Insurance Questions Potential Homeowners Should Ask before They Buy

Insurance Information Institute says insurance is often the last thing people think about when buying a home, but it should be a key factor.

When it comes time to buy that dream home, the cost to insure it is often overlooked. The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) says there are two questions every potential homeowner should ask before they buy: How much will the home cost to insure? And, will separate coverage be needed for certain disasters, such as flood or earthquake?

Insurance is an expense you will have for as long as you own the home. Before purchasing a home, there are important factors to consider that will affect the cost of insurance. The I.I.I. has created the following checklist to help:

-How far is the home from the fire department? Houses that are near a fire station with professional firefighters usually cost less to insure.

-What is the condition of the plumbing and electrical systems? Poorly maintained, unsafe and/or outdated systems can cost more to insure.

-Is the home vulnerable to wind damage? Find out if private insurance is available, or a state-run insurance program. Is there a windstorm deductible, and how high is it? A home on or near the beach may be more costly to insure than one inland.

-Is the house at risk from flooding? Flood insurance is not covered under a standard homeowners insurance policy. However, it is available from the National Flood Insurance Program which is serviced by private carriers and from a few specialty insurers.

-What about earthquake risk? Earthquake insurance requires an endorsement or a separate policy.

-Is the house well built and well maintained? Homes built by reputable builders using disaster resistant materials and designed to meet current building codes are likely to better withstand natural disasters.

A knowledgeable home inspector and your insurance agent can be helpful in answering these questions. The home’s loss history report can also provide useful information about its claims history of water damage, fire and other losses.

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