Understanding the Fine Print of Homeowners Insurance

You know it's there: The "fine print" of your homeowners insurance policy can refer to both the technical legalese of your policy as well as the slippery, but important, concepts that get lost in the process of shopping for homeowners insurance. As for dealing with this fine print, the truth is often exactly as you imagine it: You should read the policy word-for-word, but you probably won't. Depending on the policy and your reading level, however, you might not feel like you know much more about the details of the policy after you read it than when you started. And even if you do have a degree in linguistics, you probably don't have a photographic memory. As such, it can be just as important to ask the right questions to the insurer's sales rep. These questions commonly include...

  • What will happen if I have to take a total loss on my home? Am I insured for market value or replacement costs? Does this likely mean that I'll need to move and/or take a loss to rebuild the home?
  • What hazards might my house face that isn't covered by this policy? Might I need a supplemental rider or a different policy altogether?
  • How does the claims process work? Will I be required to use the insurer's recommended contractor or will I be able to choose my own contractor to repair any damages?
  • To what extent does this policy protect my belongings, not just the house itself?
  • Is there anything I need to watch out for that might cause an otherwise legitimate claim to be denied? Maintenance requirements, timeframe to report damage, etc.

The Average Cost of Homeowners Insurance
Needless to say, it's notoriously difficult to quote numbers when estimating the average cost of homeowners insurance. Several websites peg the current number at somewhere between $600-$700. But the type of policy these figures are based on will definitely change the average substantively. Moreover, recent information is using formulated on incomplete information. Reliable and comprehensive data is compiled by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, but these cost figures are usually about four years old. Thus, in 2006, the average cost of an HO-3, all-perils policy, was $804. That said, the consensus analysis is that homeowners insurance has gotten a bit cheaper over the last few years. Still, this number may not mean much to you, depending on where you live. Some of the most expensive states TX, LA, FL) have costs that are perennially about three times higher than the least expensive states ID, WI, UT). For states with coastal areas, the average cost of a policy can also change dramatically from county to county. Thus, it's always best to compare policy costs with other available companies and policies, rather than statistical averages.

Find Homeowners Insurance Online
The best way to find homeowners insurance is with an online referral service, such as NetQuote. You need take but a minute to submit an online request for quotes after which licensed insurers will take the initiative to contact you. In turn, you can conduct efficient and reliable comparison-shopping from the comfort of your own home. You'll have the opportunity to ask multiple agents the necessary questions to feel confident about your choice of policies. And if this wasn't already enough to lower costs and increase quality, finding insurers online reduces the overhead costs of writing policies indirectly lowering the price tag for consumers. There's simply no reason to hesitate to start your search.

See how much you could save today on your home insurance. Get your free home insurance quotes today!