Are you looking for homeowner insurance? The average homeowner insurance premium in the U.S. is around $1,175 annually. This guide provides the essential information to help you make smarter decisions when you buy homeowner insurance.
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What is homeowner insurance?
Homeowner insurance (home insurance) is a form of property insurance to cover losses and damages to your home, your property, and your liability for injuries on your property. Homeowner insurance policies are standard "package policies;" it usually covers four kinds of damages on the insured property: interior damage, exterior damage, loss or damage of personal belongings, and injuries on your property. Homeowner insurance is not expensive but necessary and often required if you have a mortgage
Why do you need homeowner insurance?
There is no law that homeowner insurance is required. However, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), mortgage lenders are most likely to need you to have homeowner insurance coverage. Because before they agree to fund or finance your home purchase, the mortgage company mostly asks your house to be insured. The insurance protects the financial investment by providing money to repair or rebuild your house if it is damaged or destroyed by a fire, a tornado, or other specific risks.
What are the types of coverage for homeowner insurance?
Below are the most standard types of coverage. The coverage may vary from state to state and company to company. You should always check your homeowner policy to review your coverage limits.
Dwelling coverage (home structure coverage) covers the damages to your home and attached structures, such as an attached garage. You will want enough coverage to pay the replacement cost of your house when choosing the amount of dwelling coverage. Homeowner insurance doesn't cover damage to your home from earthquakes or flooding, but it covers other losses such as theft, fire and smoke, wind, vandalism, etc. Your replacement costs will reflect the cost to repair or replace the house, including property upgrades, so it is not the same as market value. Always remember to purchase enough coverage to rebuild your home.
It is a type of coverage that pays for the repairs to your car. If your vehicle is damaged in a collision involving objects such as another car, tree, mailbox, fence, pothole, or other things, and single-car accidents involving rolling or falling over, the policy helps pay the expenses of repairing or replacing your vehicle. Even though any state law does not require collision insurance, drivers with paid-off cars should consider purchasing the insurance to protect their finances.
- Other structures
Other structures coverage covers your property detached from your property, such as a fence or a gazebo.
- Personal property
The losses are covered if your furniture, clothes, or other personal belongings are destroyed or stolen. Your property coverage will pay the costs of repairing or replacing your belongings. Many insurance companies offer optional coverages to help you further protect your stuff. For example, you may need extended coverage for items that value above your property coverage limits, such as jewelry, furs, and watches.
Liability covers you when someone is injured on your property. The liability coverage helps you pay the resulting legal expenses and medical bills if you are at fault. The coverage also includes your pets. So if your dog accidentally ruins your neighbor's rug or bites your neighbor, your insurer will cover the expenses.
Guest medical protection
No matter who is at fault, it covers the medical expenses to treat someone injured on your property. Additionally, it covers when you, your family member, or your pet injures someone elsewhere.
Additional living expenses coverage (ALE)
If you cannot live in your home because of damage from an insured disaster, ALE will cover the additional costs and temporary living expenses while your house is rebuilt.
💡Tips: Replacement cost is the money necessary to repair or rebuild your house. The replacement cost is estimated by the square footage of your home, the house's age, and the house structure.
What are the steps for purchasing a homeowner insurance policy?
So you’ve decided to purchase homeowner insurance. Now what?
- Decide what you want to cover and how much homeowner insurance you need
You first have to figure out how much it may take to rebuild your house if it gets destroyed and how much it is to replace your personal belongings. You need to break down several individual costs to estimate the accurate coverage you need. You may need to increase the standard coverage limit recommended by default for your home and belongings, and you may need to consider additional coverages that meet your individual needs.
- Get quotes and compare your homeowner insurance quotes
You should get multiple quotes and compare those quotes. You can go to one-stop online services and type in your information to have a list of companies for comparative quotes. It would be best to analyze the policy options instead of directly choosing the cheapest one. Research the insurance company's background to ensure they are financially stable with positive reviews.
- Finalize your policy details
You can finalize the details about the premiums, the deductible, and the effective date.
- Work with your mortgage broker or lender if needed
Usually, you will need to update your mortgage broker or lender about your homeowner insurance policy. Sometimes, you can schedule the payment through your mortgage.
How do insurance companies determine homeowner insurance premiums?
