Home insurance—also known as homeowner’s insurance—protects homeowners from unforeseen expenses if their property is damaged. Home insurance can cover the cost of rebuilding or repairing damage if your house catches fire or is struck by lightning. Weather damage from hail and windstorms is also usually included.
Homeowner’s insurance policies have exclusions. They cover the physical structure of your home but do not cover contents. When you purchase a home or move to a new house, take these steps to determine what insurance types you need and ensure you have enough coverage for your current property.
Property size is one of the most critical factors to consider when choosing an insurance policy. It costs more to replace a larger home. It’s also important to consider your home’s building materials. Identify this crucial information, and note anything that isn’t up to current building codes. Older homes may have old wiring, asbestos tiles, clay pipes, or other outdated features that would have to be upgraded if the home was being rebuilt today.
Use your home’s structural information to determine the cost of rebuilding your home in your area today. Regional costs will significantly impact the amount of insurance you need because it costs more to hire contractors in some places. The purchase price of your home and your home’s assessed property value isn’t what determines how much coverage you need. Instead, determine how much it would cost to rebuild your home now. You may also need to expand coverage to include expensive materials used in the construction of your home. For example, marble countertops cost more than laminate countertops.
Once you’ve determined the cost of rebuilding your home, Google “home insurance compare” to locate a reputable insurance comparison tool. These tools are designed to give you a breakdown of each plan that’s available in your area. You can use insurance comparison tools to determine how much different companies charge for insurance, what’s included in their coverage plans, and the deductible costs and exclusions.
Home insurance won’t cover all of your needs, and it’s important to consider other coverage you should have. The possessions you have inside your home—including furniture, dishes, jewelry, and clothing—can only be replaced with contents insurance. If your home is damaged by a flood, earthquake, or sinkhole, standard homeowners policies won’t cover the cost of repairs. Floods can cause significant property damage almost anywhere in the United States. Climate change has made more homes vulnerable to flooding and mudslides, which aren’t included in standard policies.
Once you’ve identified the different insurance plans you need, use the insurance comparison tool to determine which insurance companies offer all the types of coverage you require. You may be eligible for discounts if you bundle your insurance plans together. Home insurance can also be bundled with other types of insurance, such as auto insurance.
Home insurance policies cover the costs of replacement. This does not include upgrades. Plumbing, materials, and electrical systems must meet new building codes when your home is rebuilt or repaired. Since your coverage will not pay for these upgrades, you must determine how much this will cost you out of pocket if you have to rebuild your home.
Other forms of property damage aren’t covered, such as termite damage. When you’re considering your coverage options, make sure you budget for routine maintenance and out-of-pocket repair costs. Including these potential costs in your monthly budget will ensure you can cover unexpected repairs. If your home is old and has multiple outdated features, it may affect how much coverage you need and the amount you need to save for upgrade costs.
Determining how much home insurance you need is an ongoing process. Whenever you invest in significant upgrades in your home, reassess your insurance plan. Suppose you opt to replace your home’s wiring or correct other issues to ensure your home conforms to current building code regulations. In that case, you’re eligible to have the replacement costs of these upgraded systems included in your coverage, but you may need to adjust your policy and pay higher fees to ensure your upgrades are covered.
Determining how much it would cost to replace your home and the other types of coverage you need will ensure you’re ready for emergencies and help you identify the best plan for your personal needs. Re-calculating, the amount of coverage you need regularly will also ensure you adjust your plan if your needs change.