your questions on home insurance, or provide a quote if you are looking for options for a specific house. We have relationships with insurance companies across the country, and we work hard to help each of our customers find the company and policy that best fits their needs.

James Dick, CPCU, AAI