I'm considering buying a house. If the previous homeowners had an insurance claim at this house, could that affect how much I pay for homeowners insurance?
Yes. It's always an excellent idea to request past insurance claims information for the house (going back 5 years), then reviewing the potential home with your insurance agent, who will need to know about the past claims information to help you find the best coverage and rate. Past claims involving weather (like a hail-damaged roof being replaced), are not as problematic for new insurance as is past water damage as a result of a leaking refrigerator water line, or a broken upstairs toilet line, for instance.
How can I save money on my homeowners policy?
Assuming you have a competent agent and an adequate amount of replacement-cost "Dwelling" coverage (the amount of money available to pay for repair/rebuilding in the event of a loss), the best place to look is your deductible. This is the amount of money you pay first when a covered claim occurs, with insurance paying the rest. Most home insurance deductibles are in the $500-$1,000 range, but you can save a substantial amount on your annual premium by increasing your deductible, to, say, $2,500 or even more. This COULD make sense IF you have a newer home and roof, where the chances of weather-damage or leaking plumbing fixtures should be lower.
I'm thinking of buying a home in the country and have heard that insurance is sometimes more expensive in rural areas. What can keep insurance costs down?
Put simply, make sure the home is within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant and less than 5 driving miles from the responding fire station. These two factors are absolutely crucial for getting the best rate.
These are questions I hear from folks here in Franklin TN and Middle Tennessee on a regular basis, and the answers I have given are just for starters. There's a lot more to consider with any of these topics, so don't solely rely on these brief answers -- be sure to discuss them with me in greater detail.
David Yates Insurance Agency
1881 General George Patton Dr., Suite 103
Franklin, TN 37067
Phone 615-778-1816 Fax 615-778-1817
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