Buying Home Insurance in the Evergreen State
If you own a home, you should have homeowner's insurance. If you have a mortgage, your lender will probably require it. Your house is your most valuable investment, and if it's not adequately insured, you would regret it if tragedy should strike. In Washington State, you want to ensure that you are adequately protected against flooding, as that is a risk that many people in the state face, but it is not covered by your typical plan. You also don't want to pay too much if you don't have to. We work with a variety of companies in order to help you find the best rates.
There are several components of a policy that you will be insured for. The most important part of your homeowner's insurance is the coverage for your dwelling. You will also be insured for your personal property, additional structures on your property, medical and legal expenses resulting from injuries on your property, and coverage in case a disaster does happen and you are unable to live on your property while repairs are being made. All of these aspects of your dwelling are covered in a typical policy. You may wish to adjust the coverage amounts with your insurer. You should review your plan annually.
In addition to the basic coverage in a policy, you may want to purchase optional coverage. Some of these, like flood protection, may have to be purchased separately. You can protect your house against earthquakes, floods, or your sewer backing up. Washington gets a lot of rain, especially in the winter and spring. Even if you do not think that you are vulnerable to flooding damage, the unexpected could always occur. Similarly, even though you typically think of California when you think of earthquakes, there are several fault lines that are located in Washington, and earthquakes are not unheard of. If an earthquake happens and you are not insured, your finances could be devastated. If you have a home day care, home business, or watercraft, you may wish to add these to your policy. Additionally, if you have expensive jewelry or electronic equipment, you may want to ask your provider if you need to get a special endorsement.
Saving on Coverage
Although you want to ensure that you get adequate coverage, you don't want to pay too much. Some factors that will influence the price you pay includes the type of house you live in, how far away the nearest fire department is, your credit and job history, and the amount of your deductible. You can lower your policy premiums by improving your credit score or raising your deductible. Although Washington has a law stating that your policy can not be denied because of your credit score, late payments and defaults on loans that are not medical bills can adversely affect your premiums. Many plans will also lower your premiums if your family members do not smoke, if you get your auto insurance or other policies with your homeowner's insurance, of if you install protection devices like smoke detectors, automatic sprinklers, or burglar alarms. Not all carriers charge the same rate, so be sure that you get several different quotes if you want to save the most.
Prepare for the Worst
In addition to purchasing a plan for your dwelling, you want to do all that you can to prepare ahead of time, in case you need to make a claim. By photographing or taking an inventory of all your possessions, you will make it easier on yourself if you ever experience a loss. If you have a stamp collection, jewelry, antiques, or other collectibles, you may want to have them appraised ahead of time. After making your inventory, you should have more than one copy, and at least one copy should be kept outside of your house. You can leave a copy at a friend's house or back it up online. Update your inventory annually in order to ensure that there is little updating that you have to do if you ever need to make a claim.