|Average Homeowners Insurance Premiums by State|
|District of Columbia||$1,284|
Which Variables Affect Homeowners Insurance Quotes?
Homeowners insurance quotes are specific to each applicant—there is no one-size-fits-all price. Instead, insurance companies look at a variety of personal and property-related factors to determine rates, including:
- The coverage limits and deductibles you pick
- The age, construction, and condition of the home
- The home’s replacement cost (not the same as what you paid for it)
- The home’s location (rates are higher in areas prone to natural disasters) and how close it is to a fire station (rates are typically lower if you’re close to a fire station)
- Local crime rates (rates may be higher in areas prone to burglaries)
- The breed(s) of dog(s) you have, if any
- If you have a home-based business
- If you recently remodeled or renovated the home
- Security features, such as smoke detectors and dead-bolt locks
- If the home has a wood-burning stove, swimming pool, or hot tub
- Your marital status, claims history, and credit history
As each insurance company takes a different approach to weigh these variables, quotes vary from one company to the next, even if the details about you and your home remain the same.
Getting the Best Homeowners Insurance Quotes
Your homeowner insurance costs can vary by hundreds of dollars, depending on certain variables and the insurance company you pick. Of course, there are ways to save money and still get the coverage you need to protect your home and belongings. Here are 10 tips to make sure you’re getting the best home insurance quotes.
1. Shop around.
Policy prices vary by company. Do some comparison shopping to make sure you get the best deal—and keep in mind that’s not necessarily the cheapest option. It’s a good idea to get quotes from at least three companies. You can call them directly, work with an insurance agent, or find information online.
2. Understand rebuilding costs
Rebuilding costs are not the same as what you paid to buy the home. That’s because the purchase price includes the value of the land, while rebuilding costs apply only to the home. In general, land isn’t at risk from theft, fire, storms, and other hazards, so don’t include its value when you pick coverage limits. Otherwise, you could end up overpaying for more coverage than you need.
3. Increase your deductibles
A deductible is the amount of money you pay toward a covered loss before your plan kicks in. The higher the deductible, the lower your premiums will be, and vice versa. If you raise your deductibles even $500, you may be able to save on your annual premiums. Just make sure you can cover the deductible if disaster strikes.
4. Bundle your policies
Insurance companies reward customers who bundle plans. If you buy two or more policies from the same company (e.g., homeowners insurance, auto insurance, and an umbrella policy), you may qualify for a discount. Crunch the numbers to make sure the bundled pricing is actually cheaper than buying separate policies from different companies.
5. Make your home more disaster-resistant
Updates or improvements that make your home more resistant to fire damage, water damage, and weather-related disasters can help lower premiums. Depending on the insurer and where you live, you may qualify for a discount if you reinforce your roof, add storm shutters, or update your heating, plumbing, and/or electrical systems.
6. Mention your home’s security devices
Most insurance companies offer discounts for homes that have security devices, such as smoke detectors, burglar alarms, fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, water leak detectors, gas leak detectors, and dead-bolt locks. If you don’t have these devices now but decide to add them later, be sure to update your policy.
7. Ask about other discounts
Depending on the insurer, discounts may be available if you’re a new homebuyer, age 55 or older, retired, a nonsmoker, or you work from home or set up automatic payments to pay your insurance bill. Be sure to ask if you qualify for any discounts and check back whenever your situation changes (e.g., you turn 55). You should also periodically check to see if the company offers any new discounts you should know about.
8. Be rewarded for your business
Many insurance companies offer discounts to reward long-term customers. If you’ve been insured with the same company for several years (or more), be sure you’re taking advantage of any available loyalty discounts.
9. Review your policy each year
Review your policy each year to make sure you have enough—but not too much—coverage. For example, you might need to bump up your coverage limits if you buy a new piano or build an addition. If you sell your Star Wars collectibles, you may be able to lower your coverage limits or cancel your floater, if you have one.
10. Explore group coverage options
Your employer may administer a group insurance program. Similarly, some professional, alumni, and business groups offer packages at reduced rates. For instance, organizations such as AAA, AARP, and wholesale clubs offer discounts to their members. Still, just because you’re getting a discount doesn’t mean you’re getting the best rate. Be sure to compare at least three options before making any decisions.
The Bottom Line
Getting the best quotes on homeowners insurance takes some work, but it could be well worth the effort, as you may have the policy for several years or even longer. Still, while price is an important consideration, it’s good to also focus on finding a dependable insurer that offers the right coverage for your home and rates well for customer service. That way, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you can count on your policy if you ever do need to make a claim.