Comparing homeowners insurance rates can sometimes leave you guessing if there is any method to the madness.
Why would your friend pay so much less than you for home insurance when your home basically has the same replacement cost value?
Unfortunately there is no easy answer but I do know of a few underwriting factors that can change the rate you pay.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO LOWER YOUR HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE RATES
Since we quote more than one homeowners company, we can see rates vary in a given zip code or even a neighborhood.
Maybe an insurance company had a bad claim experience or high frequency of claim payouts in a particular zip code or neighborhood so they go in and raise rates so they are not the most competitive company in that area.
No insurance company could sustain profitability if they were the lowest rate on every risk in every neighborhood.
Some companies do race to the bottom with their rates to gain market share, but if they want to be around after the next hurricane, they do take a rate increase eventually.
AGE OF HOME
Your house may look just like your friend’s house and may have the exact same square footage but was it built at exactly the same time?
Home insurance companies give a greater discount on the most recent year built of a house.
So if you have a 3000 square foot house, but it was built in 1970 instead of 1990, your year built credit would be less.
Older homes and their electrical, plumbing, heating a/c and roof are more likely to result in a claim than newer updated systems.
Claims stay on your record for 5 years but some companies will only surcharge your policy for the last 3 years.
So if you made a small water damage claim to your bathroom and you only received $800 above your deductible, this water claim is still on your record and any new insurance company will surcharge the quote for not having a clean claim history.
Homeowners insurance companies will run a claim history report so the majority of all home insurance companies report your claim to a shared database (C.L.U.E.) or a CLUE REPORT so when you apply for a new home insurance policy, the underwriter can see if you really have had no claims in the last 3-5 years.
The underwriter is trying to determine if you are someone that uses a home insurance policy as a home maintenance policy.
Someone that makes claims will more than likely make more claims in the future.
Remember natural weather events do not count against you on your claim report and a company should not surcharge your policy premium if you had to make a hurricane, hail, tornado or wind claim.
Insurance companies will give a premium credit to the shape of your roof.
Hip shaped roof and Gable shaped roof are the most common.
A hip shaped roof would receive the most premium credit because the belief is during a wind event, this type of roof has been able to deflect the wind and result in lower claim damage.
ROOF SHINGLE TYPE
Some insurance company will offer an insurance premium rate discount on the type of shingle you have.
Architectural Shingles will give you a discount on your home insurance policy.
Benefits of Architectural Shingles
- Sustain Higher wind speeds up to 120 mph (3 Tab up to 60mph)
- Thicker than 3 Tab which tend to curl or lift
- Longer lifetime warranty up to 40 to 50 years
Architectural shingles will usually cost more 20%-40% but the majority of New Orleans area roofers are moving towards architectural shingles which is good because insurance companies are offering lower homeowners insurance rates for architectural shingles.
These shingles became very popular after hail storms and hurricanes that are very common in South Louisiana.
For a detailed analysis report from the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety click on the link below. The report studies the data from Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Ike and the performance of shingles in high winds.
3 TAB SHINGLES vs. ARCHITECTURAL SHINGLES
A very polarizing topic of conversation between insurance professionals and customers is what does my credit score have to do with the rate I pay in New Orleans on my home insurance?
No matter what side of the argument you stand on, the reality is to get preferred lower rates from the majority of homeowners companies writing new policies, you need to have a very good credit score.
Underwriters are of the belief that someone with a very low credit score is more likely to make a future claim on their home insurance policy.
Remember insurance companies are a business.
They want to take your insurance premium and are betting that you never make a claim.
You purchase homeowners insurance because you believe you will need to make a future claim.
Having a good to excellent credit score will result in a lower rate you will pay.
Here are some options available to you to lower your premium
1. Take a 2500 all other perils deductible
A homeowners policy is not a maintenance or home warranty policy.
As a home owner you need to absorb any claim under 2500.
If you don’t have $2500, go to a $1000 deductible.
If you make a claim within the initial three years of the policy, you could be canceled
and you would have a claim on your claim report that may make it either difficult to get another policy or cause a surcharge on your new quote.
2. Adjust your contents to the actual amount you own.
If your house were destroyed by a fire, would $50,000 be enough to replace your contents or personal property?
Most homeowners companies automatically give you 50% of the Coverage A insured value amount so if you insure your house for
200,000 Coverage A
You would get 100,000 of contents coverage.
If there is a fire and you can only prove you had $42,000 of property inside,
you are not getting a check for $100,000.
What’s this all about?
Calling around and getting a bunch of quotes from a bunch of different insurance agents will only help you find the cheapest quote or the lowest homeowners insurance rates, but if you are attempting to protect your most valuable asset, you need to determine if the cheapest option is the best option for you.
Some valuable coverages or endorsements may be left out of the quote proposal and that is why your quote is some much cheaper than all the others.
CHEAP IS NOT ALWAYS THE BEST OPTION
Do you walk into a shoe store or search on amazon for the cheapest dress shoes?
You don’t want to wear the shoes twice and they fall apart.
So should shopping for a pair of shoes be the same as protecting a $250,000 house?
When you make a claim, you want that claim paid.
After a hurricane, you want a company to
- inspect your house as fast as possible
- write an estimate
- send you the money so you can get your house back to normal
Do you think all home insurance companies writing in New Orleans are capable of giving you what you need after you make a claim?
Cheap is great if you never have to make a claim.
Unfortunately we live in an area that will be hit again with a Hurricane.
We want to give you some homeowners insurance quote options so you can decide what is the best option for you.
You want to properly protect what you can’t replace during a financially devastating event.
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