Severe winters can add up on your home

The upper Midwestern state of Minnesota experiences some of the widest variety of weather in the country, including below freezing temperatures, blizzards, and heat waves. Minnesota homeowners should consider purchasing some kind of home insurance for protection against the elements and other unforeseen, unpredictable events.

How Much Does Minnesota Home Insurance Cost?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2010, the average annual premium for homeowners insurance in Minnesota was $981. Insurance companies offering home owners insurance policies consider a number of factors when it comes to determining the total cost of premiums, including the age, location, and construction materials of a home.

Some companies may offer a rate reduction for older homes that have been renovated. Companies may also offer non-smokers reduced rates, since smoking is related to a large number of residential fires every year. Most companies offer discounts to customers who have more than one type of insurance policy with them. Even criteria such as the number of years a consumer has been insured with the same company can affect insurance rates.

You should select a limit that is high enough to allow you to rebuild your home at the current labor and material costs. Consider what your house is worth, how much it would cost to replace it, and how much you can afford to spend on insurance. You can also check out the Minnesota FAIR Plan if you are unable to find coverage for your property through traditional companies.

What Does It Cover?

A standard homeowner’s insurance policy will cover any damages done to the structure of your home as well as the contents within, including furniture, appliances, rugs, clothing, and personal belongings. Home insurance can also help pay for living quarters if your home requires repairs following catastrophic damage. Liability coverage, which is generally a part of most homeowner’s policies, protects you against bodily injury and property damage claims arising from accidents to others on property that you either own or rent. It also protects you from accidental damage you may cause to the person or property of others while away from your property and includes the cost of defending a claim against you.

Do I Have to Get Home Insurance in Minnesota?

Home insurance is not required by law in Minnesota. 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. The Minnesota Department of Commerce has more information for consumers about home insurance.

Optional Coverage to Consider

  • Flood. Floods, along with earthquakes, wars, and nuclear hazards, are not covered by a standard home owner’s policy. According to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, more than 20% of flood claims come from outside high risk areas. The preferred risk policy, designed for residential properties located in low to moderate flood risk zones, costs approximately $100 per year. $500 is the average cost for coverage if you live in a flood risk area. For more information about purchasing flood insurance, visit the website for the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • Windstorm. Minnesota is located along the northern edge of what is known as “tornado alley,” a region of maximum tornado occurrence. While windstorm protection is typically offered in standard home insurance policies, for instance, the most basic home owner’s policy, the HO-1, covers losses due to 11 causes, including windstorm or hail damage, you should closely review your policy to be sure you are completely covered in the event of a severe windstorm or tornado.
  • Fire and Lightning. Damage due to fire and lightning is one of the 11 perils covered by most basic policies, but you should ensure you understand the details of your policy to make sure you will be covered in the event of a fire in your home. Your policy should cover the cost of damages to your home or valuables caused specifically by fire or lightning. Tell your insurance company if your home has smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, or sprinkler systems since there may be discounts available for having these installed in your home.

Mobile Home Insurance in Minnesota

Mobile home owners may purchase a specific policy that insures mobile homes, also known as manufactured homes. Mobile home insurance provides coverage that is similar to other home policies however, premiums for mobile policies may be higher because these homes are more susceptible to wind damage. To lower insurance premiums, owners can install tie-downs or ground anchors that reduce the risk of wind damage. The standard mobile home package includes coverage in case of theft and liability protection.

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