Risk & Business Magazine General Insurance Service Spring 2021 - Page 29



protect what matters most . It ’ s designed to give peace of mind .
There ’ s a common misconception among home buyers that all home insurance policies are the same . In fact , we take many things into consideration when constructing a policy that is right for your needs .
As you search for your new home , remember that the physical characteristics of the house — its size , location , construction , and overall condition — can affect the cost , choice , and availability of home insurance . Here are some factors to consider when shopping for a home :
1 . QUALITY AND LOCATION OF THE FIRE DEPARTMENT Houses that are located near highly rated , permanently staffed fire departments usually cost less to insure . This also holds true for homes that have a hydrant nearby .
2 . AGE OF THE HOME A stately , older home can be quite beautiful , but ornate features like plaster walls , ceiling molding , and wooden floors may be costly to replace and can raise the cost of insurance . And plumbing and electrical systems can become unsafe with age and lack of maintenance . If you are considering buying an older home , find out how much it will cost to update these features and factor that into the cost of ownership .
3 . CONDITION OF THE ROOF A new roof matters to insurers and keeps you and your family safer . Make sure to check the roof ’ s condition . Depending on the type of roof and whether or not it ’ s made with fire- and / or hail-resistant materials , you may even qualify for an insurance discount .
4 . QUALITY OF CONSTRUCTION Find out whether the house has been updated to comply with current building codes .
5 . SWIMMING POOL OR OTHER SPECIAL FEATURES If the house has a swimming pool , hot tub , trampoline , or other special feature , you will likely need more liability insurance . You may also want to consider purchasing an umbrella liability policy to provide added protection in the event someone gets injured on your property and decides to sue you .
6 . RISK OF FLOODING Damage from flooding is not covered by standard home insurance policies . If you are buying a home in an area at risk from flooding , you will need to purchase separate flood insurance , which is available from the federal government ’ s National Flood Insurance Program ( NFIP ) and from a few specialty insurers .
7 . REPLACEMENT COST VALUATION When we first begin constructing an insurance policy , we place a valuation on your home . In the current market , we ’ re seeing homes selling for far more than the asking price . If you pay more for a home than what it ’ s evaluated at , you risk not being fully compensated for the replacement cost .
You should also consider that the cost of labor and materials is likely to rise from the time you purchase your policy to a time when you need to make a claim . This means that the replacement cost stated in your policy may no longer be sufficient to fully replace your home in the future . We recommend revisiting your replacement cost periodically to make sure it is still going to provide the protection you need in case of an unexpected event .
Finally , personal liability coverage should play a significant role in your choice of coverage . Most home insurance policies include a personal liability component , but it ’ s important to confirm that you do in fact have the coverage for everything you need . Before purchasing a home , ensure that your policy will protect you if someone is injured on your property or someone does damage to your property . Your coverage should include amounts for legal expenses , medical bills , settlement costs , and death benefits .
All these risks should be discussed and mitigated with your insurance advisor prior to finalizing the purchase of your home . At GIS , we work with multiple top insurance carriers that can provide coverage for a variety of unique situations . This means we do the shopping for you , but the first step is for you to make us aware of the risks .
If you ’ re looking for advice and resources on how to properly assess and protect your new home , give me a call or shoot me an email . We want to share in the buying process with you so that we can be here when you need us most . +
Michelle Snider joined GIS in April of 2018 specializing in personal insurance in our Valparaiso office . Michelle grew up in Valparaiso and graduated from VHS . She continued her education and graduated from Don Roberts Beauty School , where she began a 17 year career in the beauty industry . She currently resides in Morgan Township with her high school sweetheart husband , Jordan , and two fun loving boys . In her free time Michelle enjoys volunteering at Valparaiso Nazarene Church , watching baseball , running , traveling , serving in the community with Kiwanis and spending quality time with those she loves .