“Am I ready for home insurance?” It can be as intimidating as it is exciting.
While those on their way to their first keys focus on neighborhood, work proximity and décor they often leave home insurance until last. Here’s why you should make it an early priority, and why the right time to buy is ASAP.
The homes are certainly being built for Americans to move into. In January, the construction of new houses was the highest since 2016 while March saw over a million new builds taking shape, according to Trading Economics. The housing industry is looking ahead with positivity, but for many new homeowners who will occupy these builds, there’s still a major blind spot in their long-term plan.
Nobody likes to think of what can go wrong in a new home; we’d all prefer to focus on the happiness and paint swatches. Home insurance is among the must-haves. Most mortgage lenders won’t give you a second glance unless you take out coverage on the property.
Before you start browsing real estate sites or speaking to mortgage advisor, take some time to consider what kind of insurance your desired home model will require, which fits your lifestyle, and where you want to live.
When do I need to get home insurance?
The sooner you have insurance in place, the safer you’ll be, and the more you’ll save money in the long-run. If you’re single, this can be especially important as you freely decide what kind of home you’re going to buy. Your home can be smaller than a couple or family will require, so you will save on premiums and bills thanks to fewer rooms, fewer possessions, and lower utility costs.
It may be tempting to buy a bigger home than you need. If you start small, you can always modify the home later or upgrade to a new home entirely. In either case (and with some careful planning), the money you’ll save by downsizing can go toward future modifications or buying a new home.
Existing or planned marriage and cohabitation
If you’re in a committed relationship, are engaged, or planning to marry, think beforehand how your partner’s coverage will also dictate your own. You’ll be sharing living space, and your possessions will likewise be combined under one roof.
If you plan to rent, then renter’s insurance is a must. Your landlord’s coverage will only look after the building. Your possessions won’t be protected unless you look after that yourself. Renter’s insurance may also come into play if one partner owns the home while the other moves in.
For example, if you’re the homeowner, you’ll have homeowner’s insurance. If you’re the partner moving in, you should consider renters insurance. If both you and a spouse own the home together, ask your provider about a shared homeowners’ policy.
Your first home is often someone else’s (very) old home …
Are you thinking of an older home? Many homeowners are charmed by properties with a little history under their belt. If you’re planning to live there for a while, think ahead and factor ordinance and law coverage into your home insurance.
Considering any possible changes in these areas shows real foresight. After damage, most home insurance policies will only reimburse your expenses to restore the home to its former condition. If building codes have been updated since then, you may not even get permission to make repairs until your home meets requirements.
Older homes can mean present and future repairs
Depending on its age an older home can cost you extra money because of hazardous construction materials, mold, and mildew, plumbing or foundation problems – and that’s just moving in. If damage occurs later, it could be a serious insurance headache.
Repairs could be as minor as new gutter but could be more extravagant such as plumbing, rewiring the entire home, roof repair or replacement, window replacements, or in the direst cases, partial or complete demolition of the home. By the time such extensive alterations are made, your first home can be significantly altered.
With ordinance and law coverage added pre-emptively, you’ll get financial help to replace, remove, and rebuild. It’s required under current building codes in the event of a covered loss, but if you think of all this before you buy a home, you could move into a code-compliant structure.
Thinking about moving to a different state? Consider the lay of the land
Consider it even if you don’t have plans to move. Your future home insurance will be affected by where you choose to put down roots. Near the coast? Water erosion and flood damage will be risks. In an area prone to hurricanes or earthquakes? You can bet they’ll impact your insurance.
Natural causes can decimate a home. Weighing up in advance if you want to insure your house for the market value or the replacement cost is always a wise move. In most cases, choosing the latter will serve you best. The cost of rebuilding a home often exceeds market value.
If you only insure your future home for its market value, then depreciation can slowly creep in and make the property and everything in it less valuable than when it was first purchased. If the land you want to live on already has risks, you won’t want to compound these by getting less back on your losses than you spent.
The moment you ask, “am I ready for home insurance?” contact a qualified insurer. At NICRIS Insurance, we’re dedicated to the best service in Auto, Home, Life, and Retirement. Your individual circumstances are unique and so are the kinds of coverage and preventative solutions that will help keep you safe. To reach us, call (516) 544-0006 or visit our contact page.