Buying a home can be an overwhelming experience, especially if it’s your first time.
When you are handed the keys to your new home, you may instantly feel excitement, relief, and concern. The excitement bubbles from the start of a new chapter of your life. The relief comes from finally putting pen to paper and closing a deal.
But, many first-time homeowners experience a lot of concern as well. How can I afford to pay my mortgage? When do I pay my mortgage? How do I fix a toilet if it stops flushing? There are plenty of other questions that are likely popping into your mind.
One area that you shouldn’t have to be concerned about is your homeowner’s insurance. It should be a coverage that’s always there for you, in the background, just in case you need it.
Finding the right homeowners insurance can be tough, though. For one, there a lot of companies and a lot of policies available. In addition, the policies themselves can be hard to dissect.
Here are some first time homeowners insurance tips you should follow to make your life less stressful.
Being prepared is always a good idea. When it comes to homeowners insurance, you may not even have a choice. That’s because many mortgage companies will require proof of homeowners insurance before they’ll allow you to close on the loan.
Even though you won’t officially own the home yet, you may be required to provide proof of insurance. This evidence is called a binder. The insurance company will have you pay for the first year of insurance upfront in most cases. Then, they’ll provide proof of that insurance to the mortgage company.
After that first year, many lenders will allow you to pay for your homeowners insurance on a monthly basis through an escrow account.
If you don’t search early for homeowners insurance, it could push back the closing date on your home. Or, if you can’t push back the closing, it could force you to take whatever policy is available to you.
Find Out What’s Covered
There are a lot of technical terms in a homeowners insurance policy. There also are a lot of different coverages in these policies. It’s very important to know exactly what you’re paying for, and what’s covered.
Your insurance policy will detail maximum dollar amounts for your home’s structure. But, does it cover damage to your property? Does it cover replacing personal items if your home is broken into? Are there certain personal items that aren’t covered?
Most homeowners insurance policies cover the loss of personal items. Many, though, won’t cover you for expensive items such as fine jewelry. You may need to add them one by one in an addendum.
Also, it’s important to understand how you are covered for water damage. Does your policy cover you if your home floods due to a pipe bursting? What about flood coverage that relates to a nearby body of water?
These are all things to understand before purchasing a homeowners insurance policy.
Understand Your Deductible
First-time homeowners may be tempted to use their insurance policy to coverage any damage their home suffers. It’s important to understand what your policy’s deductible is, and how making claims could affect your rates.
Homeowners insurance is in place to help you pay for large damages your home and/or property sustain. It’s typically not a good idea to file a homeowners insurance claim for minor repairs.
Many homeowners will have a deductible of $1,000. This means the insurance company will only pitch in for damage above that amount. If you file a $1,100 claim to fix a leaky roof caused by weather, your insurance company would only pay $100 in this instance.
Filing this small claim could also increase your policy’s premium in the future. That’s why it’s often recommended to only use your homeowners insurance policy when you absolutely need it.
One way you can avoid the temptation is to increase your deductible. Your insurance company should allow you to choose a higher deductible amount for your policy.
Not only will this hammer home the importance of not filing smaller claims, it also could reduce your annual premium in the process.
Save by Bundling
A great way to save on your homeowners insurance policy is by bundling it with other insurance policies. Bundling may be something completely new to first-time homebuyers. They may have only carried auto insurance up to this point.
Many insurance companies will offer you significant discounts if you buy two or more policies with them. Bundling is one of the most effective ways to lower your out-of-pocket costs for insurance premiums.
When you are shopping around for homeowners insurance, have the companies quote you for auto insurance, too. This is an easy way to get the lowest price possible.
When you’re making your final decision, make sure you’re comparing apples to apples, too. You should approach the homeowners insurance decision as a full evaluation of your insurance needs. Therefore, consider the overall cost of all your insurance policies, and not just your homeowners insurance.
Work with a Great Company Like Signature Insurance
When you’re getting homeowners insurance for the first time, you want to feel comfortable knowing you’re working with a good company. A homeowners policy, after all, is only as good as the company that’s providing it to you. If they aren’t there for you when you need it, it doesn’t matter what’s in the policy or what it costs.
Signature Insurance has been serving customers in Michigan for years. We help first-time homebuyers navigate the complex process of purchasing a home by making the insurance end of it easy and stress-free.
We also provide affordable rates and policies that fit all types of homes and situations. Call Signature Insurance today to get a free quote.