Anyone who’s ever gotten a home insurance quote from an agent can tell you this: the process can either be quick and painless, or drawn-out and time-consuming.
As you may be requesting quotes from multiple insurers, it’s helpful to prepare some information in advance in order to provide agents with a more comprehensive view of your home, thus allowing for a more accurate quote. It’ll also spare you from making unnecessary repeat phone calls.
In regards to that, here are five key pieces of information for you to have on your checklist when shopping for home insurance.
1. Occupancy Information
A home insurance agent will want to know how many people are living in the house and whether it’s your place of residence, unoccupied, or is being rented out. All of these factors will play a role in determining your premium and deductible amounts.
Why is this necessary? Because, an unoccupied house is more likely to sustain unchecked damage over time (such as from wood rot) since there is no caretaker to observe, report, and fix issues. Similarly, if your home is rented out, the tenants are less likely to report or fix any problems.
2. Insurance History
Most insurers will inevitably ask for details concerning your home’s recent insurance history – particularly, whether there have been any claims or losses in the last five years, and who the most recent property carrier is.
If your house has had an extensive history of insurance claims, you may have a difficult time purchasing coverage.
Make sure to provide the inclusive dates as well. Providing incorrect, outdated, or falsified details will get you in trouble — insurance companies share information about properties in a giant database.
3. Building Details
All pertinent details pertaining to the construction of the building and objects on the property will need to be disclosed in order for the agent to provide accurate information on insurance costs.
Such building details include the year in which it was constructed, the size of the building (in square feet), the number of stories, and any detached structures which are located outside the building but still connected. Details regarding the solid fuel appliance are usually also required.
4. Safety Features
Any safety and security systems that are currently installed in the house will affect an insurance quote. If you’ve had any recent repairs or renovation work done and new deadbolts or other padlocks fitted on the doors, make sure to disclose that to the agent. Having a fire extinguisher in the house will help lower premiums, as will a fire/smoke alarm, burglar alarm, and sprinkler system.
If you received a certificate when having any of these systems installed, keep them handy when calling for quotes.
5. Fire / Flood Protection
Is your home located outside the city limits or in a flood zone? These questions may be asked by an insurance rep when calculating your total premium. Houses that are far from local fire precincts or in otherwise inaccessible areas are considered to be at higher risk. Similarly, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), any building that is located within an “A” or “V” zone is considered to be in a hazardous area. More information on flood zones can be found on FEMA’s website.