The geography and climate of the coastal state Virginia is shaped by its Blue Ridge Mountains and Chesapeake Bay. Virginia homeowners need to consider the potential dangers of floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes when purchasing home insurance.
How Much Does Virginia Home Insurance Cost?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2010, the average annual premium for homeowners insurance in Virginia was $753. But insurance companies consider numerous factors when deciding the cost of a homeowner’s insurance.
For example, the location of a home will affect the cost to insure it. If a home is in what is considered to be an at-risk area, such as near the coast or anywhere flooding is likely, it may be more expensive to insure. The materials a home is made from will affect the cost as well. Homes constructed of brick may be less expensive to insure because they resist fire better than structures constructed primarily of wood. The age and condition of the home play a role as well. The cost of insuring an older home may be more because of the greater chance of something going wrong with it, such as a faulty pipe or a problem with the electrical wiring. Finally, a person’s credit score and claims history may be factored in as well.
What Does It Cover?
Home insurance is meant to protect you from the unpredictable forces of nature that may cause considerable damage to your home and your property. In Virginia, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes pose a threat to homeowners, which is why having the right kind of coverage is important. Most policies cover damage to the structure of your home and the property inside due to fire and lightning, windstorm, hail, explosions, smoke, weight of ice or snow, vandalism, and theft. Insurance also provides liability coverage if you’re found at fault for injuring someone or damaging their property. Yet most policies don’t provide coverage for floods and earthquakes, so make sure ask your insurance agent about obtaining the kind of protection you need.
Do I Have to Get Home Insurance in Virginia?
Home insurance is not required by law in Virginia. However, 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. The Virginia Bureau of Insurance has more information for consumers about homeowner’s insurance.
Optional Coverage to Consider
- Flood. Flood insurance is not typically included on a policy in Virginia. However, flood insurance is available to participating communities through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a program that is available for purchase through participating insurance companies. Flood insurance covers damage caused by overflow of rivers and lakes, unusual and rapid accumulation of surface waters from any source, and collapse of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water due to erosion. If you’re a homeowner in Virginia, you may want to consider purchasing flood insurance because it is one of the most common environmental hazards in the region.
- Fire and Lightning. Damage from fire, smoke, and lightning is covered by most home insurance policies. In the event of a catastrophic fire, insurance policies will typically cover the structure of the home and any property damaged within up to the limit of the policy. However, the amount of actual coverage you have depends on your limit, so make sure to check your policy.
- Windstorm. Virginia has experienced its fair share of hurricanes and tropical storms. Fortunately, most policies provide coverage for damage caused by windstorms. However, if you live in eastern or central Virginia, your insurance payments may be more expensive because these areas are most affected by strong tropical storms.
- Earthquake. Earthquake insurance is typically excluded from most policies. Although Virginia isn’t known for strong earthquakes like those seen on the West Coast, they still happen occasionally. The strongest earthquake in Virginia’s history, a magnitude 5.9, occurred in 1897. There have been two other earthquakes rated at 4.5 or greater since then, including a 5.8 in 2011 that caused more than $70 million in damage in Louisa County, the epicenter of the quake. Since there is a small chance of an earthquake, you may want to consult with your insurance provider about adding an endorsement that will provide you the proper coverage.
Mobile Home Insurance in Virginia
Similar to home insurance, mobile home insurance covers damage done to the structure of the home as well as the property within, including clothes, appliances, and furniture. The typical mobile home policy covers damage done by lightning and fire, windstorm, hail, ice and snow damage, vandalism, and theft. Most plans also provide additional living expenses coverage if you have to move out because the home has sustained too much damage to be livable. Most mobile policies don’t cover collision damage or flood damage.