Updated July 16, 2021
Reading time: 7 minutes
How do you decide on what the best home insurance is for you if you’ve never owned a property before? Keep on reading to find out what you need to know to make an informed decision that ensures your newest asset is covered.
Becoming a new homeowner can certainly feel overwhelming. Not only have you gone through all the effort to find a new home, pack up your personal belongings, and move to a new space, but now you need to make sure your home is covered. Homeowners insurance can make sure you are protected in the case of property damage, theft, natural disasters, and other risks that come with owning a property. But if you’re buying a house for the first time, how do you know what home insurance policy is right for you? This article will help you through the key steps to insuring your home.
With countless home insurance companies on the market, it’s hard to know which insurance provider is right for you. While there are standard policies for standard home insurance, the possibilities for additional coverage can seem endless. From bundling options to additional car insurance and personal property coverage, first-time homebuyers certainly have a lot on their plate when considering coverage options, home insurance rates, and extra add-ons.
Policyholders should be able to live in their new homes with the peace of mind that they have the liability coverage they need to make sure their insurance covers such a large investment. Rather than scrolling through countless insurance reviews, keep on reading to find out the information you need to get a home insurance quote, what the average homeowners insurance costs, and more.
Insurify is here to help you find the best homeowners insurance companies and other insurance products to get you the home insurance coverage that fits your budget. Customer satisfaction is important to us, and our hope is that all buyers have the right homeowners insurance policy for them. You don’t need an insurance agent to compare home insurance quotes, you can just compare them online by using Insurify.
Buying a home is certainly no small purchase! But it is for this reason that getting home insurance is extra important—you want to make sure that your newest, potentially largest, asset is covered. It is worth paying the money via your deductible to get the liability coverage you need. A deductible is the out-of-pocket amount of money that you are responsible for toward an insured loss. An insured loss can happen via property damage from vandalism or natural disasters, theft (if you insured personal belongings ), or other unexpected circumstances. When an accident happens or disaster strikes, the deductible amount is subtracted from your total claim payment.
Average prices of homeowners insurance depend on a number of variables. Each insurer is different, but the cost will vary mainly based on your home, its location, and your financial history. See below for average annual premiums from some of the best home insurance companies in the United States. It is important to note that home insurance policies can be complex and need to be tailored to each individual and their circumstances and needs for liability coverage. So these numbers only serve as rough estimates. From highest to lowest, see below for each insurer and its average annual premium cost:
Farmers – $2,027
Liberty Mutual – $1,830
Nationwide – $1,737
USAA – $1,736
Travelers – $1,709
Allstate – $1,635
State Farm – $1,501
Amica – $1,128
Erie – $897
While the numbers may make purchasing a home insurance policy seem daunting, be sure to ask an insurance agent your options for payment plans. Typically, it can be deducted from your paycheck automatically in regular, monthly installments.
If you need more support, there are a number of homebuyer programs that exist to provide additional resources. The purpose of these programs is to help middle- and low-income Americans be able to purchase their first home and ultimately acquire a new asset. Some are sponsored by federal departments, like the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It is important to note that these programs do not serve as banks or traditional mortgage lenders, but they can still serve to benefit potential first-time homebuyers by providing them with other loans or grants. There are a variety of programs, and some may serve diverse groups, such as public-housing residents, Native Americans, veterans, and more. Be sure to check state-specific programs as well, as each location may offer a different set of programs.
Above all, always prioritize coverage over price. This may be a tough pill to swallow, but purchasing a home is not a small investment. It is a major financial decision and lifelong asset. Homeowners insurance is a necessity and relatively inexpensive to the overall cost of your home. Insurance policies serve to protect not only your home from damage but also you from paying any personal liability costs out of pocket. It may be tempting to cut out coverage to save money, but it is recommended to get the coverage you need for risky situations.
It is important to have the right information to get an accurate quote. This may take some time to prepare on your end, but it will be worth it to receive a reliable number so you know what to expect when insuring your new home in the long run.
