What Consumers Need to Know About Home Insurance Companies

Every homeowner needs to have a valid homeowners policy. Without one, they could be left with nothing if something happens to their home. As there are so many insurers out there, consumers need to know what to look for in home insurance companies.

What is Homeowners Insurance?

Home insurance protects the homeowners finances when their home is damaged due to unexpected events. Some examples of the situations covered by these types of policies are listed below. Consumers should be aware that coverage will vary from one insurer to the next.

- Damage caused by natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes and bush fires. Some policies specify that they will not pay out for natural disasters if they happen within the first 24 hours of the policy. This prevents people who know a natural disaster is coming from taking advantage of insurers.

- Accidental damage to the home. Now this damage could be caused by anything unexpected. For example, a fallen tree could have damaged the exterior of the home.

- Vandalism or malicious damage. Some insurers do not cover vandalism so it is best to confirm this when buying the policy.

- Window breakage. A small percentage of insurers will allow consumers to repair broken windows without charging a deductible.

What to Look for in a Insurer

There are literally thousands of cantion home insurance companies in the marketplace. Not all of these companies offer a good product. Due to this, consumers need to assess whether or not an insurer is trustworthy.

Buyers can do this by reading online reviews about the company. The following is a list of information buyers should look for in reviews.

- Does the company have a 24 hour customer service line? Customers should be able to call and make a claim at almost any time of the day.

- Is it difficult to contact the insurer? Many insurers are understaffed and have very long call wait times.

- Has the insurer been accused of doing anything dishonest? The last thing buyers want is to do business with a company that has less than honorable business tactics. That being said, all accusations should be taken with a grain of salt. Consumers sometimes have unrealistic expectations of their insurer.

- Does the insurer pay out claims? Most insurers will be able to tell customers the percentage of claims they pay out every year. Ideally, this figure will be over 95%.

- Is the claims process smooth or does the insurer make a fuss about every detail or receipt? There is nothing more frustrating than faxing countless documents to insurers only to find that they need more information.

- Are contents covered? Some policies will cover all of the house’s contents while others will only cover fixtures and fittings.

The Value of Shopping Around

Many people make the mistake of staying with the same insurer their entire lifetime. After all, it is easier than shopping around for quotes. This is a shame as the insurance industry is very competitive.

Shopping around could save consumers hundreds of dollars a year. It could also mean that they get a lower deductible. Forbes.com

Customers who want to stay with a specific brand should inform the company if they have been offered a lower price by a competitor. Sometimes insurers will lower the prices to snag a customer.

An uninsured house is a big risk for homeowners. By paying a few hundred dollars a year for insurance, homeowners can avoid hefty repair costs. This is especially true if the whole house needs to be rebuilt after a natural disaster or unexpected emergency like a fire.