The insurance company will need information about you and the home to obtain a quote for a homeowner’s policy. They are evaluating the level of risk for both the home itself and the owners of the home. This article will explain what is needed and why it is needed.
When looking for homeowners insurance, you will need information about your home. These questions are pretty standard from one insurance company to the next, but they all seem to have a question or two unique to them. There will be questions about the property being insured and you as the person/owner being insured.
Information about how the home is built
You will need to know when the home was built and if it’s a brick home or a wood frame. You will be asked the age of the furnace, roof, and other mechanical systems like the electrical wiring and the plumbing. Approximately how many square feet is your home? How many bedrooms and bathrooms? Do you have a garage, and how many cars will it fit? Is the garage attached or detached?
You will probably be asked if you have any fireplaces, and if so, if it’s gas, wood, or pellet. How is the fireplace vented, up a chimney, or direct vent out the back through a wall? Do you have other buildings on the property, like a shed or a fence not connected to the house?
You may also be asked if you have hardwood flooring, carpet, laminated countertops in the kitchen, or granite. Tile in the bathroom or linoleum? Are any decks attached to the house? If so, how big is it? Do you have a pool? How about a trampoline or diving board? Read our article “Can You Be Denied Homeowners Insurance?” for more information on those last two items, plus other events or situations that could be problematic.
All the answers you provide will help the insurance company determine how much they think it would cost to replace the structure in a worst-case scenario. Being prepared with this information will make your conversation while seeking a quote for your home insurance much quicker and smoother.
Information about you
At the beginning of the article, we told you that the insurance company would need information about you and your home. You now know what information the insurance company needs for the structure, but what do they need to know about you?
Important information they will ask is about your history as a homeowner and if you have made any claims in the past. Just like a home with an old roof represents a higher risk to the insurance company, someone with a history of making claims on the homeowner’s policy also represents a risk.
If you have a track record of making claims, statistically, that trend is likely to continue. If you have a track record of NOT making claims, that trend will also likely continue. Making a claim on your homeowner’s policy is not a bad thing; it is repeated claims that become problematic.
Who lives in the home?
In addition to your insurance history, they will ask who will live in the home. If your answer is your spouse, three children, and your mother-in-law, that is perfectly normal and fine. If you answer that you will be renting the house out and not living there, you need a landlord insurance policy, not a homeowner’s policy.
Are you a real person?
They will also ask you for your personal information, like your current address (if you are seeking a quote for a home you’re moving to), your date of birth, and your social security number. This information is required for two reasons. The first reason is it allows the insurance company to verify your identity, which again allows them to know who they are insuring. The second reason is described in the next section.
They also need this information because they will check your credit score. Don’t worry; this is known as a “soft credit pull,” so it does not reduce your score. Insurance companies learned that those with stable credit histories tend to be less risky to insure.
In most instances, the credit history alone will not provide you with fantastic or bad insurance rates. Like most aspects of obtaining insurance, companies will have different interpretations of this topic.
They all will need the information from you, and there is no way to avoid that part of the process. Your credit history is another factor in determining the amount they will charge you, not a deal breaker in the positive or negative direction.
What type of coverage do you want?
The number of variables involved in this section is tremendous, so we will not spend much time on this. The crucial point you want to take away is that you need to ensure when seeking a homeowner’s insurance policy that you get the coverage you need. You also want to ensure that each company quote’s the same level of coverage.
We stated above that the standard homeowner’s policy is replacement cost for the structure and the personal property. Please make sure that it is consistent for each quote you receive. An actual cash value policy could be less expensive than a replacement cost policy but will provide much less coverage. You can read more about the differences in the article “How to Get Homeowners Insurance.”
Did one quote include water and sewer backup or additional coverage amounts? Did one quote include a high-value item like a fur coat or piece of jewelry as a specifically listed item? Learn more on that topic in the article “How Should I Insure My Most Valuable Things? ”
Make sure you compare quotes properly, and each quote includes the coverage you need.
What should you do next?
If you’ve had just about enough insurance knowledge, and are ready to turn things over to us, tap the Get a Quote button below. Or, if you have a question we haven’t answered, use the contact us form below, and one of our insurance pros will provide an answer ASAP.