Want Cheap Homeowners Insurance? The Good, The Bad & The Ugly!

16 Oct
cheap homeowners insurance

Always read your polices carefully and fully understand the deductibles so you are aware what you will need to cover if you have to make a claim.

Insurance can be expensive and in many cases it is a product that is seldom used so it may be tempting to find the lowest priced policy and call it a day. This can be a huge mistake if you ever have to make a major claim.

Cheap insurance policies often leave you under protected when disaster strikes. A low cost policy that comes with limited coverage or a huge deductible will no longer be a bargain if it your claim is denied or you cannot cover the deductible.

While it is always a great idea to shop your coverage on a regular basis and look for a better priced policy, going with a super cheap policy that offers limited coverage is never a good idea. Here is all you need to know about cheap insurance.

Know Your Coverages

Cheap insurance policies usually come with limited coverage levels. Lower coverage levels means that you will be on the hook a bigger share of the repair costs if your home or car are damaged or destroyed. If you are carrying the wrong amount of homeowners insurance it is possible that you won’t be able to rebuild your home if it is destroyed or replace your personal possessions.

The same goes for your vehicle. If your cheap insurance policy doesn’t include collision and comprehensive, you will be on the hook for the cost to repair your own vehicle if it is damaged or destroyed in a collision or due to vandalism.

Limited liability coverage can put all of your assets at risk, not just your home and car. Many cheap car insurance policies come with the state mandated minimums, which is never enough to protect you if you are at fault in a serious car accident.

If your insurance coverage turns out to be inadequate, you may find yourself on the wrong side of a lawsuit, putting all of your assets (house, retirement money, investments) at risk.

This liability gap can also impact your homeowners coverage. Most standard homeowner policies come with $100,000 in liability coverage and that will quickly be eaten up if someone is seriously injured on your property. Liability coverage can be a financial lifesaver and if you are underinsured due to a cheap insurance policy you could find yourself regretting that decision if you have to make a serious claim.

Always review coverage levels carefully and ask questions if you don’t understand something. It is never advisable to carry the state minimums when it comes to car insurance.

Higher Deductible

Cheap insurance policies often come with a high deductible in addition to low coverage levels. In general, the higher your deductible, the lower your premium as you are assuming more of the risk.

In general, there is nothing wrong with high deductibles as long as you understand what portion of a claim you will be responsible for and can easily afford to cover it. While a low premium may seem like a great deal, if you cannot afford a $2,000 deductible if you have to make a claim it can quickly become a costly mistake, leaving you unable to repair your vehicle or home.

Deductibles on homeowners insurance can also vary and if you have a percentage deductible on your roof, your portion of the repair costs could easily run into the thousands. Cheaper insurance policies (and most policies in hurricane prone states) often come with a percentage deductible when it comes to wind or roof damage. This means that instead of paying a fixed amount you pay a percentage of your total coverage and this can quickly get expensive.

As an example, if you are carrying $300,000 in insurance on your home and have a 5 percent wind or roof deductible you are looking at a $15,000 deductible if you have to make a claim.

Always read your polices carefully and fully understand the deductibles so you are aware what you will need to cover if you have to make a claim. If you cannot easily cover the deductible you should search for a new policy.

Always Use Reputable Companies

Cheap insurance is never a bargain if you have trouble making a claim or cannot talk to someone in customer service. A cheap policy issued by a less than reputable company can quickly become expensive if you have trouble getting a claim paid or cannot get someone on the phone when you need advice or want to file a claim.

Industry experts recommend checking the financial health of any insurance company you are considering. A.M. Best, Fitch, Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA), Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s all rate the financial strength of insurance companies. Ratings vary by company so it is a good idea to check at least two of the rating agencies before making a decision.

If a company has a less than stellar rating you should keep shopping. If your insurer cannot cover a major claim your bargain policy is basically worthless. Always deal with reputable, national insurance companies and if you have never heard of the insurer issuing your policy, investigate their financial strength and make sure they are viable.

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