"If you're getting a mortgage for your new home, your lender will require homeowners insurance, says Consumer Reports. And even if you're among the rare home buyers purchasing without a mortgage, you still should get homeowners insurance to protect against costly perils like fire and wind damage."
"But determining how much insurance to get, and which features to choose, can be daunting, especially as your closing approaches."
"Here are some key things to know as you begin your homeowners shopping journey:
- Shop Early: Even though you don't own the home before your closing, mortgage companies typically want evidence of insurance, also called a binder, a few days before the closing. 'At least 30 days before the closing, you can start to shop around,' says Josh Lipstone, vice president at Lipstone Insurance Group. Not having insurance in place could delay your closing. And if you shop early, you also give the insurer more time to “underwrite” your home, that is, to determine the appropriate level of coverage. That’s particularly important if your home has lots of unusual or costly details, like woodwork made of a rare species or a fancy built-in sound system.
- You Don't Have to Insure at Market Value: Don't assume you have to cover your home at its market value or its tax appraisal value or even the value of your mortgage loan. The number that a homeowners insurance company is interested in is how much it would cost to rebuild your home tomorrow. That amount doesn't include the price of your land, so in many cases the insurable amount will be lower than the home price. That said, there are some houses you’ll need to insure for more than market value, says Bill Gatewood, corporate vice president at Burns & Wilcox, an insurance wholesaler based in Farmington Hills, MI.
- Lots of Things Just Won't Be Covered: First-time home buyers are often surprised to find out what their policy doesn’t cover, says Jen Horner, a Realtor with RE/MAX Masters in Salt Lake City. For instance, water damage from a pipe or other system that breaks inside the house is covered, but water coming from the outside will not be. In general, events that are preventable by reasonable home maintenance (mold, pest infestations, leaks from roofs worn by wear and tear) aren’t covered, either. Depending on the issue, you may be able to buy extra coverage or a separate policy."
Consumers searching for a new home will be doing a lot of research. The media they're conducting research on can also be where they learn about the importance of insurance. According to AudienceSCAN, last month, more than half of Home/Renters Insurance Policy Buyers used a search engine to research a product they were considering and, within the past six months, more than 31% used a mobile device to see if a desired product was in stock. Additionally, last year, they took action after receiving direct mail ads, seeing TV commercials, receiving email ads and seeing sponsored search results.
AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. In addition, AdMall contains industry profiles on insurance agents/companies, as well as lead lists at the local level. Media companies, sales reps and agencies can access this data with a subscription to AdMall from SalesFuel.