Extreme winters can add up in damages

New Jersey has seen its fair share of natural disasters. Blizzards, tornados, hurricanes, and earthquakes have caused severe damage to homes in the Garden State, which is something home owners need to be aware of when they’re looking to purchase home insurance.

How Much Does New Jersey Home Insurance Cost?

The average cost of home insurance in New Jersey is $867, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The price you pay for your premium will depend on a number of factors, including the age and condition of your home, materials it’s build out of, and location. Insurance companies consider the crime rate in your area and even your home’s distance from a fire hydrant or fire station when they determine your premium.

Fortunately there are ways to save money. Most insurers offer discounts to customers, although these vary by company. Many insurers offer multi-policy discounts to consumers who purchase home, auto, and liability coverage. Some companies offer discounted rates to customers who install smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, or burglar alarms. Other companies reduce premiums for home owners who do not smoke. If you have maintained coverage with a particular insurer for several years, you may qualify for special consideration. You can also opt to lower your premium and increase your deductible, which is the amount of money you pay before the insurance company begins paying a loss. This will lower your monthly payment, but make sure you can afford the higher deductible in the event that you do face a loss.

What Does It Cover?

Standard home insurance policies protect against damages caused by fire and smoke; windstorm and hail; lightning; vandalism and theft; and the weight of ice, snow, or sleet. It covers the dwelling, structures attached to the dwelling, other structures on the property, and the items within your home including appliances, electronics, furniture, and clothing. Liability coverage is also a standard component of basic policies. It protects you and your family members from a potential claim or lawsuit for bodily injury or property damage that occurs as a result of you and your family members’ negligence. Liability coverage also pays medical expenses in the event that someone is injured on your property.

Do I Have to Get Home Insurance in New Jersey?

Home owners in New Jersey are not required by state law to have home insurance, but it’s a good idea to purchase it due to that the potentially high cost of repairing or replacing your home and the items within it. It’s also important to remember that many mortgage lenders won’t finance the purchase of a new home unless the buyer has home insurance.

Optional Coverage to Consider

    • Flood. New Jersey residents should consider purchasing flood insurance, which is not covered by standard home insurance policies. Home owners can purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). However, some insurance companies issue flood insurance policies in partnership with the federal government as a service and convenience for their policyholders. To qualify for NFIP, you must live in a community that complies with government guidelines for flood prevention.
    • Earthquake. Earthquakes are not a frequent occurrence in New Jersey, although the last notable earthquake of magnitude 3.0 occurred in February 2009. Still, home owners should consider purchasing earthquake insurance, which can be relatively affordable for residents in low-risk areas. Earthquake insurance is not included in standard policies, but it is available through most insurance companies at an additional cost. It is usually issued as an endorsement and attached to your home insurance policy. For more information, contact your insurance agent.

Mobile Home Insurance in New Jersey

A specific policy insures mobile homes, also known as manufactured homes. The mobile home policy covers the mobile home and provides theft and liability protection. Policies vary in the extent of coverage they offer. The named peril policy, for instance, usually covers losses due to fire, lightning, windstorm, riot or civil commotion, and theft. The comprehensive policy provides protection against all risks of physical loss, with stated exclusions. You are liable for damages that result from an unnamed risk or for exceptions in your comprehensive policy.

Keep in mind that policies are not identical. For instance, your mobile home may not be covered during transportation. Different insurance companies charge different premiums for the coverage provided by their policy. New Jersey’s Department of Banking and Insurance has compiled a list of insurance companies that write mobile policies.

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