Archive for Oklahoma City Home Insurance

If you own your home in Oklahoma/OKC Metro, or if you’re in the process of buying your home then you’re aware of the importance of a homeowner’s insurance policy. But are you making sure that your homeowner’s insurance policy is saving you as much money as possible?

 

 

Here are a few tips and tricks for saving money
on your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy. 

Do Your Research

A smart consumer will request several quotes and shop around for the best deal on their homeowner’s insurance policy. Talking with independent agents is always a good method for getting a good understanding of what constitutes the best deal taking coverage and cost into consideration. But you should also look for any discounts you can: many memberships come with insurance discounts, even wholesale club memberships like Costco and Sam’s Club.

Update Your Home

If you own or are purchasing an older home especially, talk with an agent about what modern upgrades will affect your premiums. You can make some changes that make your home safer and also save you money every month!

Brush Up on the Lingo

Sometimes, consumers choose a slightly cheaper option without knowing the real cost of the compromise in coverage. For example, consider the way your policy handles a payout. Actual Cash Value will save you a little money on your premium, but should something happen, you may find this payout inadequate. 

This is because Actual Cash Value payouts are based entirely on the current worth of the home and contents insured. In contrast, Replacement Cost will payout based on the current cost to rebuild or purchase the home and contents. This can mean a stark contrast in what your payout looks like and greatly affect your ability to recover from a disaster. 

Consider A Higher Deductible

As with any type of insurance, you can expect to lower your premium by raising your deductible. You have to consider whether this option is the best fit for you, because raising your deductible will put more financial responsibility on you than sticking with a lower deductible. Speak with an agent about how much you feel comfortable with raising your deductible up to and see how it affects your annual premium.

Add an Umbrella Policy

Although adding an additional policy made seem counter-intuitive when it comes to saving money, an umbrella policy can add extra protections that save you significant money in the future. Should you face any liability litigation, that exceeds your homeowner’s policy, you are personally and financially responsible for those costs. If you don’t have the funds available, you could be looking at wage garnishments or worse. An Umbrella policy is quite inexpensive to add and the protections it provides are more than worth it.

Insurance Information Institute

Which Disasters Are Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Standard homeowners policies generally cover a wide range of potential disasters, from tornadoes and windstorms, to fire and lightning strikes, to winter storm damage caused by weight of ice and snow. Most homeowners policies cover all the disasters listed below. Some policies provide coverage only for the first 10 listed. It is important to check check your insurance policy for the specific perils covered.

WHAT TYPE OF DISASTERS ARE COVERED?

Dwelling & personal property Dwelling Personal property  Dwelling & personal property
Perils Basic
HO-1*+
Broad
HO-2*
Special
HO-3*
Special
HO-3
Renters
HO-4
Condo/
Co-op HO-6
Modified
Coverage HO-8
1. Fire or lightning x x x x x x x
2. Windstorm or hail x x x x x x x
3. Explosion x x x x x x x
4. Riot or civil commotion x x x x x x x
5. Damage caused by aircraft x x x x x x x
6. Damage caused by vehicles x x x x x x x
7. Smoke x x x x x x x
8. Vandalism or malicious mischief x x x x x x x
9. Theft x x x x x x x
10. Volcanic eruption x x x x x x x
11. Falling object x x x x x
12. Weight of ice, snow or sleet x x x x x
13.  Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from within a plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or automatic fire-protective sprinkler system, or from a household appliance. x x x x x
14. Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning, or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system, an air conditioning or automatic fire-protective system. x x x x x
15. Freezing of a plumbing, heating, air conditioning or automatic, fire-protective sprinkler system, or of a household appliance. x x x x x
16. Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current (does not include loss  to a tube, transistor or similar electronic component) x x x x x
17. All perils except flood, earthquake, war, nuclear accident, landslide, mudslide, sinkhole and others specified in your policy. Check your policy for a complete list of perils excluded. x

* HO-1, HO-2 and HO-3 refer to standard Homeowners Policies.

+HO-1 has been discontinued in most states.

Disasters That Are Not Covered

1. Floods

Flood damage is excluded under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. Flood coverage, however, is available in the form of a separate policy both from the National Flood Insurance Program – NFIP ( 888-379-9531) and from a few private insurers.

