Flooding on the coastline is common and expensive

Rhode Island’s geography includes several large bays and inlets, giving the state its nickname “The Ocean State.” Rhode Island homeowners should consider purchasing some kind of flood insurance for protection against flooding as well as other weather and non-weather related disasters.

How Much Does Rhode Island Home Insurance Cost?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2010, the average annual premium for homeowners insurance in Rhode Island was $1,092. Insurance companies consider several factors when determining the cost of a homeowner’s insurance.

Your rate is affected by the type of construction, the age of the house, its distance from fire protection, the amount of coverage being purchased, the deductible, any discounts applied to the premium, the policy holder’s credit report, and the policy holder’s claims history. Frame houses cost more to insure than brick houses because they are more susceptible to fire. New homes may qualify for discounts, and older homes may be difficult to insure, or may only receive limited coverage.

Discounts may be offered if the policy holder has installed safety products, such as smoke alarms, sprinkler systems, burglar alarms, deadbolt locks, and/or impact-resistant roofing. The insurance company may also offer discounts if the policy holder purchases multiple policies from the company, or if the policy holder has a claims-free history. The Rhode Island Joint Reinsurance Association (RIJRA), also known as the Rhode Island FAIR (Fair Access to Insurance Requirements) Plan, provides basic homeowner’s insurance for applicants unable to gain coverage through the voluntary market.

What Does It Cover?

Homeowner’s insurance typically provides coverage for damage to property, including your home’s structure and contents. In addition to paying for home and personal property damages, insurance covers other structures such as tool sheds and detached garages. Personal property – the contents of your home and other personal belongings – is also covered in a homeowner’s insurance policy, though some rare and expensive items may require extended coverage or endorsements. Personal liability coverage, which protects against claims and lawsuits that result from you being liable for another person’s injuries or property damage, is another important part of your home insurance policy.

Do I Have to Get Home Insurance in Rhode Island?

Home insurance is not required by law in Rhode Island. 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. More information for consumers about home insurance is available from the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation.

Optional Coverage to Consider

  • Flood. Flood damage is not covered in standard policies. The National Flood Insurance Program provides participating communities with flood insurance that covers structural damage and damage to personal property caused by partial or complete overflow of inland or tidal waters, rapid build-up of surface waters or the runoff from such waters, and mudslide from flooding. There are a number of things that determine flood insurance rates, including the date of housing construction, the type of construction, and the risk of flooding in the housing area.
  • Fire and Lightning. Standard homeowner’s insurance policies will usually cover fire and lightning damages. Check your policy thoroughly to be sure you are fully protected. The distance from a fire department or a fire hydrant, the quality of the fire prevention within the area, the housing material, and any fire prevention devices such as smoke alarms or sprinkler systems may affect the insurance premium. In the event of a fire, contact your insurance agent immediately. Don’t throw away damaged property until an inventory of all damages has been assessed for the insurance claim.
  • Windstorm. Most standard home insurance policies will cover damage from a windstorm, hurricane, and falling objects. Windstorm coverage does not cover damage from flooding, which requires a separate policy. Read your policy carefully to determine if you will have adequate coverage for severe weather events, and ask your agent if your insurance policy covers associated problems, such as tree and debris removal after a windstorm. You may need to purchase a special policy that covers windstorms and hail.

Mobile Home Insurance in Rhode Island

A mobile or manufactured home insurance policy covers property damage, casualty damage, and liability claims, as well as loss of use coverage to provide housing, meals, and storage in the event that damage leaves the home unlivable. Mobile home insurance is not as standardized as homeowner’s insurance, so be sure to check which perils are included and which are excluded from your insurance package. Similar to a homeowner’s insurance policy, a mobile policy may be terminated if the policy holder does not make regular payment, if the insurance company finds that the claims or the insurance application is fraudulent or misrepresenting information, or if the policy holder has intentionally caused damage or has omitted maintenance leading to damage covered by the homeowner’s insurance policy.

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