I can’t afford my home insurance?

25 Jun

While the pandemic seems to be receding a bit in the U.S., it has left behind some massive damage, and in many cases, it has put a severe pinch on household budgets. Unemployment hit 14.8% at the peak which is the highest unemployment rate since Congressional Research Service began collecting data.

If your budget has been hit, you may be looking to cut some expenses. While it’s certainly possible to lower your insurance costs, it is never a good idea to cut them out entirely. Homeowners insurance can be a financial lifesaver if your home is severely damaged or destroyed by a covered peril. 

 Instead of dumping your insurance, it may be time to shop your coverage to find a cheaper plan, one that protects your home and is affordable. 

Do you need homeowners insurance?

The quick answer is yes, absolutely. Unless you are wealthy enough to self-insure you should always be carrying homeowners insurance. 

If you have a mortgage on your home, your lender will require that you carry homeowners insurance to protect their investment in your home. It is a legal requirement of your mortgage agreement. 

Here is a quick breakdown of how homeowners insurance protects your home:

Dwelling coverage: This portion of the policy will cover the cost to repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged by a covered peril up to your coverage limits. 

Personal property: This coverage will repair or replace your personal belongings that are damaged by a covered peril, up to your coverage limits. Personal property includes things such as electronics, furniture, clothing, cookware and your other belongings in your home. 

Liability coverage: The liability portion of the policy will cover medical and legal expenses if someone is injured on your property. This can cover slips and falls as well as injuries from dog bites. In addition, the property damage liability portion will pay for other people’s property that you damage. 

Additional living expenses: This covers everyday expenses if you cannot live in your home while it is being repaired after a covered claim. It will pay for hotel or apartment costs as well as dry cleaning and other expenses you incur.

It is important to remember that if you are not carrying homeowners coverage, these types of expenses will fall to you which means that you will be financially responsible for repairing or rebuilding your home as well as replacing your personal possessions. 

In the end, homeowners insurance is a absolutely necessity and if your premium has become unaffordable, is time to shop your coverage.

Tips for saving money on homeowners insurance

If it’s time to find a new policy, here are a few tips to make sure you find a great policy at a price you can afford:

Shop your coverage: This is probably the best way to lower your insurance costs. Insurers rate risk differently which can result in dramatic differences in premium quotes. Shop at least 5 insurance companies and make sure you are comparing apples to apples when it comes to coverage levels and deductibles. 

Raise your deductible: Insurers love it when you have more skin in the game so if you raise your deductible, they will lower your premium. Doubling your deductible can lower your premium quickly and easily. Always choose a deductible that you can easily afford in the event you have to make a claim.

Upgrade your home: Adding a monitored security system, deadbolts, smoke detectors and other safety features will result in a discount, lowering your premium. Adding impact resistant shingles or a sprinkler system can result in a major discount so if you are replacing your roof check with your insurer about roofing materials that are eligible for a discount. 

Discounts: Insurers offer plenty of home insurance discounts and you need to make sure all of them are being applied to your policy. Ask your agent to do a discount review to make sure that every discount you are qualified to receive is being applied to your policy. Ask about what other discounts are available to see if there are any you could qualify for with easy changes to your home. 

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