You will need to provide:
Some personal information on your financial history and insurance claims history.
Be sure to provide an honest and correct telling of your credit score and previous insurance claims. Insurance companies will always verify and check this via a soft credit check, so do not fudge the numbers regarding your financial strength. It is better to receive an accurate estimate than to provide false information that may impact your insurance premium. Note that rates vary depending on the state and each state allows insurers to consider different variables and factors when determining home and auto insurance.
Details on the kind of coverage you need and how much. There are definitely coverage limits, so it’s important to be explicit in your ask. This requires a clear understanding of your assets, including high-value personal belongings and what potential replacement costs would be. While theft can be mitigated by installing a security system, think of the replacement value and consider getting replacement cost coverage. Most lenders will explain what each type of coverage entails, but try to prepare beforehand by thinking of how much liability you want to be responsible for.
The location of your new home. As homeowners insurance policies vary depending on the state, insurers are able to gather basic information about your home by using your address. Some locations are at more risk of being hit by natural disasters. For this reason, it might be worth considering investing in additional earthquake, hurricane, or flood insurance. If your new home is in an area that is more likely to be hit by disaster, additional coverage may be a necessary add-on. Dwelling coverage is included in homeowners insurance policies and is there to make sure that if you have to rebuild or repair your home after it is damaged by a natural disaster, you won’t have to pay out of pocket. Your property, including any connected structures, like an attached garage, would be covered in this case. Your exact address can also provide them with key details about your home, like the age of your roof, but it is also a good idea to have an idea of this beforehand. The physical structure of your property is important in determining your potential premium.
Additional information on safety features. Regarding the physical structure of your home, it is also good to know what other features have been installed to protect you or that may have an impact on others. This can include fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, home security systems, and sprinklers. These features may also determine if you need to invest in additional life insurance.
For first-time homeowners, making such a large investment is typically a big deal. It is likely the first time that you’re upgrading from renters insurance. So not only do you want to make sure that your home is covered from any disasters, but you probably also do not want to be responsible for a personal liability claim should an accident occur on your property. Here are a few other tips and tricks to keep in mind as you shop around for a home insurance policy:
Be sure to understand the different types of coverage and know what and how much you need. While homeowners insurance policies may come in a neat package, some insurers might incorporate exclusions. It is for this reason that you should educate yourself on the different types of coverage included in your policy and know where you are and are not covered. You may need to purchase additional coverage as an endorsement. Know the difference between dwelling coverage, other structures coverage, personal property coverage, personal liability insurance, additional living expenses, and medical payments to others for starters.
Consider combining multiple insurance policies in a bundle. You can save money and earn discounts by bundling multiple insurance policies with the same company. If you are also in need of car insurance, life insurance, or other policies in addition to your homeowners insurance, it is definitely worth talking to an agent to see what your options are for bundling. Having all these services from the same company as your homeowners insurance can potentially result in a discount on each policy.
Treat your high-value personal belongings as assets that need to be insured. Some insurance companies do not cover certain items because they are of such a high value that they need individual insurance. This is a way for insurers to limit liability and impose exclusions. Some common limitations are gold, jewelry, firearms, and electronics. These expensive personal belongings can reach a maximum reimbursement amount in homeowners insurance policies and may require an additional warranty or separate insurance policy. This can be done by adding a personal property endorsement or scheduled endorsement.
Now that you have all the information you need to look up home insurance quotes, it is important to compare these rates carefully. Insurify can help you look up the best homeowners insurance companies to suit your new home ’s needs and all the types of coverage to make sure you aren’t left paying out of pocket after an emergency.
Jackie Cohen is an editorial manager at Insurify specializing in property & casualty insurance educational content. She has years of experience analyzing insurance trends and helping consumers better understand their insurance coverage to make informed decisions about their finances.
Jackie's work has been cited in USA Today, The Balance, and The Washington Times.Learn More