Putting the Damper on Arizona Home Insurance
Arizona home insurance is one form of insurance coverage that should leave residents of the Grand Canyon State smiling. Why? According to HomeInsurance.com, Arizona home insurance quotes are the 4th least expensive in the nation, at an average of $508 per year as of December, 2009. That said, homeowners in Arizona shouldn’t get complacent when it comes to home insurance, either. With its arid desert climate, distinctive geography, and seasonal monsoons, homeowner’s insurance in Arizona requires an attention to detail that is unique to the rest of the country, especially if you want to secure the best possible protection for you, your home, and the possessions within.
Low Rates vs. High Risk: Understanding Arizona Home Insurance
The key to getting optimal home insurance coverage for the best rates in Arizona lies in understanding the business of insurance to start with. And when it comes to home insurance, the most significant factor insurance providers consider can be summed up in a single word: risk. Arizona home insurance quotes, and insurance quotes throughout the country, are determined based on the probability that insurance providers will have to back the policies they sell and pay out on claims. To illustrate the point, Louisiana has the highest average premiums in the nation at $1,392 per year, primarily thanks to the fact that the Bayou State is a magnet for natural disasters, such as Gulf Coast Hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and flooding. For the same reason, Arizona’s rates are dirt cheap. In a state whose greatest claim to fame is no weather at all (if you don’t include boiling summer temperatures), extreme climate events are largely a non-factor in determining home insurance premiums in the Grand Canyon State. On the other hand, the fact that Arizona averages less than 13 inches of rain per year, most of which comes during the short period of the annual monsoon, also opens homeowners in Arizona to a unique threat that they need to address through homeowner’s insurance: wildfires.
Wildfire and Arizona Home Insurance Quotes
How big of a threat are wildfires to homeowners in Arizona? You don’t have to look back too far to get your answer. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski Fire burned 462,000 acres and 426 structures, and in 2005 the Cave Creek Complex Fire burned 248,310 acres and 11 structures, two of the largest recorded wildfires in the lower 48 in the last 100 years. And according to Arizona Firewise, the state program developed to educate Arizona homeowners about the threat of wildfires, between 1999 and 2002, 825,555 acres burned in Arizona, including 3,224 man-made structures, demonstrating how critical it is for homeowners in Arizona to carry enough homeowner’s insurance to protect their property and belongings should the worst happen.
A Guide to Arizona Home Insurance Coverages
Over the last few decades, Arizona has regularly ranked as one of the fastest growing states in the nation. That means two things where home insurance is concerned: 1)there are a lot of new arrivals in Arizona looking for homeowners insurance, and 2) with that level of population growth, the wildland-urban interface is expanding at an alarming rate. In short, the threat of wildfires encroaching on urban areas is growing just as fast as the population (by almost 50% in the decade spanning from 1991 to 2001). When the topic of homeowner’s insurance in Arizona comes up, that means it’s vital that you acquire the proper amounts of coverage to protect your home, and too often in Arizona, homeowners come up short. According to the Arizona Department of Insurance, Arizonans underinsure their homes by a disturbing 18% on average. While your individual needs and tolerance for risk ultimately determine the policy you settle on, there are some basic coverages every homeowner in Arizona needs to consider:
- Dwelling Coverage is a must if you don’t want to end up on the street in the event catastrophe strikes. Make sure your Dwelling Coverage covers the full amount that your home is worth, and always opt for Replacement Cost as opposed to Actual Cash Value (unless you want your insurance company to reimburse you for the depreciated value of your home and property, as opposed to the full amount required to rebuild).
- Personal Property Coverage covers everything inside your home. This is one coverage you don’t want to pass up if you’re opposed to occupying an empty shell once the rebuilding is complete.
- Additional Living Expenses Coverage is well worth the cost considering Arizona’s proclivity for wildfire. This coverage helps pay for the extra expenses homeowners incur in times of hardship, such as extended hotel stays and meals out on the town while you’re waiting for your home to be repaired or rebuilt.
- Personal Liability Coverage and Medical Payments Coverage protect you financially should anyone get injured on your property, be it due to a freak accident or as a result of your own negligence.
- Finally, you might want to consider extra coverages such as Debris Removal Coverage and Trees, Plants, and Shrubs Coverage that are unique in protecting you against the consequences of wildfire threats that are so prevalent in the Grand Canyon State.
Finding the Best Arizona Home Insurance Quotes
Finding good home insurance rates is an easy task when it comes to soliciting Arizona home insurance quotes: get as many quotes as possible and use common sense in choosing the best coverages at the best rates for you and yours. By doing your homework and knowing the type and amount of insurance coverages you need, you’ll be more than able to evaluate the quotes provided and secure the best possible deals. Getting multiple quotes is also the best way to protect yourself from insurance fraud (a pressing concern in Arizona), since you’ll be able to spot offers that are suspiciously low or unreasonably high, both of which should raise red flags when it comes to home insurance fraud. In a home insurance market as favorable as the one that exists in the Grand Canyon State, taking the time to mine all of your options is the best strategy to ensure you’re doing right by your home, your family, and your pocketbook.