You can get replacement cost coverage for the structure of your home, but only actual cash value coverage is available for your possessions. There may also be limits on coverage for furniture and other possessions stored in your basement.

Flood insurance is available for renters as well as homeowners. You will need flood insurance if you live in a designated flood zone. But also consider buying it if your house could be flooded by melting snow, an overflowing creek or water running down a steep hill. Don’t wait until the evening news announces a flood season warning to buy a policy. There is a 30-day waiting period before federal flood coverage takes effect.

2. Earthquakes

Earthquake coverage can be a separate policy or an endorsement to your homeowners or renters policy. It available from most insurance companies. In California, it is also available from the California Earthquake Authority. In earthquake prone states like California, the policy comes with a high deductible.

3. Maintenance damage

It is your responsibility to take reasonable precautions to protect your home from damage. Your insurance policy will not cover damage due to lack of maintenance, mold, termite infestation and infestation from other pests.

4. SEWER BACK-UP

Sewer backups or the inability of sump pumps to handle runoff water from major downpours are not covered under a typical homeowners insurance policy, nor are they covered by flood insurance. Those types of coverage must be purchased either as a separate product or as an endorsement to a homeowners policy.”
Sewer backup coverage is available from most insurers for a nominal cost—usually an additional annual premium of $40-$50.
Many homeowners may not realize that they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their house or sewer lateral—the pipeline between the city sanitary sewer main, usually located in the street—and the building. The sewer lateral is owned and maintained by the property owner including any part that extends into the street or public right of way.

Top 5 Homeowner Insurance Companies in Oklahoma

Oklahoma home insurance rates increased roughly 30% during a 5 year period ending in 2017 despite the fact that our weather was pretty good in 2014 – 2017.

These increases have Oklahoma homeowners scrambling to find quality home insurance with stable companies without the high cost that many insurers are still trying to charge.

In our opinion, the following 5 companies offer the greatest home insurance value in Oklahoma and, in our opinion, these companies will have the best chance of saving Oklahoma consumers money as you seek quotes for your homeowners insurance needs. All  5 of these companies offer outstanding coverage, excellent claims service,  they usually have a lower cost than competitors and they offer good rates on car and home insurance bundles.  

     1.  Progressive Insurance

     2.  Safeco Insurance ( a Liberty Mutual Company)

     3.  Travelers Insurance

     4.  State Farm Insurance

     5. Allstate Insurance   

Statewide Insurance Agency represents Progressive, Safeco and Travelers Insurance but not State Farm or Allstate.  

Statewide Insurance Agency

okstatewide.com

 

How can I find a cheap home insurance quote?

The cheapness of the home insurance quotes you will receive depends on a number of factors. Depending on the location and worth of your home and your belongings, you can get home insurance for as little as $400 a year, but you may also not be able to find a quote cheaper than $1,400 per annum, no matter what cash-saving techniques you apply.

In states such as Wisconsin, Utah, Maine, Ohio and Idaho, where home insurance is cheaper than the national average (which is around $800), price is usually not such a delicate issue when looking for the best home insurance quote. There are states, however, where finding a cheap home insurance quote is a tough mission requiring months of research.

Home owners living in high-risk areas exposed to natural disasters pay some of the highest home insurance premiums nationwide, and some of them may not even be able to purchase any insurance protection for their homes because of the likelihood of natural disasters. A lot of home insurance companies, for example, withdrew from Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina battered New Orleans.

Similarly, because Florida suffers the devastating consequences of the hurricane season, which hits the south-eastern coast of America every summer, some home owners have to pay exorbitant premiums to have their property insured. The same applies to the states of Texas, California, Mississippi, to name just a few.

Tips for Finding the Cheapest Home Insurance Quote

As illustrated above, cheapness is relative when it comes to home insurance. What is considered cheap in one state may be considered expensive in another. This is why, knowing the average annual home insurance premium is very important: measuring all the quotes you obtain against the state’s average will give you a relative idea what a good-price policy is. From then you can go on to apply the following money-saving tips:

• Rule of thumb when looking for home insurance is to make sure all the perils your home is exposed to, are covered under the policy. Compare each home insurance quote according to coverage, exclusions, and riders available. You should get adequate coverage for a fair price.

