Many or all of the products presented here come from our partners who compensate us. This can affect the products we write about and where and how the product looks on a page. However, this does not affect our ratings. Our opinions are ours.
Shopping for homeowners insurance is not something you do every day. After choosing a policy, you are likely to follow it for at least a year. This means that it is important to compare home insurance quotes and make sure you get a good price before buying.
But understanding home insurance quotes can be a challenge. Price isn't the only problem: you also want a policy that meets your needs in the event of a disaster. Before you shop, here's what you'll want to know.
»OTHER: Understanding Renters Insurance
What is a home insurance quote?
An insurance quote for homeowners is an estimate of the price you will pay for a policy. It is based on a wide range of factors, including the size of your home, what your neighborhood is like and whether a fire station is nearby.
Each company uses its own formula to calculate quotes, so prices can vary widely. By comparing different quotes, you increase your chances of finding the best rate for the right homeowner insurance for you.
Since a home insurance quote is only an estimate, it may not exactly match the price you pay for the coverage. In some cases, an inspector can come to your house and determine that you need a different amount of coverage, which can change the price.
»OTHER: Homeowners insurance: what it is and what it covers
What goes into a homeowners insurance quote?
Many factors influence your home insurance quote, from the size of your home to the things in your closet. Companies evaluate these factors in several ways, so one insurer may be more forgiving than your credit history or backyard trampoline.
Here are some of the factors that can affect the homeowners insurance quote.
Cost reconstruction. The more it would cost to rebuild your home if it were destroyed, the more likely your home insurance is. The price to be rebuilt depends on the local construction, materials and labor costs. Size makes a difference here: a 5,000 square foot house typically costs much more to replace than a 1,000 square foot house.
Age of your home. Older homes typically cost more to be insured because their components may have deteriorated over time and may not meet current building codes.
Type of materials Houses built with materials such as brick or stone are cheaper to insure than wooden houses, which are flammable.
Security features. Alarm systems, smoke detectors, deadbolt locks and other security features can result in lower home insurance quotes because they reduce the likelihood of theft or damage.
Home improvements. Your quote may be higher after remodeling the kitchen, adding a deck, or making other home improvements that increase rebuilding costs.
Local fire protection. If you are near a fire hydrant and a fire station, you will probably be entitled to cheaper home insurance quotes than those who live in a more remote area.
Natural disaster risks in your area. Home insurance quotes are generally higher in areas prone to hurricanes, earthquakes, fires and other natural hazards.
Neighborhood crime rates. If a lot of burglaries happen in your neighborhood, home insurance prices may be higher.
YOU AND YOUR STUFF
Your credit score. In most states, a home insurance quote can be higher for people with bad credit. Insurers claim that people with poor credit are more likely to file claims. But in California, Maryland and Massachusetts, companies cannot take credit into consideration when setting insurance prices for homeowners.
Your pet. Quotes can be high for homeowners insurance if you own a dog of a breed considered aggressive. This is because your liability insurance may have to pay if your dog bites someone and they sue you. Some companies may not be willing to provide coverage.
Your personal effects. If you own an expensive musical instrument, expensive jewelry or other valuables, you may need additional coverage that will increase your quote.
The swimming pool at the back or the trampoline. Owning these items can increase your home insurance quote because of the risk of accidents they represent. If someone is injured in using it, you may be responsible for whether or not you have granted permission.
Your wood stove. Insurers can view your stove as a fire hazard, particularly if it has not been professionally installed or does not meet the requirements of the code.
Your home business. If you work from home, you may need to add coverage to a standard homeowner policy or purchase or to an entrepreneur's policy to cover business-related equipment, inventory, and liability.
Your previous complaints. If you have filed numerous complaints in the past, the insurers may see you as a risk and charge you higher premiums.
Choose the right coverage for the home insurance quote
A homeowners policy is made up of several distinct types of coverage – some that are automatically included and others that you can choose to add, known as sponsorships or knights. When you receive a home insurance quote, you will choose the amount of coverage you need and if you want optional features.
Here's how the different types of coverage work.
Standard insurance coverage for homeowners
A standard insurance policy for homeowners generally includes six types of coverage. Here's how much to buy.
Housing coverage pays to repair damage to your home and attached structures such as a porch or bridge. You need sufficient housing coverage to rebuild your home if it is destroyed. The cost for rebuilding is different from the market value of your home or its appraisal of property tax, which would take into account factors such as the value of the land and the opportunity of your location. To get an estimate of the cost of rebuilding, multiply the square footage of your home by the local construction cost per square foot. You can also ask an insurance agent or insurer to help you find those costs and calculate the replacement value.
