An important step when buying a home is getting the right home insurance policy for your needs. In fact, most lenders won’t allow buyers to "close the deal" until they secure it. Don't lose your dream house because you aren’t prepared. Here are some home insurance tips to help you get the right policy.

What is home or property insurance?

Most people simply can't afford to rebuild their home and replace everything in it if there's a disaster. A home insurance policy can protect your property, some of your personal possessions and you. It’s a package policy that combines two types of coverage:

  • Coverage against your property being destroyed or damaged by certain perils, such as fire, theft and windstorm
  • Coverage for liability exposure – for example, someone being injured on your property

With the right home insurance coverage, you'll feel comfortable knowing that, in the event of a disaster, your property is protected.

No matter what type of home you own, personal property insurance is your responsibility. If you live in a condominium, you likely need condo insurance because a condo association or cooperative won’t pay for damage caused inside your unit, even if it results from an incident outside of your control, such as a pipe bursting or an electrical fire.

If you live in a free-standing property, in addition to insuring your personal property inside, you must also protect your "dwelling," or the physical structure of your home. Make sure you purchase enough home insurance to cover rebuilding your home from the ground up and replacing everything inside.

What does home insurance coverage include?

Home insurance policies can be as individual as you are. According to the ASPIRA/Nationwide Insurance education program, in a broad sense, homeowners’ policies cover:

  • Dwelling – Coverage that protects the structure of the home (roof, walls, wall-to-wall carpeting, etc)
  • Other structures – Coverage for sheds, detached garages and other structures not connected to the main dwelling itself
  • Personal property – Coverage for personal items (clothing, furniture, appliances, computers, etc.) on and off the premises
  • Loss of use – Coverage for when an insured has to move out of the home while repairs are made as a result of damage caused by a covered loss
  • Liability insurance – Pays for damages the insured is legally obligated to pay due to bodily injury or property damage
  • Medical payments – Pays for medical and/or funeral expenses incurred by a person on or off the insured’s property

Learn more about the different types of coverages that can be included in a homeowners insurance policy.

Top 5 home insurance tips

1. Get enough home insurance coverage. While it sounds simple, make sure you have enough coverage to completely rebuild your home (or ensure you have the deposit for a new rental), replace your personal belongings and protect yourself in case someone is injured on your property and sues you.

2. Consider the amount of the deductible. Generally speaking, the higher the deductible the lower the premium.

3. Ask about available discounts. A number of home insurance discounts may be available for things like installing smoke detectors and wind-resistant shutters and insuring your home and auto with the same agent. Your agent can give you the details on how to save on your property insurance premiums.

4. Customize your policy. There are certain hazards that your regular home insurance policy doesn’t cover. However, you can add specific coverages for an additional cost. For instance, while flood damage is not generally covered, if you live in a flood zone, you can purchase flood insurance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

5. Talk with your insurance agent to make sure you've accounted for everything you want to cover. Keep a list of your valuables and consider taking pictures. It'll help speed up the process of getting your things replaced.

How do I know that my valuables are protected with property insurance?

  • Actual cash value – The value of the property lost or damaged at the time of the loss. This method of valuation takes into consideration depreciation based on such factors as:
    • Age of the item
    • Market value
    • Condition of the property at the time of loss or damage
  • Replacement cost – The cost of replacing damaged or destroyed property without deduction for depreciation in the value of the property.

With Brand New Belongings® from Nationwide, you can rest easy knowing your valuables are protected. This is an optional coverage that can help to replace or repair covered belongings, regardless of age or condition.

How to get homeowners insurance

Now that you have information to help you make an informed decision on your home insurance policy, it’s time to get a quote. Visit our homeowners insurance quotes page to get a quote online, find a local agent or call us at 1-877-669-6877 and get a quote today.

[1] "Internet Travel and Hotel Bookings," Statistic Brain (2016).

[2] "ASTA Releases Study on Time and Money Travel Agents Save Consumers," American Society of Travel Agents (June 2, 2016).

Insurance terms, definitions and explanations are intended for informational purposes only and do not in any way replace or modify the definitions and information contained in individual insurance contracts, policies or declaration pages, which are controlling. Such terms and availability may vary by state and exclusions may apply.