If you are in the middle of purchasing a Waterloo region home it can be very tempting to just choose to go with any insurance policy to cover your new place just to get it ‘over with’ at what is usually a very busy time. While that will satisfy mortgage requirements etc. it may end up being an expensive mistake if you ever need to file a home insurance claim and find that you simply did not buy the right insurance coverage.
Taking the time to compare insurance policies and the home insurance that is just right for you and your new home will take extra time but it will be time well spent, as you might discover if you ever have to make use of it. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you shop:
What You Need to Insure – The structure of your home is probably not the only thing you need to cover when selecting a homeowner’s insurance policy. If you have outbuildings on the land your home is on you may need to purchase extra insurance coverage to protect them (something called dwelling insurance) and you may want to consider adding liability insurance as well which would cover you in the event someone not a part of your family got injured on the property.
Understand What Home Insurance Policies Do and Don’t Cover – Although every homeowner’s insurance policy will vary from company to company the basic premium usually covers the same types of things and it is important that you know what each coverage option will and will not cover before you make a purchasing decision.
One of the biggest oversights homeowners make when buying homeowner’s insurance is failing to realize that flooding – and very often fire and earthquakes as well – are not covered under a basic insurance policy and that you will need to buy separate coverage to plan for those kinds of events.
A note on flood insurance: In the Waterloo region, and Ontario in general, until recently very few companies even offered flood insurance. After several years of flooding in the region that was less than expected some insurance companies are now offering inland flood insurance, but it’s optional and rarely built into a standard home insurance policy.
Comparing Companies – Insurance is big business and therefore there are a lot of companies out there for you to choose from. When choosing between these companies do not just rely on the fact that the company has a fancy website or advertises on TV a lot. Instead actually take the time to do a little research of your own.
When shopping for a homeowner’s insurance policy check each company’s reputation with the Better Business Bureau. You could also try asking friends, family and even your new neighbors which insurance company they use to insure their home and how happy they are with them.
Check With Your Auto Insurance Company – If you own a car you may find that the company that insures it also offers home owners insurance – most of them do. If you are already happy with the insurance policy you have with them then exploring the multi policy approach can often be a good idea.
There are a couple of potential advantages to doing this. The first is that you will be dealing with a company that you already know and trust. The second is that taking this approach will often score you some rather significant discounts and savings, which can never be a bad thing!
Consult with an Insurance Broker – Rather than do all of the ‘legwork’ yourself you could choose to work with an insurance broker to find the right homeowner’s coverage for you. These people can often find insurance policies and discounts that individuals alone cannot. If you are considering this option then do take the time to research the broker themselves a little though.
For most people, their home is the biggest financial asset they have. Shopping for homeowner’s insurance might seem like a bit of an annoyance and an inconvenience when you have so many other things to think about when buying a new home, but if you ever need to make a claim you will find that it was time well spent.