• Use all the discounts that your insurance provider may offer. You can save a substantial amount of cash in home insurance premiums if you qualify for the insurance company’s discounts.

• Never file a minor claim, otherwise you risk losing your policy.

Read article on the InsuranceQnA Site

The price you pay for your homeowners insurance can vary by hundreds of dollars, depending on the insurance company you buy your policy from. Here are some things to consider when buying homeowners insurance.

  1. Shop around

    It’ll take some time, but could save you a good sum of money. Ask your friends, check the Yellow Pages or contact your state insurance department. (Phone numbers and Web sites are on the back page of this brochure.) National Association of Insurance Commissioners (www.naic.org) has information to help you choose an insurer in your state, including complaints. States often make information available on typical rates charged by major insurers and many states provide the frequency of consumer complaints by company.

    Also check consumer guides, insurance agents, companies and online insurance quote services. This will give you an idea of price ranges and tell you which companies have the lowest prices. But don’t consider price alone. The insurer you select should offer a fair price and deliver the quality service you would expect if you needed assistance in filing a claim. So in assessing service quality, use the complaint information cited above and talk to a number of insurers to get a feeling for the type of service they give. Ask them what they would do to lower your costs.

    Check the financial stability of the companies you are considering with rating companies such as A.M. Best (www.ambest.com) and Standard & Poor’s (www.standardandpoors.com/ratings) and consult consumer magazines. When you’ve narrowed the field to three insurers, get price quotes.

  2. Raise your deductible

    Deductibles are the amount of money you have to pay toward a loss before your insurance company starts to pay a claim, according to the terms of your policy. The higher your deductible, the more money you can save on your premiums. Nowadays, most insurance companies recommend a deductible of at least $500. If you can afford to raise your deductible to $1,000, you may save as much as 25 percent. Remember, if you live in a disaster-prone area, your insurance policy may have a separate deductible for certain kinds of damage. If you live near the coast in the East, you may have a separate windstorm deductible; if you live in a state vulnerable to hail storms, you may have a separate deductible for hail; and if you live in an earthquake-prone area, your earthquake policy has a deductible.

  3. Don’t confuse what you paid for your house with rebuilding costs

    The land under your house isn’t at risk from theft, windstorm, fire and the other perils covered in your homeowners policy. So don’t include its value in deciding how much homeowners insurance to buy. If you do, you will pay a higher premium than you should.

  4. Buy your home and auto policies from the same insurer

    Some companies that sell homeowners, auto and liability coverage will take 5 to 15 percent off your premium if you buy two or more policies from them. But make certain this combined price is lower than buying the different coverages from different companies.

  5. Make your home more disaster resistant

    Find out from your insurance agent or company representative what steps you can take to make your home more resistant to windstorms and other natural disasters. You may be able to save on your premiums by adding storm shutters, reinforcing your roof or buying stronger roofing materials. Older homes can be retrofitted to make them better able to withstand earthquakes. In addition, consider modernizing your heating, plumbing and electrical systems to reduce the risk of fire and water damage.

  6. Improve your home security

    You can usually get discounts of at least 5 percent for a smoke detector, burglar alarm or dead-bolt locks. Some companies offer to cut your premium by as much as 15 or 20 percent if you install a sophisticated sprinkler system and a fire and burglar alarm that rings at the police, fire or other monitoring stations. These systems aren’t cheap and not every system qualifies for a discount. Before you buy such a system, find out what kind your insurer recommends, how much the device would cost and how much you’d save on premiums.

  7. Seek out other discounts

    Companies offer several types of discounts, but they don’t all offer the same discount or the same amount of discount in all states. For example, since retired people stay at home more than working people they are less likely to be burglarized and may spot fires sooner, too. Retired people also have more time for maintaining their homes. If you’re at least 55 years old and retired, you may qualify for a discount of up to 10 percent at some companies. Some employers and professional associations administer group insurance programs that may offer a better deal than you can get elsewhere.

