Alaska is the largest state in the U.S., the fourth least populous, and the least densely populated. Alaskan homeowners face the potential for damages to their property due to wind, ice, and snow, as well as more extreme weather conditions in certain parts of the state.
How Much Does Alaska Home Insurance Cost?
In 2010, according to the Insurance Information Institute, the average annual premium for homeowners insurance in Alaska was $903. According to the Alaska Division of Insurance, the biggest factors that determine the cost of a home insurance premium include the age of a home, how a home is constructed, available fire protection, and the amount of coverage you decide to purchase. In general, frame houses cost more to insure than brick houses because damage in the event of a fire is more extensive. Older homes, which are more likely to have aging electrical wiring and other elements, are more expensive to insure, particularly because new houses are built according to modern codes that slow the spread of fire.
Homeowners in Alaska can often take advantage of discounts from their insurance company if they have anti-theft devices like dead bolts and safety alarms, and if their home is built from fire-resistant material. Other discounts could arise from bundling home and auto insurance, being a senior citizen, or being a non-smoker. Finally, homeowners will pay a lower average price for home insurance per month by choosing a higher deductible.
What Does It Cover?
Home insurance protects Alaska residents from financial loss due to damage to their home and property. It also provides liability coverage to cover legal costs and medical bills in the event someone is injured in their home because of the homeowner’s negligence. According to the Alaska Division of Insurance, coverage in a typical Alaska homeowner’s policy includes: dwelling coverage, other structures coverage, personal property coverage, loss of use or additional living expenses, medical payments, and personal liability. Liability insurance provides protection from claims arising from injuries or damage to other people or property and is included in most homeowner’s policies with some exclusions. Ask your insurance agent about any exclusions and the possibility of purchasing a separate policy you cover you for such events.
Do I Have to Get Home Insurance in Alaska?
Home insurance is not required by law in Alaska. However, if your home is mortgaged, your lender will likely require you to purchase insurance. Alaska residents can refer to the website for the Alaska Division of Insurance for details about insurance options in the state.
Optional Coverage to Consider
- Flood. Damage caused by flooding is not covered in a standard homeowner’s insurance policy and is considered an optional coverage. Flood insurance shields you from physical losses that are directly caused by flooding, including flood-related erosion, and mudslides. Lenders don’t usually require homeowners to purchase flood insurance unless the home is in an area that is prone to flooding, but that doesn’t mean a home outside a flood plain is safe from flood hazards. Some Alaskan homeowners may qualify for flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.
- Fire and Lightning. Fire and lightning coverage is generally included under standard homeowner’s insurance policies. However, it’s still important to look over your policy carefully to ensure that you are covered. Fire and lightning coverage protects you from the cost of damage to your home and property caused specifically by fire and lightning. You may be able to get this coverage at a discounted rate by installing precautionary devices like fire alarms, fire extinguishers, and sprinkler systems in your home.
- Hazard. Hazard insurance is a general term that refers to coverage of physical damage caused by specific disasters, including damage from fire, windstorm, hail, vandalism, riots and civil commotions, explosions, damage by vehicles or aircraft, and volcano. Broader policies may extend to cover damage as the result of falling objects, damage caused by the weight of snow, ice, or sleet, and damage caused by frozen plumbing units, heating units, and other home systems, which could be helpful for Alaska’s harsh winters. Some hazard insurance coverage only covers the cost of damages from named hazards, while other hazard coverage shields you from damage from all hazards except those that are excluded by name.
- Windstorm. Even though most policies include coverage for windstorms and hail, it’s wise to read your policy carefully to be sure you have this coverage, especially if you live in Alaska. Damage to homes from windstorms or high winds is not uncommon in Alaska, particularly along the coast. Make sure you are protected by talking to your agent about any types of weather events that may be excluded from your policy.
- Earthquake. Alaska has more earthquakes than any other region of the U.S. and is among the most seismically active places in the world, according to the Alaska Seismic Hazards Safety Commission. Even so, a homeowner’s policy generally excludes damage that results from earthquakes or earth movements. Earthquake coverage must be purchased separately or as an endorsement.
- Inflation Guard Endorsement. By purchasing an inflation guard endorsement, Alaska homeowners allow their insurer to increase their policy limit based on what the insurer estimates the increasing costs will be for building materials and construction costs for a home. That way, your insurance coverage is adjusted for inflation, and you will have adequate insurance coverage to pay for repairs 10, 15, or 20 years in the future.
Mobile Home Insurance in Alaska
Mobile home or manufactured home insurance covers you in the event that your mobile home and the property inside is lost or damaged because of various hazards, such as fire, theft, or vandalism. In addition, it provides liability insurance in the event that a person is injured in your home and you are at fault.