Purchasing a home for most people will be one of the biggest investments they’ll every make. Consequently, making sure they have the very best insurance policies to protect their homes and belongings is a priority. Sadly, many people don’t have the slightest idea how to get the best homeowners insurance policy. Lots of people think that comparing insurance rates is all that’s needed to get a great policy. However, there is far more to it than comparing a few rates. Rates are a good place to start, but to get the best policy; you’ll need to actively become involved by maintaining a home inventory, evaluate your insurance needs yearly and update your insurance records to reflect changes.
Shopping for Rates
Whether you switching carriers or need coverage for a new home purchase, you should always compare rates. The easiest way to compare homeowner insurance rates is to take advantage of any number of convenient online websites, which offer quotes. Be sure to check a minimum of at least four carriers to get a good picture of the average rates.
Researching Insurance Companies
After comparing coverage options and rates, you’ll need to investigate each insurance carrier to locate a stable company, one that offers excellent customer service and has a positive history of paying out claims quickly.
• Look for companies that have been in business for at least ten years that won’t be going out of business any time soon.
• Check the financial strength of potential candidates to verify they have the finances to cover claims.
• Visit online customer review sites to learn about real life experiences with various insurance carriers.
Maintaining a Home Inventory
Insurance companies cannot possibly begin to guess about the personal belongings, appliances, electronics, art work, antiques or anything else you have of value in your home that needs to be covered under insurance. If you want to have the best possible coverage, it is up to you to write up and maintain a detailed home inventory.
You should write up a written description of every item in your home by room with the purchase date and the cost. It is highly recommended that you take photos or videos of all your belongings. Take special care to photograph expensive items from several angles. Photos taken in your home help to establish that you own the item, and they also verify the condition and age.
To confirm purchases, you should also keep a file of receipts and credit card statements. You should take copies of your home inventory. Provide your insurance agent with one copy and keep the originals in a safe deposit box. As you sell, discard or replace items on your inventory, you’ll need to update all copies of the home inventory.
To get the best home insurance policy, you will want to check into discounts. You can look for discounts listed on your insurer’s website, and ask your agent about discounts, which may apply. Some agents may offer this information freely, but most of the time it is up to the homeowner to look for them. Listed below are some examples of potential discounts:
• Installing fire alarms, sprinkler systems or fire extinguishers.
• Upgrading security with fencing, deadbolts, cameras or a security system.
• Discounts for multiple policies with the same carrier.
• A discount for filing no claims.
• Loyal customer discount.
Updating Records Yearly
Remember, the best home policies are updated at least once a year to make sure coverage is adequate and up-to-date.
Besides maintaining records and updating insurance coverage, you’ll need the support of a trustworthy insurance carrier to get the best homeowners insurance policy.