Home Insurance: Is It Worth It?
If you own a home, then likely you have homeowners insurance on your biggest and most expensive asset. True, if you own your home outright, then there is no law requiring you to have homeowners insurance. Only mortgage companies will insist on insurance if they have a lien on your home. Is it wise to go without insurance? Should you? Keep reading and we shall look at the value of having or getting rid of your homeowners insurance.
Homeowners’ insurance rates are spiking especially for homeowners in areas where hurricane damage has been high, such as Florida. Some homeowners are finding their rates have doubled or tripled in just one year while others are learning that their policy has been cancelled by the insurance company meaning they must shop for new insurance.
The temptation to drop insurance altogether is a big one, but a dangerous choice to make unless you have a bundle of money to absorb the loss.Home insurance makes sense for the following reason:–If there is a catastrophic loss, then your home can be completely replaced. Just make certain that your policy has been updated to reflect the current replacement cost of your home. If you live in earthquake or a flood prone area, you will need to purchase separate insurance to cover these disasters.
You can save money on your policy via:–Comparison shopping. All insurers are different and rates can vary by as much a 10 to 20 percent. Shop around and don’t just go with the best rate. Companies that pay a fast claim are worth more than a slower payer any day, even if there rates are high.You are your home’s best advocate because:–You know your home. You are in the best position to determine loss, therefore you must be aware of what is allowed or not allowed before filing for a claim.
A tree that falls on your home means that you are covered, while floods and earthquakes are only covered through the writing of a separate policy. Yes, insurance on your home can certainly seem expensive and almost worth dropping until you need to use it. Your insurance company isn’t always your best friend, but they can be your only friend when disaster hits and able to help restore you financially if you selected the policy with the best coverage.
Home Insurance Rates
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors warns that if you can't get insurance for your house, you're in big trouble. Mortgage lenders won't lend on houses that are uninsurable and as a result its value could fall by up to 80%. It's a high flood risk that's most likely to make your house uninsurable. According to a recent survey, 6.5 million homes are already at risk from flooding of which 1.5 million are in high risk areas. The government has completed flood defences in many such areas and protection for a further 80,000 homes is due this year. But concerns have also been expressed about a further 120,000 new homes planned for the Thames Gateway which are potentially in a high at risk zone. Yet many areas remain vulnerable. And if global warming continues, by 2030, the 1.5 million at risk could mushroom 3.5 million. Back in 2003 the Association of British Insurers (ABI) agreed the principles which committed UK insurers to offering home and contents insurance for properties in areas which are assessed to be at a flooding risk once in seventy five years or more. The rider was that the flood defences had to be already in place or would be completed by the end of 2007. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has the responsibility of developing and maintaining these flood defences but within the insurance industry there's widespread concern that insufficient progress is being made. As a result the insurers have has warned the government that there could be widespread withdrawal of insurance cover if progress is stepped up. In the mean time, those in areas threatened by flood water could find their insurance premiums soaring. Whilst the insurance industry agreed to provide insurance cover, their commitment was simply to maintain premiums at reasonable levels. But there was no definition of what reasonable means. As a result premium increases of 60% have been common with up 400% increases in bad areas. In a tiny number of cases, cover has been withdrawn altogether, mostly in country areas where DEFRA considers the cost of defending a cluster of a few homes to be uneconomic. Environmentalists warn that unless DEFRA gets it's skates on, the UK 's current bill for flood damage could rise from £950 million a year, to £3.2 billion. After all, the average insurance claim for household flood damage is £30,000 that's even higher than fire damage. And localised events like the 2004 flood at Boscastle, Cornwall , can cost the insurers over £15 million. If you are in any doubt whether your home or proposed home, is in a flood risk area, you should visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk. This is DEFRA's web site where you can check whether they think your home is at risk of flooding. Their maps were originally designed for planning purposes and provide information on a post-code basis. Whilst many insurers use the DEFRA information, others like More Than, have their own flood maps. These assess homes individually rather than post code areas. This means that if your existing insurer increases your premium for flood risk and uses the DEFRA information, you may still be able to get a cheaper rate from an insurer using it's own flood data if its data identifies that your property is beyond the at risk zone. The ABI has recently added to the pressure on DEFRA to accelerate the building and upgrading of flood defences. It has warned that unless the government increases its spending on flood defences, the insurance industry may not continue their commitment to the 2003 principles. That would be bad news for many homeowners.
Tariffs - 6 Factors To Consider
Here are some factors to consider when purchasing home insurance. All of these factors can and will have an influence on the price you pay for home insurance. The Condition of the Home Insurers factor in general wear and tear on your home when setting a premium. They will inspect such things as the condition of the roof, porches, decks, and the integrity of the home's wiring system. Because new homes tend to be in better condition than older homes, some insurers will offer up to a 15 percent discount if your home is new. The Construction of the Home Certain types of homes are less expensive to insure because they are more resistant to damage. For example, a brick home is preferable because of its resistance to wind damage. Safety Factors Many insurers also offer discounts of approximately 5 percent for safety features such as burglar alarm systems, deadbolts, window locks, smoke detectors, and sprinkler systems. You may also receive a discount if your home is in close proximity to a fire department. If There is a Smoker in the Home Because smoking in the home greatly increases the risk of fire, some insurers will offer a discount of about 2-5 percent if no one in the home smoke. Is the Home in a High Risk Area Flood and earthquake damage is not covered by standard home insurance policies. Special supplemental catastrophic policies that cover these conditions are available, but can be quite costly. If you are currently covered against these catastrophes through a government plan, however, research coverage through a private insurer. It may actually be lower. Type and Amount of Home Insurance Coverage Needed Homeowner's insurance typically covers damage or loss to your home and its contents, but some packages also provide other benefits such as personal liability coverage if someone is injured on your property or theft insurance. Read the fine print. Prices and coverage can vary significantly between packages that appear similar. Make sure you get what you need and use what you get. Your Desired Deductible The deductible is the amount that you the policyholder must pay before your insurance company starts paying benefits. The higher your deductible, the lower your home insurance premiums. By raising the deductible, you can save up to 50 percent of the cost of your homeowner's insurance. Loyalty to Your Company Insurers will often reduce their rates if you buy more than one type of coverage such as auto and homeowner's from them or if you stay with them over a period of time. Is There a Retiree Living in the Home? If you are over the age of 55 and retired, check with your insurer to see if you qualify for a discount. Most insurance companies offer these discounts because retired people are home more and can spot fires sooner than working people and have more time for maintaining their homes. Some insurance companies will offer discounts of up to 10 percent to seniors who qualify. Group Discounts As with other types of insurance coverage, you can often obtain better home insurance rates if you get coverage through a group plan. Check with your employer, alumni association, or other affiliations to find out if they offer group coverage. ZZZZZZ