  8. Maintain a good credit record

    Establishing a solid credit history can cut your insurance costs. Insurers are increasingly using credit information to price homeowners insurance policies. In most states, your insurer must advise you of any adverse action, such as a higher rate, at which time you should verify the accuracy of the information on which the insurer relied. To protect your credit standing, pay your bills on time, don’t obtain more credit than you need and keep your credit balances as low as possible. Check your credit record on a regular basis and have any errors corrected promptly so that your record remains accurate.

  9. Stay with the same insurer

    If you’ve kept your coverage with a company for several years, you may receive a special discount for being a long-term policyholder. Some insurers will reduce their premiums by 5 percent if you stay with them for three to five years and by 10 percent if you remain a policyholder for six years or more. But make certain to periodically compare this price with that of other policies.

  10. Review the limits in your policy and the value of your possessions at least once a year

    You want your policy to cover any major purchases or additions to your home. But you don’t want to spend money for coverage you don’t need. If your five-year-old fur coat is no longer worth the $5,000 you paid for it, you’ll want to reduce or cancel your floater (extra insurance for items whose full value is not covered by standard homeowners policies such as expensive jewelry, high-end computers and valuable art work) and pocket the difference.

  11. Look for private insurance if you are in a government plan

    If you live in a high-risk area — say, one that is especially vulnerable to coastal storms, fires, or crime — and have been buying your homeowners insurance through a government plan, you should check with an insurance agent or company representative or contact your state department of insurance for the names of companies that might be interested in your business. You may find that there are steps you can take that would allow you to buy insurance at a lower price in the private market.

  12. When you’re buying a home, consider the cost of homeowners insurance

    You may pay less for insurance if you buy a house close to a fire hydrant or in a community that has a professional rather than a volunteer fire department. It may also be cheaper if your home’s electrical, heating and plumbing systems are less than 10 years old. If you live in the East, consider a brick home because it’s more wind resistant. If you live in an earthquake-prone area, look for a wooden frame house because it is more likely to withstand this type of disaster. Choosing wisely could cut your premiums by 5 to 15 percent.

    Check the CLUE (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) report of the home you are thinking of buying. These reports contain the insurance claim history of the property and can help you judge some of the problems the house may have.

    Remember that flood insurance and earthquake damage are not covered by a standard homeowners policy. If you buy a house in a flood-prone area, you’ll have to pay for a flood insurance policy that costs an average of $400 a year. The Federal Emergency Management Agency provides useful information on flood insurance on its Web site at www.fema.gov/nfip/. A separate earthquake policy is available from most insurance companies. The cost of the coverage will depend on the likelihood of earthquakes in your area. In California the California Earthquake Authority (www.earthquakeauthority.com) provides this coverage.

If you have questions about insurance for any of your possessions, be sure to ask your agent or company representative when you’re shopping around for a policy. For example, if you run a business out of your home, be sure to discuss coverage for that business. Most homeowners policies cover business equipment in the home, but only up to $2,500 and they offer no business liability insurance. Although you want to lower your homeowners insurance cost, you also want to make certain you have all the coverage you need.

https://www.iii.org/article/twelve-ways-to-lower-your-homeowners-insurance-costs

www.iii.org

 

Spotlight on: Dog bite liability

Senior woman with dog inside of her house.

Overview

Almost 90 million dogs are owned as pets in the United States according to a 2017-2018 survey by the American Pet Products Association.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Among children, the rate of dog-bite–related injuries is highest for those 5 to 9 years old. Over half of dog-bite injuries occur at home with dogs that are familiar to us.

Homeowners and renters insurance policies typically cover dog bite liability legal expenses, up to the liability limits (typically $100,000 to $300,000). If the claim exceeds the limit, the dog owner is responsible for all damages above that amount.

Dog bite liability and homeowners insurance

Some insurance companies will not insure homeowners who own certain breeds of dogs categorized as dangerous, such as pit bulls. Others decide on a case-by-case basis, depending on whether an individual dog, regardless of its breed has been deemed vicious. Some insurers do not ask the breed of a dog owned when writing or renewing homeowners insurance and do not track the breed of dogs involved in dog bite incidents. However, once a dog has bitten someone, it poses an increased risk. In that instance, the insurance company may charge a higher premium, nonrenew the homeowner’s insurance policy or exclude the dog from coverage.

