Smart first-time homebuyers make the right insurance moves before moving in. Learn the best practices to make homeowners insurance work for you from the start.
First-time homebuyers are already dealing with a lot of financial stress. While finding the best home insurance quote may sound like a chore, it’s similar to finding the right house. Both take planning, both require a commitment, and they both work out beautifully when they match the buyers’ needs.
Our simple guide breaks down the 5 best moves to secure a home insurance policy you can live with:
1. Gather all the necessary data
Homeowners insurance quotes depend on first-time homebuyers providing important information used to calculate premium rates. Make sure you have the following data ready whether you’re searching for quotes online or preparing to speak to an agent directly:
- The address of the new property — this helps insurance providers gauge risk elements like environmental conditions and the frequency and nature of home coverage claims made in that area.
- Information on any steps you’ve taken to make the new home safer (some security best practices can reduce your premiums).
- How much home insurance you need — a factor impacted by how much protection the structure and its contents require to be rebuilt/replaced alongside potential liability. Knowing how to perform a home inventory is handy prior to this question and for any future claims.
- The age of the new property’s roof and boiler and a record of any recent renovations — each plays a big part in deciding how much of an insurance liability a property could represent.
- Claims history and credit score — each of these must be transparent to the insurer to get an accurate quote.
When first-time homebuyers have the above readily available, they’re all set to take the next steps toward finding home insurance.
2. Shop around
The oldest purchasing advice of all applies powerfully to insurance policies because you may be locking yourself into a good or bad deal for a long time to come. Review the online offers from multiple insurers to compare what’s on offer. And contact their agents directly with your prepared data and any questions.
Some research before you sign could potentially save you thousands of dollars over the life of a policy when you focus on key factors like depth of coverage, deductibles, and limits. A good time to start is at least a month before you’re set to move in.
Alternatively, you could simply speak to an experienced insurance team who understands home insurance inside and out. NICRIS offers a free, personalized 1-hour consultation to help first-time homebuyers review their current insurance position and find the best policies to fit their needs.
3. Don’t have blind faith in home insurance (or home insurers)
Homeowners insurance is comforting, but that can lead to a false sense of security and some costly future surprises. Knowing what is covered by a standard home insurance policy in terms of structure, possessions, liability, and living expenses is half the battle. The other half is taking a thorough look at your personal and environmental circumstances.
Consider one of the typical blind faith mistakes. Say a flood hits your home (and flooding is one of New York’s biggest looming threats), but you learn the hard way that having flood insurance was an entirely separate thing. Another costly error is expecting a standard policy to pay out the full amount on a lost/damaged item of great expense. This typically requires additional coverage in the form of floaters or riders.
Additionally, first-time homebuyers should keep in mind that the insurer is there to serve them. Potential providers should meet both industry standards and your own. Check how well they measure up by using one of the 5 insurer rating agencies.
4. Look into multiple policies with one provider
Many homeowners also have a car and may not have a life insurance policy in place yet. Find out if that potential home insurance provider you’ve got your eye on also offers auto and life coverage. They very probably will, and they’re more likely to give you a better deal on premiums if you’re also covering your vehicle and life with them.
5. Control the future of your home insurance
We’ve already covered how preparation, transparency, and selectivity can help you find a home insurance policy that fits you today. But the real trick is to control how well it treats you in the future. Promise yourself before moving in that you’re going to look after this home and do all the maintenance necessary to keep it in top shape.
This will reflect well with your insurer and can have a positive impact on your premiums. Failing to do so can lead to a home insurance claim here and another there until your insurer (and any future ones) sees you as more of a liability.
One strategy is to take out the highest deductible you can afford and never make a home insurance claim until that figure is exceeded. First-time homeowners don’t have to claim excessively before finding themselves hit with higher premiums. They may even find themselves stamped as non-renewed, which means their home insurance policy gets canceled altogether.
These 5 steps will put any first-time homebuyer in a great insurance position. They’ll be prepared to move in with confidence while evading future pitfalls. The NICRIS team is on call to offer more advice, so don’t hesitate to contact us at the links below!
NICRIS Insurance focuses on providing clients with the appropriate suite of products to protect them, their interests, and their loved ones. If you need some insurance advice, you can email us, visit our offices Monday to Friday 9 to 5, or call (516) 544-0006.