Coverage.com, LLC is a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 19966249). Coverage.com services are only available in states where it is licensed. Coverage.com may not offer insurance coverage in all states or scenarios. All insurance products are governed by the terms in the applicable insurance policy, and all related decisions (such as approval for coverage, premiums, commissions and fees) and policy obligations are the sole responsibility of the underwriting insurer. The information on this site does not modify any insurance policy terms in any way.
Homeowners insurance for senior citizens
The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate, we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. To help readers understand how insurance affects their finances, we have licensed insurance professionals on staff who have spent a combined 47 years in the auto, home and life insurance industries. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation of . Our content is backed by Coverage.com, LLC, a licensed entity (NPN: 19966249). For more information, please see our .
Retirement is an exciting time, but it also requires some financial planning. While homeowners insurance might not be top of mind for senior citizens, choosing the right coverage and carrier may help you stay within budget without sacrificing financial protection for your home. Bankrate’s team of insurance experts put together this guide on navigating home insurance for senior citizens.
Home insurance considerations for seniors
Whether you're moving into a new home as a senior or just reevaluating your coverage needs, the best homeowners insurance will depend on your specific circumstances. To find the best homeowners insurance company, consider getting quotes from multiple companies to find the one that offers the coverage types you need at the best price. Other things to consider include:
There are several types of homeowners insurance, but an HO-3 insurance policy is the most common for homeowners. Seniors with a high-value home, or with high-value items like jewelry, furs or fine arts may have or want to consider an HO-5 policy, which provides additional coverage limits. If you are a senior citizen with a much older home or one not easily replaced, an HO-8 may be a better policy. Not all insurance companies offer each type of home insurance policy and not all homeowners will qualify, so it may be worth speaking with a licensed agent to determine what kind of policy fits your needs.
Coverage types and limits
When shopping for home insurance or reviewing your current policy, it is important to know what coverage types can be adjusted to cover your home and personal belongings. If you have antique or heirloom items, you may need to purchase scheduled personal property coverage to fully insure the value of these items.
Some seniors may have modifications done to their homes that require additional coverage, like having a stairlift or wheelchair ramp. These home modifications should be discussed with your insurance agent to determine if you need to increase dwelling or other structure coverage.
Because insurance companies and policies differ, seniors should compare coverage types and quotes to find the best options to cover their home and personal property. You may consider working with an independent insurance agent. The independent agent can shop with multiple insurance companies for you after learning your unique needs to find the best home insurance policy for you.
Perhaps you are not a homeowner and instead are renting a home or apartment. No matter what type of building you are living in, renters insurance may help financially protect your personal contents when you do not own your home. This type of coverage may also apply to seniors living in assisted living facilities.
Common home insurance coverage types
Most standard homeowners insurance policies offer the same coverage types, but limits can vary. Some coverage types may be increased or added to personalize your home insurance policy.
- Dwelling coverage: This is the amount that would be paid out to repair or rebuild your home in the event of a total loss. Having the appropriate amount of dwelling coverage is important, especially as building and labor costs continue to rise. It’s recommended to review your policy with your agent annually to see if any adjustments need to be made.
- Other structures coverage: This limit is generally 10 percent of the dwelling coverage but can be increased if needed. If you are planning to build separate structures on your land, you may need to adjust this coverage to insure them.
- Personal property coverage: Coverage amounts vary, but are typically between 50-80 percent of dwelling coverage and can be increased if needed. If you purchase new furniture or collect high-value items, you may want to discuss the appropriate amount of personal property coverage with your agent. You can even consider adding scheduled personal property for specific high-value items.
- Personal liability coverage: The minimum amount of liability on a home policy is usually $100,000, but this can be increased as needed and many policies are sold with $300,000 as a standard limit. If you frequently host events or guests at your home, you may want to consider higher limits or an umbrella policy.
- Loss of use coverage: The coverage limit for this varies but is usually a percentage of the dwelling coverage. This option may pay for temporary housing, pet boarding, parking fees and more if you are displaced after a covered claim.
- Medical payments coverage: The lowest limit is usually $1,000, but coverage can be increased, usually with a cap of $5,000 or $10,000. This coverage pays injuries to guests regardless if you are found at fault. If you frequently have people over, a higher limit might be prudent.
Is homeowners insurance more expensive for seniors?
The cost of homeowners insurance is determined by a number of factors. Characteristics like your claims history, your home’s location, the age of the home, square footage, roof condition and how much coverage you need will determine your rate. Each insurance company sets its own rating structure, so you will get different rates from different carriers.
However, your age is not a rating factor when it comes to homeowners insurance. When looking for homeowners insurance for seniors, it is typically best to consider companies that offer the coverage you need at a price that fits your budget. Some insurance companies may offer a senior citizens discount on insurance policies.
How to find affordable homeowners insurance for seniors
Fortunately, there are strategies you may be able to use to find affordable homeowners insurance for seniors. Some factors — such as your home's location and age — are out of your control. But others are not, and this is where you may want to focus your attention when looking for cheap homeowners insurance. Consider the following tactics to potentially lower your premium cost:
Shop around and compare quotes
Don't assume that the first quote you receive for coverage is going to be the best option. It's usually a good idea to ask for quotes from several of the best homeowners insurance companies since you're likely to find that they have a range of premiums even if you're asking for the same amount of coverage from each one. With a handful of quotes in hand, you can choose the company that offers the best blend of affordability, customer service and coverage options to fit your needs.
Look for insurance discounts for seniors
Seniors may be able to take advantage of discounts to keep homeowners insurance rates low. These are some common discounts you may want to look for:
- Claims free: Many insurers offer discounts for policyholders who go a set period of time without filing a claim.
- Bundling home and auto insurance: Purchasing additional insurance types, like auto or RV, from your home insurance carrier may earn you a discount on one or both policies.
- Legacy or loyalty discount: If you stay with the same insurer for a certain number of years — often three to five — you may save money. A few insurers also offer a legacy discount to the children of long-time policyholders.
- Home improvements: You may earn a discount for renovations that improve your home's structure, such as installing a new roof or upgrading HVAC or plumbing.
- Monitored burglar and fire alarms: Since safety devices may mean a lower possibility of claims, you might earn a discount for installing them.
- Smart home devices: This discount rewards you for installing smart technology, such as gas and water shutoffs or a smart thermostat.