Some insurers are taking steps to limit their exposure to such losses. Some companies require dog owners to sign liability waivers for dog bites, while others charge more for owners of breeds such as pit bulls and Rottweilers and others are not offering insurance to dog owners at all. Some will cover a pet if the owner takes the dog to classes aimed at modifying its behavior or if the dog is restrained with a muzzle, chain or cage.

Homeowners insurance liability claims

  • Homeowners insurers paid out over $686 million in liability claims related to dog bites and other dog-related injuries in 2017, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and State Farm®.
  • An analysis of homeowners insurance data by the I.I.I. found that the number of dog bite claims nationwide increased to 18,522 in 2017 compared to 18,123 in 2016—a 2.2 percent increase.
  • The average cost per claim for the year increased by 11.5 percent. The average cost paid out for dog bite claims nationwide was $37,051 in 2017, compared with $33,230 in 2016. The average cost per claim nationally has risen more than 90 percent from 2003 to 2017, due to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs, which are trending upwards.
  • California continued to have the largest number of claims in the United States, at 2,228 in 2017, an increase from 1,934 in 2016. The state with the second highest number of claims was Florida at 1,345. Florida had the highest average cost per claim at $44,700. The trend in higher costs per claim is attributable not only to dog bites but also to dogs knocking down children, cyclists, the elderly, etc., which can result in injuries that impact the potential severity of the losses.

State and local legislation

Dog owners are liable for injuries their pets cause if the owner knew the dog had a tendency to bite. In some states, statutes make the owners liable whether or not they knew the dog had a tendency to bite; in others, owners can be held responsible only if they knew or should have known their dogs had a propensity to bite. Some states and municipalities have “breed specific” statutes that identify breeds such as pit bulls as dangerous; in others individual dogs can be designated as vicious. At least two states, Pennsylvania and Michigan, have laws that prohibit insurers from canceling or denying coverage to the owners of particular dog breeds. In Ohio, for example, owners of dogs that have been classified as vicious are required to purchase at least $100,000 of liability insurance.

The American Kennel Club reports that while many municipalities have enacted bans on specific breeds, several states have laws barring municipalities and counties from targeting individual breeds.

  • Dog owners’ liability: There are three kinds of law that impose liability on owners:
    1) A dog-bite statute: where the dog owner is automatically liable for any injury or property damage the dog causes without provocation.
    2) The one-bite rule: where the dog owner is responsible for an injury caused by a dog if the owner knew the dog was likely to cause that type of injury—in this case, the victim must prove the owner knew the dog was dangerous.
    3) Negligence laws: where the dog owner is liable if the injury occurred because the dog owner was unreasonably careless (negligent) in controlling the dog.
  • Criminal penalties: On January 26, 2001, two Presa Canario dogs attacked and killed Diane Whipple in the doorway of her San Francisco, California, apartment. Marjorie Knoller, the owner of the dogs, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for keeping a mischievous dog that killed a person. She was sentenced to four years in prison for involuntary manslaughter and was ordered to pay $6,800 in restitution. Her husband, Robert Noel, was convicted on lesser charges but also received a four-year prison sentence. Knoller became the first Californian convicted of murder for a dog’s actions. This was only the third time such charges have been upheld in the United States, the first coming in Kansas in 1997.

Charts and graphs

Estimated Number And Cost Of Dog Bite Claims Nationwide, 2003-2017 (1)

Year Value of claims ($ millions) Number of claims Average cost per claim
2003 $324.2 16,919 $19,162
2004 318.9 15,630 20,406
2005 321.1 14,295 22,464
2006 322.4 14,661 21,987
2007 356.2 14,531 24,511
2008 387.0 15,823 24,461
2009 412.0 16,586 24,840
2010 412.6 15,770 26,166
2011 490.8 16,695 29,396
2012 489.7 16,459 29,752
2013 483.7 17,359 27,862
2014 530.8 16,550 32,072
2015 571.3 15,352 37,214
2016 602.2 18,123 33,230
2017 686.3 18,522 37,051
Percent change, 2016-2017 14.0% 2.2% 11.5%
Percent change, 2003-2017 111.7% 9.5% 93.4%

(1) Includes other dog-related injuries.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, State Farm®.

