Your home is one of the largest investments you will make during your lifetime. There are so many decisions, such as location, style, construction type and whether to buy an existing home or build a new one. Then comes the price tag, including closing costs, monthly financing, attorney fees, utility deposits and the dreaded insurance experience. All this is almost enough to make you change your mind.
WHETHER YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A NEW HOME OR ALREADY HAVE ONE, HERE ARE SOME TIPS ON BUYING INSURANCE AND HOW TO GET THE BEST VALUE AND APPROPRIATE COVERAGE FOR THE LOWEST COST.
The home itself is a major factor in determining insurance cost. Better-built and newer homes are the least costly to insure.
The homeowner also influences insurance cost. Statistics reveal that owners with better credit history and fewer claims on their record are better risks for the insurance company, which is making an investment in your home. You may be paying $1,000 for your policy, but the insurance company is promising to pay $100,000 if your home burns to the ground. They need assurances that you are a good risk.
A homeowner with a well-maintained property is a better risk because fewer liability exposures will exist, and this will prevent a possible lawsuit from someone being injured on the property.
Being insured properly and having a good insurance agent also are key factors. Insurance companies know their risk is higher with a consumer who chooses to not carry the proper coverages because there will be more lawsuits in the event of a claim. A good insurance agent can assist you with understanding your specific needs and offer you the best value for your dollar.
Other discounts are available for wind and flood mitigation, bundling your policies with one company and using smart sensors for water detection and alarm systems with security cameras.
Flood insurance is often misunderstood. This coverage only will be used for rising water outside the home – not damage from a leaking air-conditioning unit. Since Hurricane Katrina, authorities have designated many areas along the Coast more hazardous flood zones, which could detrimentally impact the cost of insurance coverage if there is not continuous coverage in place. And remember, there is a 30-day waiting period, so plan ahead and don’t let your coverage lapse. If you ever plan to sell your home, you will want to have a flood policy in place.
Insurance is a contractual promise to pay in the event of a loss. Be certain you understand the provisions in your policy contract to avoid unpleasant surprises at the time of a claim. No policy covers “everything,” and insurance is not a “maintenance” policy. You need to use it for any major losses and fix the small problems yourself. Frequent claims will result in higher costs.
Treutel Zeringue is president of SouthGroup Insurance Services, a CPA, PWCAM, CBIA, and licensed Trusted Choice insurance agent. Reach her at www.southgroupgulfcoast. com, (228) 385-1177 or firstname.lastname@example.org.