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Costly Trends Impacting Homeowners Insurance

by The Pilgrim Team

Homeowners insurance continues to rise at alarming rates. Additionally, some new home buyers are facing challenges in finding companies to cover their property at all; and existing homeowners are seeing policies cancelled after years of rate increases.

What’s going on with property and casualty insurance?

  1. Buyers should be aware of Chinese drywall and other inferior materials. Recently, Consumer Reports has highlighted an issue with faulty Chinese drywall. Bought cheaply, thousands of complaints are stating that the product is not only inferior and likely to fall apart, but is actually a health hazard. The problem is not widespread, but presents enough of a trend that insurers are covering their bases by excluding it from coverage or raising rates as a preventive measure against possible claims.
  2. Location, location, location – and if your dream home is on a coastal waterway, be prepared to pay more for your homeowners insurance. What’s more, insurance companies are requiring separate deductibles for coastal property – primary insurance and secondary wind, water or specifically hurricane risk. If you file often, be prepared to go without; frequent claims cause insurers to cancel or not renew.
  3. Lower home prices are also driving rates up and replacement or rebuilding coverage down. Even if the value of your home falls, shop around for the best price on covering your home in the event of a disaster, and make sure your coverage is adequate.
  4. And if things aren’t bad enough, bad credit scores continue to drive up rates on homeowners insurance (as well as auto and other insurance). People with poor credit are considered to be a high risk for responsible behavior and an indicator of future financial trouble. With unemployment rates high and home prices falling, poor credit is driving up rates across insurance plans.

Understand your current homeowners insurance policy and the coverage you are paying for. Shop around – it pays off to compare and switch insurers for better rate plans. And remember, all kinds of market trends can factor in what you pay – and what you get for it.

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Saving Money On Homeowners Insurance

by The Pilgrim Team

Once you have purchased a home, you will need to obtain homeowners insurance. This type of insurance can be costly depending on your coverage and location and company you decide to purchase your policy from.  Below are some things to consider when buying homeowners insurance that can help to save you some money!

1. Shop around

Be sure to do your homework and check with several different companies for the best rates and the value they offer. You can look online for different companies and their rates quickly to compare. Check with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (www.naic.org) for information to help you choose an insurer in your state, including complaints. States often make information available on typical rates charged by major insurers and many states provide the frequency of consumer complaints by company.

Keep in mind that this policy will insure your home and everything you value in it, so don't consider price alone. The insurer you select should offer a fair price and deliver the quality service you would expect if you needed assistance in filing a claim. So in assessing service quality, use the complaint information cited above and talk to a number of insurers to get a feeling for the type of service they give. Ask them what they would do to lower your costs.

2. Increase Your Deductible

Deductibles are the amount of money you have to pay toward a loss before your insurance company starts to pay a claim, according to the terms of your policy. The higher your deductible, the more money you can save on your premiums. Nowadays, most insurance companies recommend a deductible of at least $500. If you can afford to raise your deductible to $1,000, you may save as much as 25 percent. Remember, if you live in a disaster-prone area, your insurance policy may have a separate deductible for certain kinds of damage. If you live near the coast in the East, you may have a separate windstorm deductible; if you live in a state vulnerable to hail storms, you may have a separate deductible for hail; and if you live in an earthquake-prone area, your earthquake policy has a deductible.

3. Make Policy Premium Payments Electronically.

Many companies now charge up to $5 for mailed or phone payments, so have your payments automatically deducted to shave that cost. Sometimes the deductions can come from your credit or debit card, so you don't have to worry if the money is in your bank account when payment time comes.

4. Purchase Multiple Policies From Your Insurer

Some companies that sell homeowners, auto and liability coverage will take 5 to 15 percent off your premium if you buy two or more policies from them. But make certain this combined price is lower than buying the different coverages from different companies.

5. Make Your Home More Disaster Resistant

Find out from your insurance agent or company representative what steps you can take to make your home more resistant to windstorms and other natural disasters. You may be able to save on your premiums by adding storm shutters, reinforcing your roof or buying stronger roofing materials. Older Homes for sale in york pa can be retrofitted to make them better able to withstand earthquakes. In addition, consider modernizing your heating, plumbing and electrical systems to reduce the risk of fire and water damage.

6. Improve Your Home Security

You can usually get discounts of at least 5 percent for a smoke detector, burglar alarm or dead-bolt locks. Some companies offer to cut your premium by as much as 15 or 20 percent if you install a sophisticated sprinkler system and a fire and burglar alarm that rings at the police, fire or other monitoring stations. These systems aren't cheap and not every system qualifies for a discount. Before you buy such a system, find out what kind your insurer recommends, how much the device would cost and how much you'd save on premiums.

7. Seek Out Other Discounts

Companies offer several types of discounts, like senior discounts. Insurance companies have found that retired people stay at home more and spot fires sooner than working people. Older people also have more time for maintaining their Homes for sale in york pa. If you're at least 55 years old and retired, you might qualify for a discount of as much as 10%. Some employers and professional associations administer group insurance programs that may offer a better deal than you can get elsewhere.

8. Review Your Policy Limits

You want your policy to cover any major purchases or additions to your home. But you don't want to spend money for coverage you don't need. If your five-year-old fur coat is no longer worth the $5,000 you paid for it, you'll want to reduce or cancel your floater (extra insurance for items whose full value is not covered by standard homeowners policies such as expensive jewelry, high-end computers and valuable art work) and pocket the difference.

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The Pilgrim Team
Professional Realty Associates
2002 S Queen St, Suite 3
York PA 17403
Office: 717-757-5955
717-755-2683
Fax: 717-757-2887