Home Insurance in Arizona
Due to its large size and variations on elevation, the state of Arizona has a variety of localized climate conditions. Some areas experience extreme weather including dust storms and very high temperatures. Arizona homeowners need to carefully consider these conditions when purchasing insurance coverage for their home.
How Much Does Home Insurance Cost?
Arizona is one of the least expensive states in terms of homeowners insurance. According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2010, the average annual premium for homeowners insurance in Arizona was just $666.
The Arizona Department of Insurance (ADOI) provides a helpful premium comparison among Arizona’s most prominent home insurance companies.
The age of your home, crime and vandalism rates near your home, your home’s proximity to fire protection and fire hydrants, how your home is constructed, your credit history, and your claims history as well as the claims history of the property can all affect the amount of the premium you’ll pay for home insurance. The presence of wood stoves, certain breeds of dogs known for causing injury to humans, swimming pools, trampolines, and playscapes can affect the cost of a premium as well. In general, wood frame houses and homes in rural areas cost more to insure than masonry construction and homes in Arizona’s large cities, which have better access to high-quality fire protection.
Consumers can generally get discounts by being nonsmokers, installing security and safety features, having multiple policies with the same insurer, being long-time policyholders, and increasing their deductible.
What Does It Cover?
Home insurance in Arizona protects homeowners against financial loss in the event their home is burglarized, damaged, or lost entirely because of unforeseen hazards. It includes liability coverage in case someone gets injured in your home as a result of your own or a family member’s negligence and sues you for damages. In addition, medical payments coverage pays for the medical expenses that may result from someone getting accidentally injured on your premises. Finally, additional living expenses coverage pays for your lodging expenses while your home is being repaired or replaced after suffering damage or loss. Liability coverage is not always included in a homeowner’s policy, and may need to be purchased separately.
Do I Have to Get Home Insurance?
Home insurance is not required by law in Arizona. But buying insurance can help protect your house and property against damage from unforeseen circumstances, and liability for accidents that injure other people or damage their property.
Optional Coverage to Consider
- Flood. Flood insurance is not covered by most homeowner’s insurance policies and must be purchased as a separate policy. When deciding whether or not to purchase flood insurance, remember that Arizona’s hard desert ground can quickly become saturated during heavy rains and lead to rapid flooding, which can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your home and the property inside. Arizona homeowners who wish to purchase flood insurance do so through the National Flood Insurance Program.
- Fire and Lightning. Fire and lightning coverage is generally, but not always, included in basic homeowner’s insurance policies. Read your policy carefully to be sure that these specific perils are covered. When you consider how a fire could suddenly destroy your home and all your possessions with it, or how a lightning strike could cause a power surge that ruins all of your electronics, it’s worthwhile to ensure you are covered in the event such an incident occurs.
- Hazard. Hazard insurance protects you from damage or loss resulting from a wide range of perils. Common perils listed on a basic homeowner’s insurance policy include fire and lightning, windstorm, hail, theft, explosion, smoke, damage from a vehicle or aircraft, and riots and civil commotion. If you live in an area that is particularly at risk of a specific hazard, it may be excluded from your policy and you may need to purchase an endorsement or separate policy.
- Windstorm. Windstorm and hail coverage protects you in the event that a windstorm or hail causes damage to your home. In Arizona, windstorms may take the shape of dust storms during the summer monsoon season in the southwestern United States. Make sure you are protected by talking to your agent about any types of weather events that may be excluded from your policy.
- Earthquake. Like flooding, earthquakes are not covered by most homeowner’s insurance policies. In Arizona, large earthquakes are uncommon but not entirely unheard of. According to Arizona’s Geologic Hazard Center, the city of Yuma, which sits in the southwestern corner of the state, is particularly at risk for strong earthquakes because of its proximity to the San Andreas Fault and other faults, while the Colorado Plateau of Northern Arizona is more at risk for moderate quakes.
- Scheduled Personal Property Endorsement. If you have any valuable possessions that need more extensive coverage than the rest of your property, consider purchasing a scheduled personal property endorsement or personal article floater. This allows you to list valuables like jewelry, rare coins and stamps, antiques, computers, firearms, artwork, and high-end equipment on your insurance policy and cover each item beyond what is offered by the policy.
Mobile Home Insurance
Policies for mobile homes, also known as manufactured homes, often cover property, supplementary property, and liability coverage. Property coverage will pay out in the event that your mobile home faces a hazard like fire, lightning, windstorms, hail, theft, or other incidentals and you as the mobile home owner suffers loss. Supplemental coverage expands the above coverage to include other incidentals like collapse, debris removal, and more. Liability coverage protects a mobile home owner against lawsuits if he or she is responsible for causing injury or property damage to another person. For information about manufactured home insurance costs in Arizona, the ADOI provides a 2011 Manufactured Homeowner Premium Comparison Survey.