So you are looking to get a homeowner’s insurance quote. It is easy to get a quote, but can be much harder to get a quote that actually provides the right limits and coverages for you. This article will answer the question, What information do I need for a homeowner’s insurance quote? and will also provide some thoughts on how you might go about securing the proper coverages for you.
If a homeowner fails to take the proper time on the front end to secure the right limits and coverages, there can be much pain after a loss, when the reality of no, or inadequate, coverage sinks in. The starting point in getting a quote that meets your needs is determining what your needs are to begin with.
How Do I Determine My Homeowner’s Insurance Needs?
A good insurance agent can assist you in this process. Generally, you will want to start by doing a home inventory. A home inventory helps to document the value and the types of personal property that you have and also helps to document the quality of the construction of your home and any unique features that your home may have. Click here for more information on putting together an inventory. A well done inventory helps you work with your agent to select the right limits and the right coverage endorsements to properly protect special types of property.
The home inventory will be of help when you determine if you want to purchase some of the common optional coverage endorsements (and the limits you are looking for on each):
- Sewer Backup;
- Identity Theft;
- Fine Arts, Antiques;
- Musical Instruments;
- Collections: Baseball cards, Hummels, Coins, Stamps, etc.
Rating Information Needed For The Homeowners Insurance Quote
Every insurance company sets their own requirements for the information required to get a quotation. Most insurers will ask for at least the information shown below. Try to collect this information before you contact your insurance agent:
- Address of your home;
- Distance to the nearest fire hydrant (if any nearby);
- Year home was built;
- Square footage of basement and of each living floor;
- Exterior construction:
- Aluminum siding;
- Concrete Stucco;
- Synthetic Stucco;
- Other – describe.
- Roof type:
- Asphalt Shingle;
- Wood Shingle;
- Ceramic Tiles;
- Rubber Shingle;
- Built-Up Flat Roof;
- Other – describe.
- Age of:
- Air Conditioning;
- Water Heater.
- Style (ranch, split level, two story, etc.);
- Whether your home has a basement;
- If applicable, whether the basement is finished;
- Number of garage stalls and whether attached or detached;
- Whether a central station monitored alarm system is active;
- Whether there are local alarms. If so:
- Smoke alarms? Just Battery, or Battery & Hard Wired?
- Burglar alarms? Just Battery, or Battery & Hard Wired?
- Carbon Monoxide detectors? Just Battery, or Battery & Hard Wired?
- Whether your home has a residential sprinkler system;
- Do you have a sump pump? If yes, does it have a battery backup? And what is the age of the sump pump?
- Whether you have a wood burning stove;
- What type of heating do you have:
- Natural gas forced air;
- Propane forced air;
- Natural gas hot water;
- Propane hot water;
- Heating Oil hot water;
- Electric baseboard;
- Other – describe.
- What is the 5 year loss history for your homeowners insurance?
What Are Some Of The Optional Coverages For Homeowner’s Insurance?
You may have unique exposures that require additional discussion with your agent. Failure to review unique exposures with your agent may result in a failure to secure proper coverage. Here is a list of some (but not all) of the special exposures you will want to bring up with your insurance agent for further discussion:
- Swimming pools, trampolines, fun houses, tree houses, or other recreational facilities at your home;
- Any home based business you conduct at your residence, including in home day care operations;
- Any business property you may store at your home;
- Expensive landscaping;
- Docks, piers, wharves, and similar marine exposures on your property;
- Homeowners associations if any, of which you are a member;
- Any sculptures or other art you may have outside your home;
- Separate structures on your property such as barns, sheds, greenhouses, cabins, boathouses, and detached garages;
- Flagpoles, antennae, windmills, solar panels, and other outdoor equipment;
- Any rental or lease of any portion of your home or property to others for any use;
- Any live animals you have on the property;
- Any farming activities;
- Any property of others in your care custody or control;
- Any portion of your property is vacant or unoccupied;
- Any living area is unheated;
- There is any pre-existing damage to your home that has not been repaired;
- Your home is not yet completed, is under construction, or is being remodeled;
- You have wine/liquor cellars/collections;
- You have stuffed/mounted animals;
- Boats & Recreational vehicles: ATV’s, golf carts, go carts, mini-bikes, boats, jet-skis, etc.;
- Any domestic employees such as cooks, nannies, or housekeepers.
How Can I Reduce My Homeowner’s Premium?
Your homeowners premium is based upon your risk characteristics, the coverages purchased, and the limits purchased. There are a few things you can do to lower the premium:
- Increase your deductibles: The higher the deductibles, the lower your premium;
- Shop early: Some insurers apply a discount if the quote date is far enough in advance of the policy effective date;
- Manage your credit profile: Most insurers use elements of your credit profile in their pricing models. The better your credit, the lower your premium will generally be;
- Manage your loss history: Think twice before turning in a small claim. Many insurers have a significant loss free credit in their rating plans and many insurers penalize insureds who have had more than one claim in the past three to five years;
- Click Here to learn about some of the homeowners discounts you may be entitled to from your insurer.
Click Here for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Consumer’s Guide To Home Insurance.
Although this article covers some of the potential insurance needs of a homeowner, it doesn’t cover every possible insurance coverage needed and does not go into detail on some of the restrictions and limitations that may apply to each coverage. You might have special exposures not discussed here. You should consult a professional agent to review your exposures and coverage needs. It also is important that you read your insurance policies, as doing so will often make you aware of important conditions or restrictions.
Some other Enhanced Insurance articles related to Home Insurance:
Enhanced Insurance is not written by attorneys. If you’re looking for legal advice, you need to contact a lawyer. Further, insurance practices and forms change constantly and are varied from state to state. For definitive answers in your area, contact a local agent.
While the majority of people want an agent involved in their purchase of insurance, many people want to see if they can save money by buying direct from the insurance company. Others want to try a direct quote to make sure the premium they’re now paying through their local agent is fair. If you want a quote for your coverage, click on the competitive quote button on the right side of this page.