Getting Home Insurance in Memphis
Structural and content damage from hazards such as fire, severe weather including tornadoes, and burglary are covered in homeowner’s insurance for residents of Memphis, Tenn., according to the state’s Department of Commerce and Insurance. Homeowner’s insurance also includes loss of use and additional living expenses in the event that your home is unlivable due to a covered peril, covering food, housing, and storage while your home is under repair or being replaced. A standard homeowner’s insurance policy also covers liability in the event that someone is injured or another person’s property is damaged due to your negligence. It should also be noted that flooding is excluded from standard homeowner’s insurance policies. A separate policy for flooding may be purchased from the National Flood Insurance Program if your community enforces the NFIP floodplain management standards, or through a private insurance company.
If your Memphis home or its contents are damaged by a covered peril, refrain from throwing away damaged items until an inventory of the damages is taken for use in a claim, and contact your insurance agency immediately. It is the insured’s responsibility to conduct temporary repairs after a peril to prevent further damages, but be sure to record all repairs and purchases for reimbursement in a claim. It is recommended that the insured takes an inventory – either photographs or a video – of all property for comparison should a claim be necessary later on.
In general, Tennesseans pay less than the national average for insurance. The average premium in Tennessee in 2009 was $794, compared to the national average of $880, as reported by the Insurance Information Institute.
Factors of Home Insurance Rates in Memphis
An insurance premium in Memphis is based on your home’s age, condition, replacement cost, type of construction, and proximity to fire protection. Generally, a brick house costs less to insure than a frame house, which is less fire resistant, while a home located near a fire hydrant or a fire department will also have a cheaper than those that aren’t. Your insurer will also consider your area’s demographics, including the population density and crime rate. Theft and burglary are common homeowner’s claims, and an insurer may charge a higher premium if your home is vulnerable to crime. In 2010, Memphis had 6,255 property crime offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, as reported by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. This is above the national figure of 5,235 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants. Refer to the chart below for more Memphis crime rates:
Your insurer will also look at your claims history and credit score when determining whether or not to offer you a policy, whether or not to renew your existing policy, or if the cost of your premium should be adjusted. Your credit score is based on your payment history, the number of credit lines you have open, the type of credit in use, any outstanding debt, and the length of your credit history. A claims-free history or a good credit score may also get you discounts on your premium. Discounts also may be applied to your policy if you have multiple policies from the same company, such as getting homeowner’s insurance from your auto insurance provider, or install protective devices, such as burglar alarms, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, dead bolt locks, and impact-resistant roofing.