A basic home insurance premium is calculated using a number of factors. These include the age of your home, the methods used in its construction, and area considerations such as weather and crime rates. All of these factors play into what level of home insurance coverage you will need, and how much it will ultimately cost you. Although no one wants to make a claim on their home insurance, having it is typically required by your lender if your house is mortgaged, and not having it at a crucial moment could mean that you lose more than simply piece of mind. Here is a more detailed look on what affects your premium and why.
Factors Home Insurance Companies Use to Determine Your Premium:
- Age and square footage of your home. The first item on any insurance provider’s list is going to be the age of the home and its construction type. A newer home will be constructed out of more fire-retardant materials, and will also lose less energy due to improper seals on the house. As well, newer homes will often include items such a sump pumps in high water-level areas and carbon monoxide detectors, which will protect both the home and its occupants. Newer homes are less of a risk for losses caused by old or faulty internal systems, which makes it less expensive to insure.
- Materials your home is made of. The materials your home is made of also make a difference in the cost of your insurance. For example, homes made with brick instead of wood may cost less to ensure because they’re less of a fire hazard. Homes that have storm shutters, reinforced roofs, and other features designed to minimize the chance of loss cost less to insure.
- Replacement cost of the home. If you have a replacement cost policy then the estimated price of rebuilding your home will affect the cost of your premium. The cost of rebuilding your home, which includes the price of materials and labor, changes due to inflation. This policy changes updates the amount of coverage you have, and how much you pay for that coverage, based on how much the replacement cost is.
- Crime rate in the neighborhood. Vandalism and theft are two of the basic named perils in most basic home insurance policies. Home owners who live in a neighborhood that has a high crime rate are at a greater risk of loss, which means they will pay more to have their property covered by their insurance company. Municipal police services will often feature crime mapping information, either at local stations or on the Internet, which can give you an idea of the crime rates in your neighborhood before you begin your search for reasonable home insurance.
- The likelihood of damage from hurricanes, hail storms, tornadoes, and other natural disasters. Homes that are in an area that is frequently hit by hurricanes, tornadoes, or other strong storms are going to cost more to insure. Since these storms can cause catastrophic damage to your home it’s a good idea to see what type of damage is covered by your policy. For example, basic insurance policies cover damage caused by windstorms, but they do not cover losses due to floods or earthquakes.
- The proximity of your home to a fire hydrant or fire station. How quickly firefighters can respond to a fire at your home can make the difference between minor damage and a total loss. This is reflected in how home insurance providers calculate your premiums; the closer your home is to a fire station the lower the risk of loss is. The lower the risk the less you’ll pay for your premium.
- Your credit score and claims history. Your credit score could have an impact on how much your premium costs or even if a company will offer you insurance. However, they can’t deny you coverage solely because of your credit score. If you have a bad or mediocre credit rating then an insurance company may consider you a high risk to insure, which will raise the cost of your premium. Your claims history can also affect how much you pay for coverage. If you’ve made a lot of claims then insurance companies may see insuring you and your home as a higher risk. The same goes for you’re the claims history of your property. You can look up the claims history of your home, or one you’re thinking about buying, at LexisNexis’ Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) database.
When calculating your home insurance premiums, a provider does its best to look out for their own best interests. Generally speaking, anything that makes your home more likely to generate a claim will also result in a higher monthly payment. Make sure to speak with your insurance agent to see the various ways you can lower the cost of your insurance.