Homeowners insurance is an important purchase for many people. There are two major reasons to buy homeowners insurance:
- To protect your assets
Homeowners insurance covers the structure of your home and your personal property, as well as your personal legal responsibility (or liability) for injuries to others or their property while they’re on your property
- To satisfy your mortgage lender Most mortgage lenders require you to have insurance as long as you have a mortgage and to list them as the mortgagee on the policy. If you let your insurance lapse, your mortgage lender will likely have your home insured. Compared to a policy you would buy on your own, the premium might be much higher and the coverage will be limited to damage to the structure of your home. The lender can require you to pay this higher premium until you get your own homeowners insurance again.
When you get quotes, it’s crucial that you ask for the same coverages and limits and give the same information to each agent or company. To give you an accurate quote, the insurance agent or company will usually ask for a description of your house (such as where it’s located, its square footage, when it was built and the type of construction). He or she also might ask about items that increase your insurance needs, such as owning pets and expensive possessions. An agent might visit your home to take a photo or ask you for other information (such as the distance from the nearest fire department and the general condition of your home). Be sure to get rate quotes and key information in writing.
Make sure you ask the insurance agent if you qualify for any discounts. Some insurers offer a discount if you also buy your auto insurance from them or if you disaster-proof your home (for example, add storm shutters), update the home’s electrical or plumbing systems, get a new roof or add home security devices (for example, a burglar alarm).