The information about you, your home, your claim history, and the coverage you choose will be the main factors to determine your homeowner insurance premiums. Although not all insurers use the same risk models, here is a list of some most common factors.Location
Geographical locations such as the distance to the coast, population density, fire station proximity, or accident-prone car intersections are considered in your homeowner insurance premium.The size, age, and type of your home
The rate of living in a bigger home may be higher than in a smaller home because bigger homes typically need more money to rebuild. Older homes are regarded as risker to maintain. Older homes tend to have obsolete materials like older wiring and plumbing, and the rate may be higher because of these materials. Your home's construction type may affect your rate as well. For example, a steel-beamed home will be firmer than a wooden-frame home regarding fire damage.Your insurance history
Your premium and the types of coverage you can purchase are affected by your insurance history, including frequency of claims, insurance score, and continuous coverage. Insurers will check your credit score to measure your premium. If your credit score is higher, your homeowner insurance premium will be lower. In addition, you will get higher premiums if you have filed claims or lived in a place with many insurance claims.Amount of your coverage
Your premium will be higher if your limits and robust coverage are higher. In addition, your home's replacement expense, your personal belongings, and the amount of your liability coverage will impact your premium.
How much is homeowner insurance?
The national average for homeowner insurance is around $1,175 per year. The premium is determined by factors such as your home, claim history, coverage, etc.; in some states, your credit report is also used to determine your premium. Below is a comparison of the average homeowner insurance price in the U.S. You can click any state to learn more details.
|State||Average Annual Premium|
|District of Columbia||$1,235|
💡Note: Click the state to view more details.
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What companies offer homeowner insurance?
Most insurance companies offer various types of insurance, such as GEICO, Farmers, and Liberty Mutual. Additionally, some companies like Hippo and Lemonade mainly sell homeowner insurance. Below is a comparison between those two options.
|Standalone||Bundle with other insurance|
|Hippo, Lemonade, etc.||Liberty Mutual, GEICO, Farmers, etc.,|
• More brands and price options
• The company may have a partnership with your lender
• Get a multi-policy discount
• Manage multi-policies at the same place
You can also shop around to see what is the best option for you. Click here to start a free quote to compare multiple companies for your homeowner insurance.
What discounts are available for homeowner insurance?
Not all insurers provide the same discounts; here is a list of some most common discounts.
- New home construction Usually, you will get discounts if your house has new wiring, new plumbing, and a new roof. It is generally cheaper to rebuild a new home than an old home with old features, so if the age of your home is less than five years, you may pay less on your premiums.
- Bundle (Multi-policy) Most insurers offer discounts if you buy more than one insurance policy from one insurer.
- Protective devices Installing devices that can help reduce the risks of damage and injuries, such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, security monitoring, or water leak detectors, can lower homeowner insurance costs.
- Home improvements If you modify your home and update your home to be more resistant, you may get discounts. Some insurers like Hippo offer discounts for homes with "smart home" devices.
- Loyal discounts Many insurers reward long-term customers with discounts. If you are an excellent policyholder and remain claim-free, insurance companies will reduce the cost of your premiums.
- Your credit score Maintaining a solid credit history can cut your insurance costs. Mostly, insurance companies use your credit information to decide your homeowner insurance policy. Paying your loans on time and paying off your revolving debt will help you improve your credit and eventually get you better rates.
What is not covered by homeowner insurance?
There are some perils not covered by homeowner insurance. Please refer to your declaration page to find out all the items not covered. Below is a list of risks usually not covered by homeowner insurance.
- Earthquakes and floods
In most states, ground movements such as earthquakes, landslides, and floods are not included in homeowner insurance. You may need separate earthquake and flood insurance or an add-on to the standard homeowner insurance policy.
- Maintenance issues
Maintenance and repair are excluded. If the issues result from neglecting to properly maintain your property, such as mold, insect damage, or pest infestation, your standard homeowner insurance policy won't cover the losses. Wear and tear is not covered because you are expected to maintain your house. Loss from power outages such as food spoilage, damage caused by smog or smoke from agricultural and industrial operations, and nuclear hazard or war are also excluded.
- Governmental actions
Governmental actions such as condemning your home and taking over the land are excluded from your homeowner insurance policy.
- Sewer backups
According to the III, growing tree roots, main sanitary blockages, torrential downpours, or outdated sewer systems are why sewer backups occur. Most damaged-caused sewer backups are not covered under your policy, and you may need to purchase a separate policy for protection.
- Dangerous dogs
If you own dogs with certain high-risk and aggressive breeds like German Shepherds, you will need to pay medical expenses or the cost of a lawsuit if your dog bites or harms someone.
- Luxury items
Usually, items with a high price tag, such as high-priced jewelry, furs, or art collections, are not covered under your standard insurance policy. There are limits to your home insurance personal property coverage, and you will need separate coverage for items exceeding those limits.
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Our articles are intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Our articles are not written or reviewed by insurance agents. Consult your policies with your agent or a professional for details regarding terms, conditions, coverage, exclusions, products, services, and programs.
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