You know you need insurance. You also know that you should shop around for almost everything. But when it comes to homeowners insurance, you may be tempted to go with a company you regularly do business with, someone your real estate agent recommends, or the company you see advertised on television. As a result, you may end up underinsured, over-insured, or working with a company that doesn't have you and your best interests at heart. What should you know as you begin the quest for home insurance?
DO your research online first. The Internet is a great place to begin your research on home insurance. Don't simply find one that looks good and make a deal, though. Follow up with phone calls, talk to a real person, and get information on them (as much as they get on you). Remember: They want you just as much as you need them.
DO call at least three companies for quotes. Three companies will give you a decent basis for comparison. While they might all be relatively comparable, it's more than likely that you'll find one that seems to fit the bill more adequately than the rest. That's your company.
DON'T forget to subtract the cost of your land. If you're insuring the land that your house sits on with your homeowners insurance, the U.S. government says you'll be overpaying. In the event of a disaster, the land will still be there. Home insurance should cover the cost of rebuilding and replacing. Don't be had by a company that insists otherwise.
DO ask about discounted rates. Some insurance companies will offer discounts based on age, loyalty, and home features. If you're interviewing an agent and they don't ask about these things, bring them up yourself. This is another reason you'll want to call around; every company offers something different.
DO call companies that specialize in homeowners insurance. Don't do business with someone just because they already insure your car. Home insurance is a completely different beast, and you'll want to make sure you're doing business with a company that knows the ins and outs of insuring your home and your possessions.
DON'T forget to ask about additional items. Don't expect your home insurance to work dual duty. Expensive jewelry, electronics, and other items may require additional insurance. When you're interviewing potential insurance companies, be sure to ask for the rates on these items. Factor them into your total insurance cost, or insure them elsewhere.