View Archived Tables

Top 10 States With Estimated Number And Cost Of Dog Bite Claims, 2017 (1)

Rank State Number of claims Average cost per claim Value of claims ($ millions)
1 California 2,228 $40,563 $90.4
2 Florida 1,345 44,700 60.1
3 Pennsylvania 1,002 26,486 26.5
4 New York 957 43,479 41.6
5 Ohio 932 24,795 23.1
6 Texas 929 35,562 33.0
7 Illinois 901 36,844 33.2
8 Michigan 734 38,798 28.5
9 New Jersey 686 43,652 29.9
10 Minnesota 486 29,873 14.5
Top 10 10,200 $37,346 $380.9
Other states 8,322 $36,690 $305.3
Total United States 18,522 $37,051 $686.3

(1) Includes other dog-related injuries that have impacted claims such as fractures or other blunt force trauma injuries.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, State Farm®.

View Archived Tables

NUMBER OF U.S. HOUSEHOLDS THAT OWN A PET, BY TYPE OF ANIMAL

(millions)

Pet Number
Dog 60.2
Cat 47.1
Freshwater fish 12.5
Bird 7.9
Small animal 6.7
Reptile 4.7
Horse 2.6
Saltwater fish 2.5

Source: American Pet Products Association’s 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey.

View Archived Tables

TOTAL NUMBER OF PETS OWNED IN THE UNITED STATES, BY TYPE OF ANIMAL

(millions)

Pet Number
Freshwater fish 139.3
Cat 94.2
Dog 89.7
Bird 20.3
Saltwater fish 18.8
Small animal 14.0
Reptile 9.4
Horse 7.6

Source: American Pet Products Association’s 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey.

View Archived Tables

© Insurance Information Institute, Inc. – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Meet our home insurance professionals….now and at renewal

I am very thankful for this team of professionals that serve our customers everyday with quality homeowners insurance and car insurance at prices that are usually lower than our competition.  Moreover, we monitor every renewal for accuracy and competitiveness.  Our goal is to place your home and car insurance with one of our quality companies that you can build a long term relationship with.  However, we all know that, occasionally, that doesn’t happen….our renewal process allows us to see these issues and start working on them well before the policy renews.

Our Specialty: Home and car insurance in Oklahoma….we don’t try to be experts in all lines of insurance.

Our Experience:  As of this writing, every staff person has an Oklahoma Agents License to service and sale and our staff of 7 has 108 years of combined personal insurance experience.

Our Motivation:  We desire slow, steady growth through long term client relationships.

Our Commitment:  To place your best interest above our own.

Statewide Insurance Agency

“Okstatewide.com – when you tired of fighting homeowners insurance in Oklahoma”

 

Pursuing Home Insurance Solutions

Quality home insurance in Oklahoma doesn’t have to break your bank account. We offer top quality homeowner and car insurance products and, our ability to quote multiple companies, ensures you get a solid price. Moreover, we will monitor your policy at each renewal to take advantage of any company changes that impact your policy.

Statewide Insurance Agency continues to place a high value in our relationship with Safeco Insurance (a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Mutual Insurance) to provide our customers with long term value on their Oklahoma home insurance and their Oklahoma auto insurance.  

Cheap home insurance rates in Oklahoma aren’t enough!  Oklahoma home insurance companies also have to provide consumers with a long term value package that includes excellent coverages and great agency service to go with the low home insurance rates and low car insurance rates.  Today’s consumers are well-read and able to compare home insurance quotes from several companies in a short amount of time.  These high demands eliminate many home insurance companies in Oklahoma from being able to offer long term insurance value.  Safeco Insurance is a company that we trust and believe you can too.  Here a few facts about Safeco…. 

THEY MAKE HOME INSURANCE EASY FOR HOMEOWNERS IN OKLAHOMA
Safeco offers 24/7 claims service and online account management tools.

ALL THE PRODUCTS EDMOND HOMEOWNERS NEED IN ONE PLACE.
Auto, home, motorcycle, boat, RV…you name it, chances are Safeco covers it.

LOCAL AGENTS, EXPERT ADVICE.
You’ll work with a local home insurance agent, like me, to get the coverage and home insurance quote you need at the right price.

