Buying homeowners insurance isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it process ― at least, not if you’re doing it right.
Whether you’re in the market for your first policy as a new homeowner or you’re after something cheaper, or with better coverage options, there are plenty of factors to consider as you gauge the market. Some expert tips you may not know, or that you may have forgotten since the last time around:
1. Keep up. Finally finished with that big remodeling project? Ready to enjoy the fruits of your (or your contractor’s) labor and never speak of the process again? Slow down.
Remodeling means a more valuable property, and that means it could be time to update your insurance. Be sure you’re covered for replacement value of your new-look digs, not just market value of the classic mode. That also goes for if you’ve bought new, high-value appliances or other items.
2. Check your deductible. Rates can fall significantly if you up the deductible, which could result in savings over the long term. That said, don’t jump on lower rates if you don’t have enough cash to cover the increased cost, should disaster strike.
3. Landlord life. If you plan to rent out your home after you move to your next duty station, be sure your insurance company knows you’ll be taking in tenants. You’ll need to maintain coverage, and your insurance company may not offer landlord policies ... or, at least, not one in your price range.
4. Flood facts. If you’re in a federally designated high-risk flood area and your mortgage is from a federally insured lender, you’re required to have flood insurance. That doesn’t apply to all homeowners in those areas, nor to those in areas with moderate, but still present, risk of high water. Unsure where you stand? This Federal Emergency Management Agency website may help.
5. Note for renters. Younger service members may not realize that their landlord’s insurance doesn’t cover a renter’s property in the event of a disaster. Policies for renters can be fairly inexpensive, especially if you’re not covering much in the way of household goods, and can provide peace of mind for young military families.
Get more home advice at Military Times Home HQ, and more on the VA loan process at our VA Loan Center.