Earthquake damages can cost fortunes

Getting Home Insurance in Portland

Home insurance in Portland helps protects area homeowners from financial loss in the event their home or its contents are damaged or destroyed because of unexpected circumstances. Such circumstances include any peril named on the policy, including fire, lightening, hail, windstorm, theft, and more. Also incorporated into most policies is additional living expenses coverage, which pays for any expenses for food, lodging, and storage that are over and above your normal expenses if you are displaced from your home after a disaster.

Other functions of insurance are liability and medical payments coverage, which protects you from claims, lawsuits, and medical bills up to the policy limit if someone gets injured on your premises and you are found to be at fault.

The average cost of a policy in Oregon was $544 as of 2009, which is significantly lower than the national average of $880, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The reason Oregon’s average price for insurance is so low is because of a competitive insurance market and the lack of hurricanes and tornadoes, according to The Portland Business Journal. Even with costs relatively low, Portland homeowners would still do well to compare quotes online for the same level of coverage from different insurers to make sure they are getting the lowest available rate.

Factors of Home Insurance Rates in Portland

When underwriting your homeowners insurance, Portland companies look at a variety of factors. Some of those include the age, condition, and square footage of your home; property upkeep and maintenance; how your home is constructed; whether your home has exterior lighting or security systems; your home’s value; and your home’s proximity to fire protection services, according to the Oregon Insurance Division’s Consumer’s Guide to Homeowner and Tenant Insurance.

Older homes generally cost more to insure than newer homes because of their aging infrastructure and because they were not built according to modern building codes. Exterior lighting and security systems are strong theft deterrents, and may lead to a lower average price per month. Other factors that could affect your rates in Portland are your credit history and the number and size of claims that you have filed in the past, the consumer’s guide explains.

Insurance companies also take into account features of your home that may constitute additional hazards, such as swimming pools, trampolines, playscapes, and wood stoves, all of which are associated with a higher rate of claims. Finally, crime rates in your particular Portland neighborhood may impact your average annual insurance cost. If you move to a neighborhood with a high amount of burglaries, theft, and vandalism, your premium could go up. Consider the following chart stating crime rates in the Portland area:

  Robbery Burglary Larceny-theft
2010 1,005 4,120 21,026
2009 1,037 3,696 19,624
2008 1,132 4,307 21,597

One advantage for Portland homeowners is access to excellent municipal fire protection services. Since insurers take into account the quality of local fire protection when setting rates, this can work in your favor as a Portland homeowner. Portland Fire and Rescue has 31 fire stations spread throughout the city, according to its website. This is advantageous for Portland homeowners who may pay a lower average cost of home insurance than more rural Oregon homeowners, whose access to fire protection is more limited.

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