THEY’LL BE THERE.
Safeco has been in business since 1923 and is backed by the financial strength of Liberty Mutual.

Insuring A Vacation Home

A vacation home can be a wonderful luxury and sometimes even a good investment, but there are some important factors to consider before making the leap into second-home ownership—such as insurance costs. Just like your primary home, you’ll need to insure your vacation home against burglary, fire, weather damage, liability and other risks. Because insurance can add significantly to the price of buying and owning a vacation home, you may want to consider the likely insurance costs before deciding on a specific property.

Key Factors Impacting Vacation Home Insurance Costs

For a number of reasons, insurance for a vacation home can be more expensive than the coverage on your primary residence. Notably, your second home may often be unoccupied, putting it at greater risk for theft, vandalism and undetected damage, like burst water pipes. When you shop for a vacation home, it’s important to recognize that the following factors will impact your insurance costs:

Location—The location of any home is always a factor in pricing insurance policies, but it can be especially significant for vacation homes. The very location that makes a vacation home desirable may also make it more expensive to insure. For instance, a ski house or hunting lodge in a remote or mountainous area could be at greater risk for damage due to wildfire. A beach house may be more exposed to wind damage or storm surge from a hurricane. These location-based risks will impact the price of coverage, and in some cases may even incur higher deductibles.

In addition, if the home is located in a flood zone, you’ll be required to purchase a separate flood insurance policy. Flood damage is not covered by standard homeowners insurance policies, but coverage is available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and from some private insurance companies. The cost of NFIP flood insurance for second homes has been increasing and there are also special surcharges that you will be required to pay. You can check the cost of flood insurance for a specific location by going to www.floodsmart.gov. You can also lower your insurance costs by choosing a location with less risk—for instance, further from the beach, down the mountain or in a gated community where there is security.

Type of Property—As is the case with any house, a vacation home’s age and types of building materials used will impact the cost of insurance. In addition, these costs will vary depending on whether your second home is a single-occupancy house, a condominium or a townhouse. A condominium, for instance, may have lower insurance costs because the homeowners association maintains and insures the exterior of the property and may provide security. Generally, the cost of insuring the structure of the unit will be included in the monthly maintenance fees. Your personal condo insurance will cover your belongings and specific areas of the unit listed in the policy.

Amenities—If your vacation home has a pool, hot tub or other special amenity that adds risk, you may pay a higher insurance premium. You may also want to purchase more liability protection as these items are considered “attractive nuisances” that lead to a higher probability of liability claims being filed.

Ways to Save on Second Home Insurance Costs

While the price of insurance will increase the total cost of ownership of a second home, there are steps that you can take to help make insurance more affordable:
Bundle Your Policies—If you insure your second home with the same insurer that provides coverage for your primary residence, you may be able to save 5 to 10 percent.
Install an Alarm System—A centrally monitored alarm system that detects both fire and break-ins can help lower the cost of insurance on your second home.
Shop Around—Get at least three quotes for coverage on your second home. It pays to shop around, both when you first purchase a policy and before you renew your policy each year.

Will You Rent Your Property?

If you plan to rent your vacation home to others, your homeowners insurance costs will likely increase, and you may need to purchase additional coverage. Your insurance needs will depend on how often you rent out the property and for how long. For a one-time short-term rental, you may be able to add a simple extension (an “endorsement”) to your existing homeowners policy. On the other hand, if you plan to regularly rent out your second home, you may need separate business coverage or a landlord policy. While some rental services, such as Airbnb and VRBO, offer coverage for homeowners, it’s important to read the fine print to determine limits and exclusions.

Because renting your second home entails additional, more complex risks, it’s a good idea to consult with your insurance professional. For more information, read the I.I.I.’s article, “What Type of Insurance Do I Need If I’m Renting out My Home?”

TIP

You’ll probably be furnishing your new vacation home as well as keeping clothing and equipment there to use when you visit. To help keep track of your possessions and file an insurance claim if necessary, create a home inventory with all of the items you’ll be keeping in the house. The I.I.I. provides a free Web- and app-based inventory tool, Know Your Stuff®, which makes it easy to store information and photos of your possessions, all in one place. The tool also allows you to set up various homes, each with their own inventory, and move items from one to the other.

By Insurance Information Institute