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Considerations to make when selecting home insurance

May 9th, 2017  |  Home Insurance

Some people don’t purchase homeowners insurance because they think it’s a waste of money. I can see that point of view because insurance is one of those products that you continuously pay for, but may never use. The other side of the coin, it's the kind of thing you don't actually want to use. But if you need to use it, it's definitely a good thing to have.

Purchasing homeowners insurance isn’t like making a retail purchase where you give a merchant money and they give you a tangible object in exchange, such as a couch. When you buy homeowners insurance you’re paying for protection, just in case something bad happens.

The key to being smart about purchasing homeowners insurance is to make it worth your while by getting the maximum coverage you need at the lowest possible price. Here are three steps to help you buy insurance to protect your property and your belongings without feeling like you’re wasting money.

Decide how much coverage you need

Insurance - just like anything - is definitely a waste of money if you’re paying for more protection than you need: i.e. unused insurance. Take an inventory of the inside and outside of your home to get an approximation of the total value of your goods. This includes furnishings, electronics, personal items, décor and appliances inside your home as well as contents in a garage, guest house or garage on the property.

Keeping your inventory up to date each year also helps decide if you need to adjust the coverage upon renewal. Listing each item with it’s purchase date and price is a good way to keep track of all your items and their value, and it’s even better if you can keep the original receipts. Taking video of your home (both inside and out) will be beneficial for the insurance adjuster if you ever need to make a claim.

Reducing risks will reduce your costs

The higher risk your home presents, the higher your insurance premiums will be. This applies to your original coverage as well as any home renovations you complete during the year. Renovations can increase the value of your home, and the more expensive something is, the more it typically costs to protect. 

Consumer Reports says that homeowners can make small adjustments to their home that can lower the cost of your annual insurance premiums: 

“Start by doing what insurers explicitly give discounts for.

Smoke detectors, burglar alarms, and dead-bolt locks can be worth a premium discount. Impact- and fire-resistant roofing materials made of asphalt, rubber, cement, and metal can get you further discounts because they stand up better against hail, debris, and embers—the primary cause of damage from wildfires. Non-combustible siding provides increased protection.”

Shop around for the best price

This is true when purchasing homeowners insurance for the first time, and also upon the annual renewal of your existing policy. According to Consumer Reports, claims result in higher premiums 29 per cent of the time, so you want to shop around for better prices when possible. Talk to an insurance broker and ask for all applicable discounts including holding multiple policies, a no-claim history and a good credit score.

When it comes to protecting your assets, you want to have enough homeowners insurance coverage, but you don’t want to overpay for it. Be smart about it - determine your needs and your options and go from there.

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