Covering other structures helps you repair or replace the autonomous structures of your property, such as swimming pools or storage buildings. The coverage is typically 10% of the amount of the home coverage. You can purchase additional coverage if you have facilities that would be expensive to replace.
Personal property coverage pays to repair or replace your personal belongings, such as furniture and clothes, if they are stolen or damaged by an accident covered by the homeowners policy. This coverage is generally between 50% and 70% of the amount of housing coverage. You can purchase extra coverage for expensive items such as jewelry and works of art, but you may need to evaluate them.
The additional coverage of living expenses helps to pay the cost of living elsewhere while the house is being repaired. Coverage is often around 20% of the amount of home coverage.
Liability coverage pays for personal injury or property damage. Typical amounts range from $ 100,000 to $ 500,000. An umbrella insurance policy can add more coverage, which can be important if circumstances put you at risk of being sued.
Medical payment coverage pays to treat someone who is injured in your property, regardless of who is at fault. It pays even if the homeowner, family member or pet injures someone while away from home. Typical limits range from $ 1,000 to $ 5,000.
Homeowners insurance options
In addition to standard coverages, you will also need to make several choices about options when requesting home insurance quotes, including:
Your deductible. This is the amount you pay out of your own pocket before the insurer covers any damages, typically from $ 500 to $ 2,000 for homeowners insurance. Choosing a higher deductible can be a smart way to reduce your premiums, if you are sure you can afford to pay the deductible in the event of a claim.
Coverage of earthquakes, floods or wind storms. Standard home insurance does not cover earthquake or flood damage and windstorm coverage is limited in some hurricane-prone regions. If you live in an area affected by these risks, we recommend that you ask for optional coverage. Flood insurance is required for some properties in high-risk areas.
Replacement cost coverage for your personal belongings. Most standards for standard homeowners will not pay to replace old items with new ones unless you choose this update.
Extended or guaranteed replacement cost coverage for your home. Standard policies will no longer pay the housing coverage limit to repair your home. Extended replacement cost coverage will pay more if repairs require it, up to a specified limit, and guaranteed replacement cost coverage will pay the full cost.
What information do you need to get a home insurance quote?
When you start shopping for home insurance quotes, the insurers will have questions about you and your home. Here are some of the information you'll want to have on hand.
DETAILS ABOUT YOU
Name, date of birth, marital status and contact information.
Your address and how long you have lived there.
The number of people who live with you.
If you own a dog or other pets.
Whether you have a home business, including a childcare activity.
If you need extra coverage for items like jewelry or home computers.
DETAILS ABOUT YOUR INSURANCE
The name of your most recent insurance company (if you previously had a policy) and the dates of coverage.
If you've filed complaints in the past five years.
The date you want home insurance coverage to begin.
How much coverage do you want. If you already have an insurance, the declaration page of your current policy is a starting point. You can see the coverage and extra features you have now – but be willing to make changes. Before comparing home insurance quotes, it's smart to reevaluate your needs.
DETAILS ABOUT YOUR HOME
The year the house was built. If it's an older house, you may be asked how long it has been renovated and if the electrical and plumbing systems have been updated.
The square footage of the house, how many stories it has and the style, like the ranch or the colonial.
Whether the external walls are constructed of wood, brick, stone or other materials.
The age of the roof and what it is made of, such as slate, shingles or metal.
The number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
Whether there are features like a garage, a fireplace, a smart home technology, burglar alarms or a fire alarm system.
How the house is heated.
If there are detached structures such as a gazebo or a changing room.
If there is a home loan.
The distance to the nearest fire station and fire hydrant.
If you don't know when your house was built or its square footage, you can probably get these details from your local tax advisor's office, often through a free online search. Try searching for a "tax expert" or "real estate records" and the name of your county or city. In addition, some insurers and agents have access to construction materials, dimensions and other information that they may be able to fill in once they have their home address.
How to get homeowners insurance quotes
When you are ready to get an insurance quote for homeowners, you have several options:
Buy quotes online or by phone.
Work with a "captive agent" who represents a single company.
Work with an independent agent or insurance broker.
Whichever path you choose, plan to get at least three quotes so you can be sure of getting a good price. And as you compare the quotes, make sure that each policy has similar endorsements, deductibles and coverage limits.
Home insurance quotes online or by phone
You can get free home owner insurance quotes online from many companies, and if you are satisfied with the quote, in some cases you can complete your purchase online. Some insurers allow you to start a quote online but send you to an agent to finish the quote over the phone.
When you buy an insurance directly from an insurer without the help of an agent, you can easily adjust the coverages and see the quotes in person, but there are also disadvantages.
