Today’s topic is homeowners insurance, and I brought in Lindsey Fekete of Farmers Insurance to answer the following questions homeowners and homebuyers typically have about this subject.
How does a homeowner select an insurance agent? Are all insurance agents the same?
They’re the same in that they all sell insurance, but there are different types of insurance agents. None of them are necessarily better or worse than the other—it just depends on what you prefer. To select an agent, you can go online and search some of the bigger names to get a better idea of what you want.
What’s the difference between an insurance agent and a broker?
An insurance agent is typically affiliated with an insurance company that has their own products, services, and claims department. They basically work as a liaison between you and the insurance company to get you the policy you want. A broker, on the other hand, works for themselves and shops the market without any affiliation with the company they’re selling for.
What are your major options in terms of homeowners policies? Are all claims the same?
Each company is different in what they offer, but most companies offer a dwelling coverage, which covers the house itself. They also offer coverage for personal property, which contains all the items inside your home. There are other coverage options for separate structures too, such as your fence, patio, shed, etc. Additionally, they can include liability coverage for anything that happens to you or anyone inside your home. Not all policies are created equally, which is why it’s important that you sit down with your agent and tell them what you want covered.
What makes a policy more or less expensive? Is it good or bad to be more or less expensive?
As to whether being more or less expensive is good or bad, that depends on whether you want to pay now or pay later. You can either pay up front and make sure everything that you want covered is covered or pay later if everything you want covered isn’t covered. Neither option is better than the other, and there are a lot of options to help you decide which is the best course of action.
There are a variety of factors that can make a policy more expensive, including your home’s location, size, age, its construction quality, and the availability of the materials it would take to rebuild your home
Can you get quotes on a policy before you purchase a house?
Absolutely you can get a quote before you buy, but you have to provide your personal information first. An agent or broker will consider factors like your credit history and your claims history (i.e. whether you’re a renter or homeowner and have had claims before).
Do you have to pay anything for those quotes?
Absolutely not—they’re free. If someone charges you for a quote, you should tell somebody.
If you have any more insurance questions for Lindsey, you can call her at (206) 714-8497 or email her at email@example.com.
As always, if you have any other real estate questions or you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in our market, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to help you.