Proactively Manage Home Owners Insurance to Save Money
Understanding and managing your home owners insurance can provide you with peace of mind, help you to choose the best protection options to suit your needs, and save you money. Use these strategies to save on your insurance policy.
Home owners insurance, also known as hazard insurance, is a critical aspect of home ownership. In Dallas-Fort Worth, the weather can be unpredictable. As a result, it is important to carefully plan your policy coverage. Furthermore, insurance companies in Dallas-Fort Worth have unique exclusions and criteria for policy holders. Understanding and managing your policy will provide you with peace of mind, help you to choose the best protection options, and save you money in the long term.
Understanding Home Owner’s Insurance
A Texas home owners insurance policy provides insurance for a private residence, such as a single family home, a condominium, or even a manufactured home. It can be a combination of property and personal belongings replacement, loss of use and displacement coverage, and liability coverage to protect others who are injured on your property. Due to the widely varying needs of home owners, no two policies are the same, although they have similar features.
Factors Affecting Premiums
As with any insurance policy, premiums are directly affected by the levels of coverage and value of the property, plus regional factors. Despite insurance being heavily regulated by the Texas Department of Insurance, insurance rates tend to be higher than national averages due to inclement and severe weather possibilities throughout the year. In a given year, home owners could be faced with any number of weather-related damages, including hail, tornadoes, hurricanes, and windstorms.
In addition, depending on the cost of replacing your home in the case of a natural event, catastrophe, or total loss, and the value of the home’s contents, your premium could also increase periodically as the value of your assets increases and results in the need for additional coverage.
Some mortgage loans require a home owners insurance policy to qualify for the loan. These loans can require either a monthly or an annual premium payment, which is paid into an escrow account. You can expect to pay an annual premium for the first year’s insurance, which will be put into escrow at your home loan’s closing.
Finally, almost all insurance providers exclude coverage for losses from war and nuclear catastrophe. Your credit rating can affect your premiums, and should be reviewed regularly.
Learn Home Owners Insurance Language
To save on your coverage, it is important to research and develop a solid understanding of policies before purchasing insurance. There are many options available, each with limitations. Work closely with a licensed insurance specialist to learn about the options available.
As confusing as home owners insurance can be, there are four main areas of coverage: structural insurance (actual home’s structure), personal property (your belongings), riders, and guaranteed coverage options. There are often maximum allowed amounts as part of the policy limits. In Dallas-Fort Worth, for example, flood, windstorm, and hail insurance is typically provided through a policy rider. There are six general types of insurance policies; it is important to be familiar with each.
Ask About Discounts and Review Regularly
Knowing your policy also means knowing the insurance discounts for which you qualify. Multiple policies with the same insurer, certain safety features, upgraded home features, and even the policy holder’s age can lead to policy discounts. Be sure to discuss with your agent all the available discounts.
Finally, any time you experience a life change (marriage, divorce, home sale) or make a home improvement, call your insurance agent to review your policy. An annual or biannual discussion may save money in the long term as well. For more resources, visit the Texas Department of Insurance Homeowners Insurance Checklist.