How long does it take to finalize a homeowners insurance policy?

14 Jul

Shopping for homeowners insurance can be a somewhat tedious undertaking but one that is extremely important to fully protecting your home. When shopping for coverage you will need to gather the personal information the insurer will need to set your premium, compare those quotes and then finalize your coverage. If your home is in a high-risk area there may be additional steps necessary before your policy is issued. 

Following is a quick rundown on how long it takes to put a homeowners insurance policy in place.  

How long does it take to get a quote?

How you choose to shop for coverage can impact how long it takes to gather quotes. In most cases, there are three different ways to obtain homeowners insurance quotes:

  • Online: This is probably the quickest way to gather insurance quotes assuming you have all the information needed about your home. While it varies by insurance company, it is usually possible to get an online quote within 5-30 minutes. The only drawback to shopping online is that not all insurance companies offer online quotes, and, in some cases, you will have to talk to an agent to get your policy put in place. While most national insurers offer online shopping, some smaller regional insurers may not. At, we can quickly shop up to 12 companies in minutes to generate the best rate and coverage options.
  • On the phone: Getting quotes over the phone typically takes a bit more time than shopping online. Assume 15-45 minutes per quote. You will need your personal and home information handy as you will need to relay that info to the agent. While it may take a bit longer, talking on the phone allows you to ask questions about anything you don’t understand or the various aspects of coverage.
  • Go to an agency: Going to an agency to shop for coverage will take up the most time, assume it will take at least a few hours up to a few days to gather a variety of quotes. While this process takes a bit longer, it does allow you meet an agent in person to see if you are comfortable with them and trust their advice on coverage. 

Most experts recommend getting quotes from several insurers. Shoot for at least five quotes from insurance companies in your area. Always make sure you are comparing apples to apples when it comes to coverage levels and deductibles. 

What if I have a high-risk home?

There can be a number of reasons that a home may be considered high-risk. Running a business from your home, living near the coast or other body of water or even having a swimming pool or trampoline can make your home more difficult (and expensive) to insure.

If your home is located in a very high-risk area, you may have trouble finding coverage at all. In areas that experience lots of severe weather or wildfires (Florida is a good example) it may be difficult to find an insurer willing to write a policy. 

If you are unable to find coverage in the traditional insurance market, you may be able to find coverage via a Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) plan. These plans are state-run and available to homeowners who can’t find coverage in the private market. Unfortunately, these plans often come with coverage caps or other restrictions so make sure you fully understand the policy when putting it in place. 

If your home is considered high-risk you should allow yourself a bit more time to find coverage. The quoting and underwriting process may take a bit longer. The insurer may want to do an inspection of the home to access the risk. If flooding is an issue in your area, you may also need to put a flood insurance policy in place as well. Flood damage is excluded from almost all standard homeowner policies. 

What information do I need to get a home insurance quote?

When getting quotes you will need to provide information about yourself and your home. You should have the following information handy when getting homeowner insurance:

Personal information: On our site, basic information is needed to get quotes like your name, contact information, date of birth. Other sites may ask for more important information like social security numbers of everyone that owns the home. Once the rate and coverage is finalized, you will need to provide more personal information to bind the policy with your insurance company.

Home information: Your agent (or an insurers website) will require detailed information about your home to determine a fair premium. Be prepared to provide the following:

  • Property Address
  • Homes square footage
  • Year the house was built
  • Roofing material
  • Age of roof
  • Exterior finish
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Number of fireplaces

In addition to the above information, you should have details about upgrades that you have done to your house. If you have replaced the HVAC or roof recently, finished the basement or added square footage through an addition, you need to make your agent aware of the changes. 

Make sure you mention any safety devices that you have installed as they may result in a discount on your premium. Monitored security systems, smart home technology or a sprinkler system can all result in a lower premium.

Finalizing your home insurance policy

In most cases, finalizing your coverage should only take a few minutes once you have collected a number of quotes. Simply give your agent or insurance company the go ahead and they can usually issue coverage quickly. 

Be sure to check over the policy to make sure the coverage limits and deductibles are correct as well as the policy effective date. The effective date for coverage is very important as you want to make sure your coverage is in effect when you take possession of the home if you are insuring a home you recently purchased. 

You may need to sign your policy application, but this can often be done electronically. In addition, you will also need to pay your first premium payment unless your insurance is being rolled into your mortgage escrow account. 

Your insurer will send a home insurance declarations page to your title company if you are closing on a new purchase or to your mortgage company if you are simply switching insurance companies on a home you already own. 

Flood insurance

If you need flood insurance, the timeline is a bit different for insurance. Most flood insurance policies have a waiting period before the coverage quicks in and your home is protected. The waiting period is typically between 15 and 30 days. Contact us today for free flood insurance quotes!

Tags: , , , , , , ,