Reminder: Home Insurance Covers More Than Just Your Home

Wed Oct 14 2020

Home insurance covers your home, belongings, and other structures for common sources of damage, like fire, theft, wind, hail, vandalism, smoke, and more. But it also covers you.

For example, your policy’s personal liability insurance can help out if your kid accidentally sends a baseball through the neighbor’s window. You also get medical payments coverage to help pay for immediate medical expenses when your guests have a small injury at your home. And if a covered claim keeps you from living at home, loss of use coverage can help cover those extra living expenses: hotel stays, transportation, dining out, and more.

Because your policy covers much more than your home, an application for an insurance quote will ask some questions about you. These questions impact your eligibility and rate.

Here’s the information you might be asked for when applying for coverage.

Information Needed for a Home Insurance Quote

Your home is the star of your policy, so most application questions will focus on your home and how you use it. The number of questions you answer depends on the insurer. For example, we pull a lot of data about your home automatically, so you don’t have to hunt for answers to complex questions.

This part assess the condition, safety, and value of your home by collecting:

  • The year your home was built.
  • Total number of square feet.
  • Number of stories.
  • Home finishes such as crown molding or cherry wood cabinets.
  • Hazardous features, like a wood-burning stove.
  • Maintenance issues, like a leaky roof or outdated electrical.
  • Detached structures.
  • Safety features, security systems or ember resistant venting.
  • Protection class (i.e., your proximity to a fire department).
  • Proximity to high-risk wildfire or flood zones.

Personal Information for Home Insurance Quotes

Your background can impact your coverage eligibility and your rates. For example, if you’ve never filed a claim, congratulations! Your rates will be much lower – a little thank-you for keeping your home safe.

Don’t be surprised if your insurance asks for (or pulls) the following information.

1. Your Birthday

You might wonder why a potential insurer would ask about your birthday. Rest assured, we aren’t trying to learn your astrological sign. Your birthdays lets us know if you’re eligible for coverage (you need to be 18 or older) and whether you qualify for age-related discounts. For example, mature homeowners (those 55 years or older) get a discount – our way of recognizing that with age comes wisdom!

2. Insurance Score

Some states require a credit score review for applicants. Turns out how someone handles their finances is a decent predictor of whether or not they will file claims. Your insurer plugs your credit score into an algorithm to determine your insurance score. The higher the score, the lower your premiums may be.

3. Background Check

Most insurance companies won’t cover applicants who’ve been convicted of arson or fraud. As you might’ve guessed, it’s an indication that the applicant may commit insurance fraud in the future.

4. Coverage Lapses

It’s super important to maintain continuous coverage – if not for the safety of your home, then because it keeps your rates lower. Starting and stopping coverage is a big red flag to insurance companies and could mean higher premiums, depending on the duration of the lapse.

5. Claims History

Insurance carriers found that when a person files one homeowners claim, there’s a good chance they will file another one within a year or two. So your claims history does have an impact on how much you’ll pay for coverage and whether you’re eligible. That said, not all claims drive up rates. The ones outside of your control – like losses caused by a major catastrophe – impact your premium far less than “preventable” claims, like those caused by a leaky appliance.

6. Home-Based Business

If you run a home-based business that brings visitors to your property, you may not be eligible for coverage from some companies. Your activities qualify as a commercial risk, and you’d need business insurance to cover your liability. Some companies will offer home insurance if you have proof of business insurance.

7. Primary Residence

If you live in your home year round, it’s less likely to be broken into or vandalized. Claims tend to be more severe for second homes – if a pipe bursts, it might be weeks or months before someone realizes the problem. That’s a long time for water damage to go unaddressed. While you can get insurance for your second home or vacation home, your rates may be slightly higher to reflect the risk.

If you can’t find coverage, check out this guide for high-risk homes. You may have to work a little harder to find an insurance carrier that can cover you. Insurance carriers may have similar guidelines, but some carriers will insure bigger risks than others. State-run insurance options are also available.

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