Many California residents aspire to be homeowners California. The home buying process is notorious for its time consumption, real estate laws, and high costs. That’s why you need to purchase homeowners insurance to protect the building and your personal property. Acquiring an affordable home insurance policy with optimal coverages will protect you and your personal property against natural disasters, theft, vandalism, fires, and more.
Though having homeowners insurance isn’t a California law requirement, it’s still a must-have for any homeowner. If you’re new to insurance services and homeowner insurance needs, consult the guide below to learn everything you need to know about the product, its benefits, and the best insurers to hire.
Basic coverage from a homeowners insurance policy insures or protects the home and other structures on the property, such as a detached garage or shed. The policy will reimburse you for replacement and repair costs if your home, property, or personal belongings become damaged or lost due to a destructive event like a house fire.
Most policies include property insurance and liability coverage. Under liability protection, if you or your family are legally responsible for a visitor’s medical expenses from an injury due to an accident while on your property, homeowners insurance may cover the costs. A visitor can also file a claim against your policy if someone or something damages their personal property while in your residence.
Essentially, homeowners insurance is imperative for financial protection. If your home has severe damage from a fire, your homeowners insurance claim will handle the building’s repair. The policy will also pay for your living expenses if you cannot remain in your home due to the damage and replace damaged items through personal property coverage.
People often assume homeowners insurance is a luxury, but it is a necessity, even if it is not a legal requirement in California. Most mortgage lenders require customers to be covered by homeowners insurance before receiving a home loan. Landlords often require tenants to have coverage while residing in a rental property.
It’s not uncommon for former renters to think their renters policy will cover their new home. Both policy types provide these financial protections for the policyholder:
However, renters protection won’t work for homeowners because home insurance includes dwelling protections. Renter policies do not. In other words, home policies also have protections against physical damage to the home, such as its:
Tenants are not responsible for repairing damage to their residences if the cause for the damage is out of their control. That responsibility falls on the landlord or property owner. As a homeowner, you must ensure that the building is safe and has sufficient repairs to unforeseen damages, which is why homeowner’s coverage is beneficial.
Home insurance policies are fully customizable to accommodate your home and needs. When you contact an agent or broker you can discuss your protection requirements and learn about the coverages the insurer offers.
California insurance agents will likely discuss various types of home insurance products their business offers. However, it’s a good idea to know about some of the standard policy types before customizing your policy to ensure that you have the best coverage options available for your house and family.
Here are some of the standard insurance policy types for California residents:
Every insurance company has a specific range of coverages and products for clients in different locations. However, Riverside home insurance policies generally include similar protections for your home, family, and personal belongings.
Basic coverage insurance companies often include the following:
Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t cover every unforeseen danger within standard homeowners insurance policies. Floods, earthquakes, and fires can be exceptions to general coverage. Instead, you may need separate policies or extra coverages in addition to your primary protection.
It would be reasonable to assume that homeowners insurance will protect you and your belongings during a flood. California has a moderate risk for flooding due to heavy rains, making floods the most common type of natural disaster in the area. However, homeowners insurance will not cover flood damage.
Instead, you’ll need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy from a reputable insurance company serving the area. When speaking to an insurance agent about a flood policy, ask them whether the coverage extends to structural damage and personal belongings.
Earthquake insurance is another optional add-on. It requires a separate deductible and additional premiums, but the policy will protect you against damages from an earthquake.
Most home insurance policies have fire and smoke damage coverage, but it might not be as much protection as you would like. California is at risk of wildfire even if the city has fewer instances of the disaster than other neighboring communities. You can purchase separate fire insurance to fill the gaps your standard policy may leave open.
The cost of home insurance depends on several factors. Prices can vary by hundreds of dollars. Homeowner insurance rates vary primarily due to the property’s location and the cost to rebuild it. Populous cities with a high demand for property ownership and a greater frequency of natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes usually have higher home insurance payments.
Other factors that influence home insurance rates include:
Personal factors that may contribute to your rates are:
Researching companies and comparing insurance quotes is one of the best ways to save money on a homeowners policy, with and without bundling auto insurance or another service. Your expenses will largely depend on your neighborhood’s ZIP code, natural disaster risk, home values, and crime rate.
That is why it’s best to shop around for an insurance service if you want to maximize savings. You can call various agencies and speak to an agent about the products they offer, their claims process, and coverage options. The agent will use information about you and your home to generate a quote.
By getting quotes from multiple agents, you’ll have a good idea about which company has the best coverage at your ideal price. Any reputable company will quote select policies over the phone, but you may find it more convenient to research home insurance online.
One of the best ways to save on insurance costs is to bundle your car insurance and home insurance. Some agencies will allow clients to put their insurance products into a single package to maximize savings. For example, you could have life insurance, auto insurance, and home insurance policies with one insurance company to protect your family and belongings at a reduced cost.
Most insurance companies have life insurance and auto insurance policies. It’s best to inquire about bundling insurance services with your agent for lower premiums.
Another way to save on insurance rates is to ask the agent about available discounts. Insurance agencies frequently offer discounts to customers. The types of deals available usually differ between companies and locations, so talk to your agent to uncover ways they can reduce your homeowners insurance cost.
Some insurers will cut your home insurance cost if you invest in reasonable home protections. Security devices like dead-bolt locks, burglar alarms, and smoke detectors may qualify you for a lower premium. Not all security devices are cheap, so ask the insurance agent about which devices they accept for their company’s home security device discounts if available.
Finding a home insurer can be a daunting task. Many agencies serve the area, locally and nationally. They are not all the same, either. To get the coverage you need, you may choose to work with an insurance agent or a broker.
An agent is someone who sells insurance directly from a company for a commission. A broker is a professional who assists clients in searching for the best policy for their personal and property needs. Brokers usually represent more than one agency and have a duty to the client to find the most suitable policy at an affordable price.
Regardless of whether you choose to work with an agent or a broker, finding the right insurer is key to protecting your home without unreasonable expenses. The best company is the one that has most, if not all, of the coverages you need at competitive prices.
Research is essential for finding a reputable home insurance agency. Before settling on one, follow these steps: