The Homeowners Insurance Estimate Is Dead

Mon Apr 9 2018

You don’t need an estimate. You need a quote.

Homeowners insurance estimates used to be a cornerstone of the industry. And why not? Back in the day when the only way to get homeowners insurance was to fill out a long paper form and wait a couple weeks while the insurance company processed it and maybe called you to clarify a few points and then took a few more weeks, it made sense to offer rough estimates of what coverage would cost ahead of time.

But times, thankfully, have changed.

Homeowners Insurance Estimate vs. Homeowners Insurance Quote

An estimate gives homeowners a ballpark idea – in just a few seconds – of what they might pay for coverage. An estimate is quick. It lets homeowners comparison shop before committing to the process of filling out a multi-page application filled with questions about things they don’t know, like when their roof was last updated.

But today, it’s not enough to be quick. In fact, in today’s data-driven insurance world, it’s not even enough to be an estimate.

Why You Don’t Need a House Insurance Estimate

Today, it’s possible to provide real-time homeowners insurance quotes. A quote is different from an estimate in three major ways:

  1. It’s based on the actual details about your home and its location, whereas an estimate is calculated as an average of many homes.
  2. It shows the actual amount you’ll pay in premiums.
  3. It’s “bindable,” which, in the insurance world, means you can say, “That looks good” and sign on the dotted line and get exactly what you see for exactly the price you see.

In the past (including the pretty recent past), house insurance estimates were important because they were much quicker than getting actual quotes. A quote required the insurance company to process all kinds of paperwork and verify various facts about your location and the construction of your home.

Today, quotes are available within seconds from companies like Kin. Instead of showing you the average cost of all homeowners insurance policies in your neighborhood or for houses built when yours was, we can just tell you how much your insurance will cost.

This is excellent news if you’re shopping around for homeowners insurance. It makes the process a lot more like shopping for a new pair of sneakers: you can visit various providers and see what the actual cost of your coverage will be, then choose the provider that offers you the best coverage for the best price.

Tips for Getting A Great Homeowners Insurance Quote

Today’s data processing models are excellent at pricing home insurance coverage based on information that’s publicly available about your home (year it was built, proximity to a fire station, etc.). But there are some details only you will know. After getting a lightning-fast quote from Kin or a similar company, be sure to talk to an agent about the following to make sure the policy you get covers everything you need it to:

  1. Mention any high-value items you have in your house. These might include musical instruments, furs, jewelry, art, guns, and other things that have a high replacement cost. Your agent can make sure your policy includes coverage limits adequate to protect them.
  2. Mention any business activities you do in your home. This might include running a daycare, teaching guitar lessons, renting your home on Airbnb, or plenty of other things. Most homeowners policies exclude business activities from coverage, so if you run a money-making operation from your home, it’s important to cover it separately.
  3. Ask about cost-saving promotions. Kin offers a few programs that improve a home’s safety and lower the premium on your homeowners insurance. Most of them are free to you or available for a very low cost.