Shop for Home Insurance
MoneyGeek has gathered the information and tools you need to shop for home insurance online. We help take the guesswork out of finding the right home and condo coverage, saving you time and money on homeowners insurance.
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Common Questions About Shopping for Home Insurance
Below are the most common questions asked about how to shop for home insurance. Click on each question below to learn more about what kind of coverage you need, how to find the best rate and more.
How to Shop Home Insurance: Home Insurance Buying Guide
Following a plan can help make shopping for home insurance easier. Before you buy home insurance, follow these steps to make sure you get the best coverage for your home at the right price.
Determine the Right Home Insurance Coverage
There is more to home insurance besides just coverage for the building and its contents. Here are some of the other coverages you may need on your home insurance policy:
- Dwelling: A mandatory coverage based on the value of the structure of the building.
- Personal property: Also called personal belongings coverage, this is the amount needed to replace your personal property in case of a large claim.
- Other structures: This coverage includes any structures on the property not directly attached to the home, like a shed, barn, or pool.
- Personal liability: This coverage protects you if your sued or someone is injured on your property.
- Medical payments: If someone is hurt on your property, this coverage will pay up to a specified amount for their medical bills.
- Additional living expenses: If you are displaced from your home due to a covered claim, this coverage will pay for a hotel or rental home for you to stay in until your home is repaired.
- Add-ons: These vary by company and can include sewer backup, earthquake or landslide coverage, identity theft coverage and more.
Collect Your Information
Home insurance companies will collect personal information and data on your home to give you an accurate insurance quote. To make the shopping process easier, get your information ready before you start to request quotes. Here’s a list of items you may need:
- Current policy declarations page (if you have an existing policy)
- Home appraisal
- Home inspection report
- Personal information for you and the household (ages, occupations, etc.)
- Age of household systems (plumbing, heating, electrical, etc.)
- Home details (square footage, number of rooms and bathrooms, type of flooring and wall coverings, etc.)
- Information on other insurance policies you have or need (for discounts)
- An idea of what your personal belongings are worth and their current condition
- Information on any outbuildings on the property (shed, barn, pool)
- Value of any items needing specialty coverage (guns, jewelry, fine art, antiques)
- Mortgage company address and your loan number
Get Free Online Home Insurance Quotes
The best way to know you’re getting the best deal on home insurance is to get multiple quotes and compare equal coverage. It’s easy to do online, and most home insurance companies offer online quotes, saving you time and money.
MoneyGeek’s quote tool makes it quick and easy for you to enter your information one time and get multiple quotes for home insurance.
Now that you’ve got multiple home insurance quotes, it’s time to compare. Make a note of any coverage, endorsement or exclusion differences, if any, on the quotes.
Compare Home Insurance Policies
When getting quotes for home insurance, make sure they are comparable, so you know if you are getting the best rate for the right coverage. Here are some things to consider when shopping and comparing home insurance quotes:
- Compare apples-to-apples. Check that the coverages, endorsements and exclusions are the same with all the home insurance companies from where you receive quotes. This is referred to as comparing “apples-to-apples.” Coverages and add-ons can affect the rate differently from company to company, so having the same coverages on each quote can help you make the right choice with the best home insurance company for your needs.
- Consider more than price. The cheapest home insurance coverage isn’t always the best. Price is a significant factor when choosing a home insurance company, but it’s not the only one. Financial stability, claims history, customer service and coverages are just a few things that should also be considered when comparing quotes.
- Be fair. Not all companies are going to fit with your needs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially when one company may not offer the coverage you need, or the rate may be a big difference from another company. It may also help to know the average cost of home insurance in your area, so you have an idea of how much you should expect to pay in your location.
Once you’ve compared quotes and asked any clarifying questions, you’re ready to make a decision. Remember, it’s not all about cost when shopping and comparing home insurance quotes. The company’s reputation, including claims, customer service and financial stability, can help you make the right decision.
Find Ways to Lower Your Premium
Lowering your premium can be pretty simple, depending on your coverage needs. Ways you can lower your premium include:
- Bundling Policies. Most insurance companies providing home and auto insurance will offer a policy discount if you insure both with them. This may be the largest discount you can get, so if you own a car, it’s worth it to bundle them together.
- Raise Your Deductible. Another way to lower your premium on your home insurance is by raising your deductible. This means you may pay more out of pocket if you file a claim, but you’ll save on your annual premium. If you choose to raise your deductible, make sure you can pay that amount if you have to file a claim.
- Make home improvements. Updating your roof, windows, electrical or plumbing could get you a discount on your home insurance annual premium. Storm mitigation improvements like installing storm shutters may also provide a break on the premium.
- Be smart about submitting claims. Depending on where you live, any claim filed under your home insurance (even if nothing is paid out) can negatively affect your home insurance rates. To get the best premium, don’t file small claims, and speak with your local agent if you have a question about filing a claim. You can file a claim later if the cost is higher than initially thought, as long as you document the process well and don’t throw out any damaged items.
Finalize the Policy and Arrange Payment
You’ve got your questions answered and made the decision on your home insurance. Now what? It’s time to finalize the policy. Here are some essential things to check before you accept the policy:
- Effective date. This could be your closing date if you purchase a new home or the end date of your current home insurance policy. Whichever date you need, make sure it’s correct on the policy before proceeding.
- Premiums and coverage. Make sure the policy details are correct, including coverages, add-ons and exclusions. Also, check that the premium is the same as what you were quoted.
- Deductible. Another essential factor to check is that the deductible is the right amount for you. In the event of a claim, you’ll have to pay the deductible as your portion of the claim, so you don’t want any surprises then if the deductible is not correct.
If you’re paying the premium yourself, ask about payment plan options if needed. If your mortgage company is responsible, find out the steps required to ensure payment is made on your behalf by the due date.
Get Ready for Inspection
Most home insurance companies will require an inspection to take place after the policy is bound. This ensures that there is no current damage or deterioration of the home or any obvious attractive nuisance items on the property that could result in a claim. They will also check if a pool is properly secured and the household mechanical systems are up to code.
Any errors or omissions made on the quote and subsequent policy will be relayed back to the insurance company. This is not always a bad thing, and sometimes, mistakes happen. Just because you made a mistake or forgot something doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to be canceled or have your policy rejected.
For example, you may have noted your roof was five years old, but the inspector noted it’s older or some shingles are missing. Or, you forgot to mention you have a burglar alarm, but they saw it, and now you’re entitled to an additional discount on your home insurance policy.
If the inspector finds something that needs to be addressed, they will make a note, and the insurance company will give you a deadline to rectify the situation. This is why it’s essential to gather your information before shopping and ask plenty of questions when getting quotes.
Shop for Home Insurance Frequently
To make sure you always have the best insurance for your needs and budget, shop for home insurance frequently. Gather and compare quotes at least once a year. This way, you know you are getting the best price for the coverage you need. While some companies offer discounts like loyalty incentives, sometimes the savings are greater with a new company. Don’t automatically stick with the same company and assume you’re getting the best deal. The only way to know if it makes sense to switch home insurance companies is to shop and compare quotes.