As you search for your new home, remember the physical characteristics of the house — its size, location, construction, and overall condition. This can affect the cost, choice, and availability of home insurance. Sometimes, desirable features—like ornate plasterwork or proximity to the coastline — can make insuring a home costlier or more difficult.
Here are some factors that you need to consider before signing the dotted line:
Quality and location
Houses that are highly rated permanently staffed fire departments usually cost less to insure. This also holds for homes that have a hydrant nearby.
Proximity to the coastline
Houses on or near the coast will cost more to insure than those further inland.
Age of the home
An older home can be quite beautiful but ornate features like plaster walls, ceiling molding, and wooden floors may be costly to replace and can raise the cost of insurance. And plumbing and electrical systems can become unsafe with age and lack of maintenance. If you are considering buying an older home to find out how much it will cost to update these features and the cost of ownership.
Condition of the roof
A new roof matters to insurers and keeps you and your family safer. Check the roof's condition. Depending on the type of roof and whether it's made with fire and or hail-resistant materials, you may even qualify for an insurance discount.
Quality of construction
Find out whether the house has been updated to comply with current building codes. Homes well built by careful artisans and those constructed to meet modern engineering-based building codes are likely to better withstand natural disasters.
Risk of flooding
Damage from flooding is NOT covered by standard home insurance policies
Take precautions and understand the house's history, current condition, potential trouble spots—and costs.
Here are more tips:
Ask the current homeowner to get a copy of the loss history report on the home. For instance, if there was a claim for water damage on the home, it would be important to find out the source of the damage (such as a burst pipe) and whether it has been properly repaired. A claim for the wind or hail that resulted in a new roof makes the home stronger and is very attractive from an insurance perspective.
Get the house inspected. You must have the house inspected by a certified home inspector to get your mortgage approved. Accompany the inspector to make sure he or she is thorough and makes sure to:
Check the general condition of the home.
Look for water damage, termites, and other types of infestation
Review the electrical system, plumbing, septic tank, and water heater.
Show you where potential problems might develop.
Double-check that past problems have been repaired
Suggest important upgrades or replacements.
If the inspector raises questions, your insurance company will as well. Be sure to find out if there is an underground oil storage tank, as many insurers will not provide policies for homes that have one.
Estimate maintenance costs. Routine maintenance is your responsibility as a homeowner so be sure to factor these costs into the overall price of owning the home. Losses caused by failing to properly care for your home are not covered.
Call your insurance professional. Don’t wait until the last minute to think about homeowners' insurance and don’t be shy about asking for estimates on over one house. Ask if the house will qualify and get an estimate of the premium. The sooner you speak with your insurance professional, the smoother the process will be. If you're uncomfortable with the cost of insuring a particular house, look for one that better fits your financial situation.
Contact us today. With APD Roofing, a top-rated quality roofing services company can help you with your home inspection, emergency home repair needs, and filing a claim.
Lead Claims Consultant, IICRC Certified