Buying Homeowners Insurance Online Tips

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Is the site you got your quote from reliable and informative?

Finding Reliable Sources

If you find yourself surfing the Internet, looking for sites that provide insurance rate quotes, the best ones to trust are those that provide the most comprehensive information. You will be able to tell if people who know the industry and how to navigate it have put the site together, or people just looking to make a penny threw it up online. If a site is filled with promotional jargon but lacks substance and is not informative, keep on surfing.

A good site will give you in-depth information about the insurance industry, tell you what to look for and what commonly used insurance terms really mean. You will be educated as you compare quotes and will have a better understanding of what you are being offered and what you really need.

Sites that are very diligent in vetting insurance agents and making sure they are true professionals is what you want. You'll have professionalism, security, and the best information needed to make your decisions about home insurance online.

Do you have coverage for additional structures like sheds and garages?

Coverage For Additional Structures

When buying homeowners insurance online, make sure that you are getting everything you need. Not all policies cover other structures like tool or storage sheds, separate garages, gazeboes, etc. If you have such structures on your property and want them to be insured in addition to your house and possessions, make sure the policy you select will cover them.

If it does not mention additional structures specifically, look for one that does because the one you have there probably will not cover them. You can find home insurance quotes online that will include additional structures, so you don't have to worry about that. You just have to look for them. A good place to start is a site like

There you can always make sure you see it in print. Remember, if the policy doesn't mention something you want, never assume. You know what they say about people who assume, right?

What is a house year?

Dates To Know

When purchasing home insurance online, make sure to pay attention to the “house year.” This is the term is used for the standard 365-day period that your plan will cover. Then get out your calendar and mark the start date and the date your plan expires.

You want to know when your coverage ends so you can plan ahead as to whether you want to renew it, change your policy to a different one, or cancel it and switch to another provider. You don't want that date to sneak up on you and surprise you when you're not ready for it.

You should do this every time you buy or renew a homeowners insurance policy. Knowing the exact end date of your house year will give you the time to make your decisions in advance, find online insurance quotes if you are thinking of changing policies or companies, and more.

Have you checked your insurer's annual statement filed with the Dep. of Insurance?

Insurer's Annual Statements

Any company that provides homeowners insurance must file an annual statement with the Department of Insurance in every state in which they are licensed. This statement is a summary of the company's financial operations for the most recent year. It should also include a balance sheet.

Checking your state's Department of Insurance Web site for this information is always a good practice. You can then have this statement open side-by-side with online home insurance quotes. You can see how the company is doing financially and what they are willing to offer you at the same time, and then make your decision.

Do this for each company you are considering and you can not only compare their rates, but also their stability. Then you'll be more comfortable to buy home insurance online. If either piece of information raises questions or concerns, contact the insurer and get the clarification you need in order to be comfortable making your choice.

Is the site you are using secure and is your firewall/anti-virus software up to date?

Use Secure & Reliable Sites

In this age of technology, identity theft has become a major concern. You want to make sure that when you conduct an online transaction both you and your personal information are safe. Only use trusted sites like to obtain online home insurance quotes. The same applies when you are ready to buy home insurance online.

A company should have a security certificate in plain sight on their Web site. This lets you know they are taking every measure to secure your private information. Whether it is simply submitting some data to get a quote or actually buying online, you want that peace of mind.

You also need to make sure that your anti-virus software and firewalls are all up to date and functioning properly. The more protection you have the better off you are. If you take the right steps, when you buy home insurance online you are just as safe as if you did it in person or on the phone.

Have you talked about insurance with your family?

Talk It Over With Family

Before you start your online search for homeowners insurance, talk to your family and discuss concerns and areas of interest. What types of things does each family member feel that you need to be covered for? Earthquakes? Hurricanes? Who has personal possessions that they want appraised and insured?

How about your home security? Ask if your family would be more comfortable if you installed a wireless alarm system. It can make your house safer and lower your insurance costs as well. Maybe a member of your family can think of a way to save on your home insurance that you have not thought of.

After you talk with your family, make a list of all personal possessions you want to insure, hazards you want to be insured against, and any other questions anyone may have. Then start rounding up some online quotes for homeowners insurance. If you find all the answers you were looking for and a quote that works for you, you can buy home insurance online whenever you are ready. If you still have questions, contact the provider directly and get them squared away.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by insurance info?

Information Gathering

Don't let yourself become overwhelmed by the insurance industry. When people feel overwhelmed they tend to jump into a quick decision to get the whole thing over with and end up with a policy that is either too expensive, doesn't provide enough coverage, or both. Don't let that happen to you.

Know what you need going into your search so you can understand the benefits as well as the negatives from each company and their offerings. How do you get this information? There are plenty of resources at your disposal.

Try contacting your state Department of Insurance. Every state has one and they can start you off with some helpful information and a list of licensed homeowners insurance companies in your area. The check sites like the Insurance Information Institute at for all the latest information on the insurance industry, contact information for ratings and analyses companies and more. Then you are ready start getting free online homeowners insurance quotes.

It may sound complicated, but these resources can help make the whole process easy for you to understand and navigate. This way you can avoid being duped by promotional advertising and slogans, and get right to the heart of the matter: the best insurance for you.

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Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.