Homeowners Insurance

Get advice on homeowners insurance. Learn how to find the best home insurance rates and more.

Owning a home means the reward of having a roof over your head you can call your own, but it also comes with risks like fire and theft, to name a few. One way to ensure that you’re protected against some of the most common risks is to get homeowners insurance. All insurance isn’t the same, however. How can you know what you’re buying? Here are answers to the top questions consumers have about home insurance.

What is homeowners insurance?

Homeowners insurance is a group of coverages bundled into one policy that can protect homeowners from unforeseen damage or loss from events such as weather, theft or vandalism.

Homeowners insurance provides relief in the form of cash or replacement of the contents of the home and the structure itself. It also provides liability coverage against claims from others that may have been harmed on your property. It providescoverage for the use of the home, as well.

What does home insurance cover?

Basic home insurance policies cover the repair or replacement of the structure of your house, as well as covered contents, from fire, wind damage or hail – as well as theft or vandalism. Other incidents are usually covered, though they may vary by policy. Loss of your use of the home is usually covered, as well; during the time you are waiting for repair or replacement, the policy should pay for alternate accommodations.

More comprehensive policies may include outside structures (such as garages or sheds) systems (sprinklers or home security) and machinery or equipment used outside of your home.

If you run a business from home or need specialty protections for expensive home contents (guns or collectibles), you might be able to buy these protections as additional riders. Check your contract language carefully to see what perils are specifically covered (or not covered), as well as what your insurance will pay to replace or repair.

Home insurance usually offers a level of liability protection. If someone falls and injures themselves in your driveway, for example, the policy can pay if you were to be sued.

How much does homeowners insurance cost?

Like most kinds of insurance, the cost will vary. Factors that determine your total cost for premiums include how much your home is worth, any outside structures, how you use your property and the total value of your possessions. The final cost can be hundreds up to thousands of dollars annually, depending on how low you want your deductible and whether you cover the full replacement cost of the home and its contents.

What is the best home insurance?

The best insurance for you depends on a number of factors. You want a policy that’s sufficient to replace the structure and contents of your home if it’s destroyed or damaged. Policyholders expect to have temporary accommodations while a new living arrangement is being prepared. A top policy will come with excellent customer service and make the claims process easy.

Which company has the cheapest home insurance?

The cost of home insurance is very personalized and follows a formula based on a variety of factors. What may be the cheapest company in one area may not be as affordable in another part of the country. Your home type, such as single-family versus condo, may alter the pricing, as well. Some companies won’t insure some types of housing. To get the best price on a policy, shop around with multiple companies.

How can I lower my homeowners insurance rate?

There are many ways to keep homeowners insurance costs down. Here are a few common ways:

  • Raise your deductible to secure a lower rate.
  • Pay your premiums upfront, instead of through monthly payments.
  • Bundle with your auto or life insurance.
  • Improve your credit.
  • Make improvements to the safety and security of your home, such as including additional fire prevention or home security technology. (Not all policies will lower your rate for these improvements, though.)

Going many years without filing a claim can have a long-term, positive effect on your rates.

Other industry-standard discounts may apply based on your demographics, such as rate cuts for couples, non-smokers and first-time homeowners.

How much home insurance do I need?

Figuring out how much insurance you need starts with calculating the replacement value of your home, or a similar home if it had to be rebuilt today. Then, add in the cost to replace your possessions, including any valuables or items that may not be easily purchased. Finally, consider the cost of an average liability claim—it might be much higher than the $100,000 limit in most basic policies. Consult with your insurance agent or company to see how these factors can be combined into a comprehensive home policy that protects your interests.

Who are the top 5 home insurance companies?

Some of the top home insurance companies in the U.S., according to Bankrate, are:

  • Amica Mutual
  • Allstate
  • Metlife
  • Geico
  • Farmers

What is flood insurance?

Standard home insurance doesn’t typically cover flooding, either from natural events or from structural failure. A separate flood insurance policy may be available in your area through select insurance companies who participate in FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. Like other policies, flood insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing water damage or a flood that’s already in progress at the time the customer buys the policy.

What is renters insurance?

Renters insurance is a group of coverages bundled into one policy that can protect renters from unforeseen damage or loss. It covers their property, their use of the property and liability that others may seek against them.

Here are Bankrate’s picks for the best renters insurance companies.

How much is renters insurance?

While the policy price will vary by customer and type of property covered, renters insurance is affordable. Average monthly premiums range from $15 to $30 a month.

What does renters insurance cover?

Most renters insurance policies cover your items in a rented property from events such as fire, wind, hail or theft. Renters insurance also provides some liability coverage, protecting you against claims if someone is hurt in your rented home. A good renters insurance policy will also protect other people’s property from damage the occurred in your home, as well as the cost for you to live somewhere else while your home is restored after an event.

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