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Home Insurance: Tips for New Homeowners from The Reis Group

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Home Insurance: Tips for New Homeowners

by Allison Teetsel on Jan 21, 2013

In 2012, thereal estate market contributed to economic growth in the US for the first time in five years. If you're one of the many Americans shopping for a new home, you're probably well-aware of the importance of considering elements such as size, layout, utilities, property taxes, and school districts. But did you realize that your homeowners insurance is just as vital to consider? After all, you'll be paying your homeowners insurance premium for as long as you own your home. The last thing you want is for an unanticipated expense to spoil your enjoyment of your dream home. Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take throughout the home-buying process that can help ensure that you receive the best homeowners insurance rates possible. Read on to learn more.

To Get Started

  • Check your credit rating:

  • In addition to helping you get a mortgage, good credit can also qualify you for a discount on yourhomeowners insurance. Before you start searching for your new home, obtain a copy of your credit report and review it for any errors or inaccuracies.

  • Protect yourself with renters insurance:

  • It's important to protect your belongings and financial investments, even before you purchase a home. Renters insurance can protect you in the event of a disaster such as a fire or hurricane, and can even provide you with liability coverage in case someone is injured in your home. In addition, a renters insurance policy can provide you with a valuable insurance history, which you can then present to your prospective homeowners insurer when you're ready to buy a home.

During Your Home Search

  • Review the physical characteristics of the home:

  • Elements such as the size, construction, general condition, and safety factors can all influence the price you pay for home insurance.

  • Check the quality and location of the fire department:

  • If your home is located in a community with a highly-rated fire department, it may cost less to insure. The same is true if your home is near a fire hydrant.

  • Scope out the roof:

  • Many prospective homeowners get so caught up in the various internal features of a home that they completely forget about important structural components—like the roof. A new roof provides superior protection for your belongings, family, and home, and may even result in insurance discounts if fire and/or hail resistant materials are used.

Before You Make an Offer

  • Check the loss history report:

  • A loss history report is a record of insurance claims on a house that can provide important information about any past problems with the house, and any repairs that have been conducted. Please note: if there have been no claims within five years, there will be no loss history report on the home.

  • Get the house inspected:

  • A professional inspection can help tip you off to any potential issues that may affect your homeowners insurance, such as water damage, infestation, electrical problems, or the presence of an underground oil storage tank. The inspector may also suggest necessary equipment replacements or upgrades.

  • Contact your insurance representative:

  • When you're buying a home, the fewer surprises that crop up, the better—so don't wait until you're signing on the dotted line to call your insurance representative! As soon as you realize that you're interested in a home, ask your insurance representative whether it will qualify for insurance, and ask for a homeowners insurance quote. Feel free to ask for estimates on multiple houses, and if the cost to insure a particular house doesn't fit your financial needs, keep looking.

Insuring Your New Home

Once you make the decision to purchase your new home, it's important to make sure that you've got adequate insurance coverage. You need a homeowners insurance policy that will allow you to fully rebuild your home and replace possessions in the case of a disaster, and that will also give you liability coverage to protect your financial assets. Review your policy with your insurance representative, and ask about additional coverage for things like building code upgrades. Yourinsurance representative can help you determine whether you are eligible for certain discounts, and can help you choose the insurance deductible that best meets your needs.

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