SEATTLE, Wash. – Talk about a ‘hot’ time to sell – the local housing market is on fire and with warmer weather just starting to make its way across the Puget Sound region real estate purchasing will continue trending up.
Recently, our carrier partner – Grange Insurance Association based in Seattle – shared the top 5 things every home buyer should think about when it comes to home purchasing and home insurance. Often times the insurance part of the home buying process is an afterthought – but as Grange points out – it shouldn’t be.
1. Contemplate the Location
For many, location is everything when it comes to choosing a home. You may want to live in a particular school district, be close to restaurants and coffee shops, or a have short drive to and from your work. But did you know that location also plays a big role in what you pay for home insurance?
The location of your home will determine what risks you will be exposed to. For example, if you live in a forested area that is susceptible to wildfire or an area prone to landslides, you may need to find insurance coverage with a specialty carrier.
2. Consider the Age of the Home
Many potential homebuyers love the ornate and historic details of older homes, but it’s important to consider the role that age can play in the deterioration of certain home features.
If you are interested in an older home, make sure to obtain information about when each system in the home was last updated. Certain features in older homes, like electric and plumbing, can be outdated and prone to failure. An older home with an electrical system that has never been updated is much different than a home of the same age with a system that was updated a few years ago. Also consider expensive features in some older homes. While unique moldings and original hardwood floors can be stunning, they typically cost more to insure or replace.
3. Check the Loss History Report
Loss history reports can help to provide a glimpse into the insurance risks a home may face. These reports provide a record of property loss data for a particular home over the past 7 years. You can request a copy of the loss history report from the homeowner. Keep in mind that loss history reports only contain information about losses that were reported to an insurance company, so it’s possible that there have been other losses that the homeowner did not report or repaired themselves.
4. Don’t Skip a Home Inspection
In combination with reviewing a loss history report, a home inspection performed by a licensed professional can provide further insight into the past and current issues of a home before you sign on the dotted line. Reviewing the completed home inspection checklist can help you determine if a home is worth buying, but can also help you to determine what insurance coverage you may need.
5. Estimate How Much the Home Will Cost to Maintain
Insurance provides great protection for homeowners, but it doesn’t cover everything. Regular home maintenance is the responsibility of the property owner and losses caused by failing to care for your home will likely not be covered under a standard home insurance policy. Your homeowners policy language is very specific in regard to water losses. For example, if that leaky toilet you’ve been meaning to fix causes long-term water damage, this will not be covered by insurance, whereas a sudden and accidental toilet overflow or burst pipe typically would be.
Tip: Regular home maintenance can help to prevent future losses! There’s no doubt that purchasing a home is a huge life event that comes along with many new responsibilities and challenges. If you’re considering purchasing a home for the first time, visit our insurance basics page to learn more about homeowners insurance and what it does and doesn’t cover. Once you’ve mastered the basics, use our personalized Find an Agent tool to locate a local independent agent in California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, or Wyoming who can help you keep homeowners insurance at the top of your mind during the home buying process.
Already purchased a home and considering making renovations? Make sure to read our blog about the 5 most important things to consider when remodeling your home.