PRO AND AGAINST ONLINE DOMESTIC INSURANCE QUOTES
Captive insurance agents
You can also get a homeowners insurance quote through a captive agent. A captive agent works for a specific insurance company, such as Allstate, Farmers Insurance or State Farm.
The job of an agent is to help understand which policy is best for you and provide a quote. In return, the agent earns a commission – or percentage of the premium – when you purchase a policy. Unlike other agents, captive agents could also earn a salary from the insurance company.
Pros and cons of insurance agents in grade
Independent insurance agents and brokers
If you want to talk through home insurance options without limiting yourself to a company, getting a quote from an agent or independent broker might be a good choice.
Independent agents and brokers work with multiple insurers and can offer a wide range of options and policies. Since independent agents work on a commission basis, they can endeavor to provide the best possible customer service or direct you to more expensive policies.
Independent brokers differ from independent agents in that they charge a broker fee and have to communicate the fees to clients. This transparency lets you know exactly how much the broker earns from your business.
Pros and cons of independent agents and brokers
How much does home insurance cost?
On average, the price of insurance for homeowners is $ 1,211 per year, according to the most recent report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which uses 2017 data.
The home insurance quote may be above or below average, depending on how much it would cost to rebuild the home. Here's how the annual premiums compared in the NAIC analysis for variable coverage amounts, as well as the percentage of policies in that range of values.
Average insurance premiums for property owners based on the amount of coverage
Average homeowners insurance rates also vary by location. States have different insurance regulations and construction costs are not the same across the country. As a result, homeowners insurance prices do not move hand in hand with house values.
For example, Georgia and New Mexico have identical median house values of $ 166,800, according to the 2014-2018 American Community Survey of the United States Census Bureau, the latest available. But the average home insurance rate is 20% higher in Georgia than in New Mexico.
Here is a state by state chart to give you an idea of what to expect in your area.
Average insurance premiums for homeowners by state
How to get the cheapest homeowners insurance quote possible
Shopping is the best way to find the cheapest home insurance deals you can. Your home is an important investment, so you don't want to skimp on the coverage, but until you compare the quotes you can't know if you have a good deal.
You can also try these other tips to save on homeowners insurance:
Increase your deductible. If you agree to bear more of the cost after a potential claim, you can substantially reduce your premiums. Raising the deductible from $ 500 to $ 1,000 can reduce premiums by up to 25%, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Bundle of home and auto insurance policies. Many insurers offer both types of coverage and you can get discounts for purchasing auto and home insurance from the same company.
Ask for discounts. Price cuts are often available, but vary from company to company, so it's smart to check. You could get discounts for having a smoke-free home, being retired, buying a new home, registering for automatic payments, or being exempt from complaints, for example.
Make your home safer. Features such as smoke detectors, shutters and deadbolt closures can lead to discounts. You could also get cheaper home insurance quotes if you upgrade your outdated heating, plumbing and electrical systems.
Improve your credit. In most states, a good credit history can lead to lower home insurance rates. Try to pay your bills on time and keep your debt as low as possible to build your credit score.
Release the cover you no longer need. Review your policy documents and make sure you don't pay for the coverage you don't need. If you put extra insurance on that high-end computer a few years ago but it's not worth much anymore, you will save money by reducing the coverage.
Get rid of risky features. A garden trampoline, a tree house or a swimming pool can significantly increase the costs of home insurance. To save money and keep your family safer, consider abandoning these items and finding less dangerous sources of entertainment.
Home insurance quotes frequently asked questions
What is the average home insurance fee?
Homeowners insurance costs on average $ 1,211 per year in 2017, according to the latest data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. However, prices vary widely. Insurance quotes for homeowners will be much more specific to you.
How can I get free quotes for homeowners?
Most insurers offer free insurance quotes for homeowners through their website, over the phone or in person with an agent.
Does getting a home insurance quote affect your credit?
Shopping for homeowners insurance quotes will not affect your credit score. However, having poor credit is likely to increase the share of home insurance except in California, Maryland and Massachusetts, where insurers are not allowed to take credit into consideration when setting rates. Elsewhere, about 85% of home insurers consider credit, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Is it possible to get home insurance quotes before buying a house?
You can get homeowners insurance quotes before closing for buying a home. If you have a mortgage, your lender will probably ask you to have home insurance in effect on the closing day. Buying quotes in advance gives you time to make the best coverage decisions.
Can you get home and auto insurance quotes as a package?
Many insurers offer quotes for bundled car and home insurance. You can often get discounts by purchasing both types of coverage through the same insurance company.