The U.S. housing market took us on a wild ride in 2022, with inventory plummeting, prices skyrocketing and interest rates rising to levels not seen in years. With fewer shoppers able to purchase a home, there’s evidence that fewer households were shopping for home insurance. While it might make the most sense to shop for a new insurance policy when you’re buying a different home, shopping your current home insurance — even if you’re staying in the same house — can have some nice perks. Bankrate spoke with insurance experts and analyzed shopping data trends to help you understand why it could be beneficial to shop for home insurance even if you aren’t planning to move anytime soon.

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Why shopping home insurance is important

Shopping for home insurance is a key step in buying a home, but what about when you already own a home and have a policy in place? Turns out, shopping your existing home insurance policy can have major benefits.

Whether you’re looking for an improved customer experience, better coverage, a fairer price or a company that’s better aligned with your values, there are plenty of reasons people switch their homeowners insurance providers.

— Sean BurgessChief Claims Officer at Lemonade

Shopping for and comparing home insurance quotes, even if you’re not moving, can allow you to assess your current needs and decide if your policy and company can fulfill those needs. Even if you chose the best home insurance company for your needs when you initially purchased your home, your needs may have changed. Perhaps you need to find a lower rate, a specialty coverage option or a local agent.

But many homeowners purchase a policy when they buy their house and neglect to review their coverage needs. Stephen Crewdson, Senior Director for J.D. Power, told Bankrate that there is “anecdotal evidence that you’re more likely to shop when you’re buying a home than just any average day.” This means that existing home insurance policyholders could be missing out on an opportunity to find better coverage.

Should you shop for home insurance even if you aren’t buying a house?

It certainly can’t hurt. Karen Collins, Assistant Vice President of Personal Lines for the American Property and Casualty Insurance Association, confirms this, saying “there are only benefits associated with shopping for homeowners insurance.”

But the data shows that homeowners aren’t shopping as much if they aren’t moving. TransUnion data shows that home insurance shopping rates remained relatively flat between mid-April and late May 2022, but the shopping rates began a rapid decline starting in early June. By early July 2022, home insurance shopping rates were down 7.2 percent year over year. Bankrate theorizes that the intense housing market and rising mortgage rates last summer likely meant that fewer shoppers were getting homes, which meant fewer homeowners were shopping for coverage.

“Shopping for homeowners insurance isn’t just for when you’re moving homes,” Burgess says. “If you’re dissatisfied with your current homeowners insurance provider — or just curious if there’s a better deal out there — it’s worth shopping around to get a sense of your options.”

Requesting home insurance quotes doesn’t lock you into an agreement to purchase a new policy. Additionally, many shoppers think that getting insurance quotes affects their credit rating. But don’t worry: that’s a myth. Insurance companies in most states do use credit as a rating factor, but they use a “soft check” that does not impact or damage your credit in any way. Simply put, there’s no downside to shopping for home insurance.

There are, however, plenty of benefits to shopping. Let’s explore the various perks of sussing out the competition.

You may find a cheaper rate

Although recent data suggests that inflation is cooling slightly, it remains elevated and most households are feeling the effects. Because different insurers have different rates, you may find a lower premium — and some breathing room in your budget — by shopping around.

“People say they’re shopping because of price,” Crewdson told Bankrate. “The percentage who say they’re shopping because of price has increased throughout the year.” Home insurance rates increased in 2022 and are expected to continue to rise in 2023, and just because your current policy was the cheapest option when you initially shopped doesn’t mean it’s the cheapest option now. Shopping around lets you compare rates to find the cheapest home insurance policy for your needs.

Just consider carefully whether you should cut coverage in an attempt to get a lower rate. Goosehead Insurance conducted a study of 2,000 American homeowners and found that 57 percent said they were willing to forgo coverage for a lower rate.

While it may seem like a solid strategy to save money, this can be a dangerous one. Reducing your coverage can mean that you are left with higher out-of-pocket costs in the aftermath of a claim, which could lead to a greater level of financial disruption than paying for the extra coverage in the first place. If you aren’t sure how much home insurance you need, you may want to work with a licensed agent while you’re shopping rather than getting a quote online.

Shopping may help you find better coverage

Price isn’t the only factor to consider when shopping for home insurance. Checking out the competition may also help you find better coverage.

Collins reminded Bankrate that “[w]ith inflation, supply chain issues and increased demand for skilled labor and construction materials following unprecedented natural disasters, there has been a significant increase in the cost to rebuild homes and businesses.” That means that even if you haven’t made any changes to your home, you might need higher limits. Your current insurer can give you a quote for any necessary adjustments to your policy, but shopping around could help you find better or more specialized coverage.

If you find a lower premium when you shop, it may also allow you to increase your coverage and still stay within your budget. You may find that, with a company that has lower rates, you can add additional endorsements or increase your liability coverage, for example, without pushing yourself over your financial limits.

Your home insurance needs may be changing

If there’s one universal truth, it’s that change is inevitable. Whether the change is sudden or gradual, your life will shift, and when it does, your insurance needs might change. Home insurance shouldn’t be a static, “set-it-and-forget-it” product.

While that might work for some homeowners, most people experience changing needs throughout their tenure as homeowners. For example, when you purchased your home, maybe you needed the cheapest coverage to help offset the various startup costs involved in being a first-time home buyer. Several years into your homeownership journey, you might be more financially secure. Maybe you make some changes to your house, purchase some higher-end belongings, host guests more frequently or welcome new family members.

All of those factors could highlight a need for more or different home insurance coverage. As your needs change, so should your home insurance. Remember that home insurance is fundamentally a financial product. It’s designed to protect your finances from the fallout of unexpected home-related losses, so it’s important to assess your risk level as your life changes.

Additionally, shopping can serve as a good touchpoint to review your coverage limits in general. During the height of the pandemic, home renovations increased in popularity. If you’ve made significant changes to your home — such as upgrading finishes, adding a screened porch or upgrading your roof — you should let your insurer know so you can re-evaluate your needs.

The bottom line

Shopping for home insurance is a common step when purchasing a home, but there are also benefits to shopping an existing policy. This doesn’t mean you have to change home insurance providers, though; there are also plenty of reasons to stay with your current insurer. “If you’re satisfied with your coverage, believe that your insurer provides great customer service and think that you’re paying a reasonable premium,” Burgess says, “you may well decide that you don’t want to switch home insurance providers.” Shopping your home insurance doesn’t mean you have to purchase a new policy; it’s simply a tool to allow you to make sure your current policy still fits your needs.