Buying a new home can lead to information overload.
Although purchasing a home is exciting, the process can be overwhelming. There are lots to consider. It’s more than just searching for the right place in the ideal neighborhood. It’s beyond aesthetics and amenities. Financing, taxes, and negotiations can leave you overextended. Finding homeowner insurance is often one of the first items overlooked on the to-do list.
But, as Ai Ling Lee AKA Linda Lee of Hacienda Heights points out, it should be a priority. In fact, homeowners insurance may be required by some lending agents. While difficult to assess all your options, homeowners insurance should still be a necessity.
Having served as an independent agent since 1986, Ai Ling Lee wants to help others navigate and better understand home insurance. Using this experience, she offers six insurance tips for new homeowners.
Shop around. Getting quotes from a few different companies is a great place to start. Research online and seek out insurers who routinely rank high in customer service. This should be done early in the process to get all your paperwork together before closing.
Keep a list of belongings
The value of personal possessions will directly influence how much coverage you need. Begin by creating a home inventory. This is a list of belongings, like furniture, clothing, jewelry, and electronics. Include prices for each. This will ensure you have the right coverage and speed up potential claims in the future.
Understand what insurance covers
Differences in coverage and policy type can get confusing. A standard homeowners policy typically includes protection for the structure itself and your belongings inside. It also features liability and “loss of use” provisions. Ai Ling Lee of Hacienda Heights encourages anyone to sit down with a professional to discuss what’s included. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Fill in gaps
Also, don’t assume you’re “fully” protected. As you review what’s included, every policy will have exclusions. Basic homeowners policies usually exclude natural disasters, like earthquakes and floods. To meet your individual needs, fill in these gaps with additional coverage. Extending replacement cost protection or adding an umbrella policy may be options to think about.
Avoid being cheap when it comes to insurance. However, there are ways to limit costs or find savings. Bundling life or automobile insurance with the same company can provide significant discounts. Installing smoke detectors and a security system can lower premiums too. Although harder to accomplish, Ai Ling Lee AKA Linda Lee of Hacienda Heights also recommends raising deductibles or paying off a mortgage early to reduce rates.
Update your policy frequently. Ai Ling Lee proposes doing a yearly review. Changes to a home or neighborhood can impact premiums. Document any new renovations. Also, add any new purchases to your home inventory. Keeping this list current will help you maintain sufficient coverage.