Over the years, Missouri homeowners have experienced severe thunderstorms, deadly tornadoes, flooding, and even the occasional earthquake. Home insurance can help offset the costs of repairing your home in the event of such unforeseen disasters, be they weather-related or not.
How Much Does Home Insurance Cost?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2010, the average annual premium for homeowner’s insurance in Missouri was $970. The level of coverage you select, as well as your deductible, will affect the cost of your insurance. Other factors, such as the age and condition of your home, the building materials used, and the geographic location of your home can affect your rate.
Insurance carriers may offer discounts to consumers who install smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, and burglar alarms. Consumers can also opt to lower their premium and increase their deductible, although this means that they will pay a greater portion for damages if they file a claim. Individuals may qualify for discounts if they consolidate their homeowner’s and auto policies.
What Does It Cover?
Basic home owner’s insurance protects you from the financial costs of unforeseen losses. These include damages incurred by fire and smoke, windstorm and hail, lightning, vandalism and theft, and the weight of ice, snow, or sleet. Be aware that some perils may not be included or may be excluded from a home insurance policy. Liability insurance is usually, but not always, a part of most standard home insurance policies, and protects you against a potential lawsuit from someone who alleges that he or she suffered bodily injury or property damage due to your negligence.
Do I Have to Get Home Insurance?
Home insurance is not required by law in Missouri. However, 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 Missouri Department of Insurance has more information for consumers about home insurance.
Optional Coverage to Consider
- Flood. If you live in an area prone to flooding, you should buy a flood insurance policy. However, it is also highly recommended that people who live in low-risk areas also purchase flood insurance. This is not included in standard insurance policies, but flood insurance is offered through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
- Earthquake. Earthquake coverage is available as an endorsement that can be added to your home owner’s insurance. While no earthquakes have occurred in Missouri in the past 30 years, there is a possibility that Missouri could experience a large-scale earthquake. In fact, it ranks third among all states in total premium volume, at more than $84 million. Home insurance premiums are higher in southeast Missouri and St. Louis than in other parts of the state. Single-story homes may receive better rates since they tend to sustain less damage from an earthquake.
- Windstorm. Windstorm damage is covered by standard policies. Missouri does experience extreme weather in the form of deadly tornadoes, so you should still check your policy to make sure that it does not include a windstorm exclusion.
Mobile Home Insurance
Mobile home owners may purchase a specific policy that insures mobile homes, also known as manufactured homes. In general, mobile home insurance covers the structure of your mobile home and your personal belongings. It also includes liability coverage and covers living expenses if your home is damaged due to a covered peril or disaster. Some policies may provide additional protection for other structures located on the premises.