Getting Home Insurance in El Paso
Homeowner’s insurance in El Paso, Texas protects against loss due to structural damage, property damage, and liability claims or lawsuits. A standard homeowner’s insurance policy protects the insured against fire, severe weather, and burglary, and will usually exclude coverage for an earthquake or flooding damages. Liability coverage protects the policy holder if someone is injured or someone’s belongings are damaged due to the policyholder’s negligence. The homeowner’s policy will also provide loss of use coverage and pay additional living expenses, including housing, food, and storage, if your home is uninhabitable because of a covered loss.
Areas of El Paso are prone to flooding, which is excluded from a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) works with nearly 90 private insurance companies to offer flooding insurance in communities that enforce its floodplain management standards. Flood insurance rates depend on your home’s level of risk, the age of your home, and type of construction of your home. Homes in high-risk flood areas, mortgaged from federally regulated or insured lenders are required to have flood insurance, but homes low-risk areas may also consider flood insurance, as 20% of NFIP claims are filed from moderate-to-low-risk areas.
Factors of Home Insurance Rates in El Paso
The average premium in Texas was $1,511 in 2009, according to the Insurance Information Institute, which ranked it the highest in the United States (the U.S. average premium was reported at $880). An insurer will underwrite your policy based on various factors, including your home’s age and condition, its replacement cost, its construction, your proximity to fire protection, your area, and your claims history and credit score. Discounts may be applied to your El Paso premium for impact-resistant roofing; burglar, fire, and smoke alarms; automatic sprinkler systems; fire extinguishers; a claims free history; or multiple policies with the same company.
The crime rate in your area will affect your premium as well, since a common homeowner’s claim is theft. Protect your home by installing dead bolts and burglar alarms. A El Paso insurer may not offer you a policy if your home is vulnerable to crime. In 2010, there were 2,787 property crimes per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, slightly less than the national figure — 2,941.9 property crime offenses per 100,000 inhabitants.
Your credit score will also affect your ability to obtain a homeowner’s policy and how much your homeowner’s premium will cost. Your credit score is determined by 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. Insurers in El Paso will use this information to determine whether they will underwrite your policy, renew your existing one, or adjust the cost of your premium. If the insurer cancels a policy, denies coverage, chooses not to renew coverage, increases your premium, or adds a premium surcharge due to your credit rating, the insurer must notify you beforehand.