Shopping for Homeowners Insurance Tips

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What are the most and least expensive insurance states?

Top 10 Most & Top 10 Least Expensive States For Insurance

How expensive is homeowner's insurance in your neck of the woods? The Insurance Information Institute conducted a study and named the 10 most expensive and 10 least expensive states for homeowner's insurance. If you find your state on the first list, you may have to spend a little more time shopping and comparing rates to find cheap homeowner's insurance that gives you the coverage you need. People living in the states on the second list shopping for home insurance should have pretty good success price-wise. The it is a matter of finding the right policy for you. Here's the rundown.

Most expensive:

  1. Texas
  2. Florida
  3. Louisiana
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Washington, D.C.
  6. Mississippi
  7. California
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Rhode Island
  10. Alabama
Least Expensive:

  1. Idaho
  2. Wisconsin
  3. Utah
  4. Oregon
  5. Delaware
  6. Ohio
  7. Main
  8. Iowa
  9. Washington State
  10. South Dakota

Doers anyone in your family smoke?

Smoke-Free = Savings

When you are shopping for home insurance, let the providers you are considering know if your home will be a smoke-free home. Smoking is a big contributor to the damaging of walls and ceilings over time, increasing the likelihood that repairs will be necessary. Cigarettes that are not properly put out are also a major cause of house fires. If you show that no one living in your house will be smoking, you may be able to get a discount when you're buying homeowner's insurance. Insurers like the fact that there is less chance of smoke and fire damage in your home.

Not many people think of this when shopping around, but you should take whatever discounts you can get. Not every company will offer this type of discount, but you won't know if yours does unless you ask.

What is "twisting?"

Avoiding Scams & Unethical Business Practices

Choosing homeowner's insurance is not something that you just rush into, especially after being the victim of a crime, fire or natural disaster. Those are generally emotional times, and that is precisely when some scam artists will try to take advantage of you.

Twisting is a term used to describe when an agent will misrepresent the features of an insurance policy in an attempt to convince you to switch from your current coverage plan to the one they are selling. Why do they misrepresent the details of the contract? Most likely because it is not going to do all the wonderful things they are telling you it will. It may even be worse than your current policy.

This practice is usually done by door-to-door policy salesmen. Especially after an area has been hit by something like an earthquake or hurricane. So watch out for these scams. The best thing you can do is get free insurance quotes online and then contact the companies directly rather than putting your trust in a stranger who knocks on your door.

What are territorial ratings?

Territorial Ratings & Insurance

Territorial rating is a classification used by insurance companies to assess risk based on geographical location. For example, if you live in an urban environment with high crime rates, the provider might assume that you are at higher risk to have your property damaged or stolen. If you live in an area that is known for having a significant number of earthquakes each year, your territorial rating might be worse than others.

Territorial ratings are generally better in rural areas where there is a smaller perceived threat of accident, theft or vandalism. So an urban area with a high crime rate will most likely bring with it higher insurance rates than a rural area with low crime that does not have a history of being hit by natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes.

When you start shopping for homeowner's insurance, ask prospective providers what they say your territorial rating is and how they came to that conclusion. If you have any questions about their assessment, contact your state's Department of Insurance.

What is a hard market?

State-By-State Insurance Info

Homeowner's insurance is regulated by state governments, so the issues facing one person may be different than those facing someone in another state. This is one reason why the Insurance Information Institute has added a state-by-state selection of PDF files to its website at, that provide many of the facts and figures related to insurance that you need to know.

Do you know what a hard market is? In the insurance industry, a hard market is considered a seller's market, meaning that insurance is both expensive and in short supply. This can happen for any number of reasons. Since not every company is licensed to provide insurance in every state, your area will have a certain number of options to choose from. The fewer options there are could lead to a hard market because an insurer might not offer the policy you want or they might be limiting the number of plans they offer in your area.

So do you live in a hard market? Are you about to move into one? Once you know what is going on in your market you can get started shopping for homeowner's insurance.

Have you done your homework on insurance companies?

Doing Your Homework

If you are investing in the stock market you don't just throw money at a company and hope it comes back to you with a profit, right? Well think of buying homeowner's insurance in the same way. You want to do your research, not just about prospective insurance providers, but about industry issues, too.

This is where the Insurance Information Institute can be a big help. Here you will find, among other things, listings for companies that conduct research and provide ratings and analyses for a myriad of insurance providers. You can find out how financially stable they are, what their track record is when it comes to customer service, satisfaction and complaints, and much more.

You will also be able to track news stories, press releases and the latest studies and surveys relating to the insurance industry. All this will help you be better prepared to analyze free insurance quotes and be able to tell exactly what benefits each offer will provide you with. Knowledge is power, right?

Does your mortgage require a minimum insurance policy?

Mortgage Requirements For Insurance

When you are buying a house you are most likely looking for homeowner's insurance policies at the same time. For one, it is simply a smart thing to do. But there is another reason. Many banks will require you to buy home insurance in order to get a mortgage.

The bank may require a minimum amount of insurance you are expected to purchase in order to be approved for a mortgage, so make sure you know what that figure is when you start your search. In most cases, the minimum amount the bank wants you to purchase is for the total amount of your mortgage. Remember, it is an investment for them as well.

Once you know what the bank requires for the mortgage, start getting free insurance quotes online from several providers. A good place to start doing this is That way you can get quotes from several different providers and compare them. They can then guide you through the process of how to buy homeowner insurance.

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William Pirraglia