Whether you're a first time buyer, or just shopping around for a better rate looking for home owner's insurance can be a pain. Between hundreds of Texas insurance companies, pages and pages of documentation, flashy commercials, rewards programs, and that one person from back in high school that keeps trying to get you on their client list, it can be hard to know where to start.
Starting off on your journey to find the best home insurance, you need to know how much coverage you'll need. This includes the value of your home, belongings, and enough to cover any liability you may one day face. You need to insure for the rebuild cost of your home. You can find out the estimated value through an appraiser, or for a very rough estimate, multiply the square footage of your home by the average cost per square foot in your area, or hire a home appraiser to check the value.
Next, you need to know your credit score. Texas insurance companies are allowed to adjust your insurance rates based on your credit score. For example, your credit rating can impact the price you pay for Houston homeowners Insurance Your credit rating can impact the price you pay for homeowners Insurance up to $1220 per year. Our analysis shows Houston home insurance shoppers with poor credit will pay up to 49% higher rates than shoppers with good credit. Poor credit shoppers will pay rates that are 33% higher than people with average credit and average credit rate shoppers will pay 16% higher rates than shoppers with good credit. Your rate can also adjust based on the construction and age of your home.
Secondly, you'll want to look at your stuff. Most insurance companies will tell you your total policy should be about 50-70% personal property coverage. Between computers, appliances, furniture, collectibles, jewelry, and more; your personal property is probably worth more than you think it is. Take an inventory and photograph your things, keep track of any large purchases, and make sure to update your inventory as you improve items like computers, home theatre systems, musical instruments, antiques, collections, sound systems, and other electronics.
Lastly, no one wants to think about the potential for lawsuits, but the threat looms with homeownership. You want a decent amount of medical coverage, just in case something happens. Don't sell yourself too short on this! Most insurance companies recommend getting personal liability insurance exceeding the value of your home! While it might seem excessive, it could save you thousands in the long run, as personal injury cases can go after your property as well as whatever other assets you have.
The average cost of home insurance in Texas is $2060, which is one of the more expensive rates in the US, and about $1000 more than the national average. These numbers are based off of the average price of a Texas home at around $223,107, with the following traits:
This number doesn't include vacant land, which has its own set of policies and insurance, but most homeowners insurances will extend coverage for liability for these kinds of situations.
At a $2060 average annually, that equals about $172 per month. This might seem like a big number, but it is for the coverage of your home and belongings, and it is important to remember that it isn't a set-in stone number. Many things contribute to the price set for your home insurance, including the age of your home, your credit, the manner in which your home was constructed, and the rate you find.
Your next step after inventorying your belongings is to shop around for insurance rates, but don't just look at the premiums and pick the lowest one. Between fees, charges, and benefits that other slightly more expensive companies offer, you might end up getting charged more than you bargained for. Look for bundles, rewards programs, and other benefits hidden in their coverage. A company might charge an extra $100 per year, but include some benefits you might not have thought of.
Think of the coverage you'll need to insure your home and belongings. If you're an avid collector, maybe consider a higher percentage for your personal property. Have an older home with plaster and lath walls? Make sure you speak to an appraiser or contractor to figure out how much replacing them would cost. Planning on expanding your home in the near future? Add those extra square feet onto your estimate to make sure you're covered for every inch. Then, head over to Texas Insurance Ratings and check out the best rates for your area.
There are three main types of Homeowner Policies in Texas. they are: Basic, Broad and Special. In most cases mortgage companies require that Special Form Coverage be in place on homes that are financed. Special Form Coverage covers "everything" except as spelled out in "Exclusions" Exclusions include: War, Floods, Nuclear Catastrophe, Earthquakes, and Terrorism. Your policy will provide a complete list of exclusions.
In Texas, HO-A and HO-A+ are "Named Peril" covergaes, meaning if it isn't "named," it isn't covered. So if a bear tears off your siding, or a bee colony decides to use your home as it's nest and you have a "Named Peril" Policy. You are probably out of luck. The Special Form Coverage (HO-B) is an "All Risks" Policy. It's an "Umbrella" type of policy.
|Named Peril||Basic Form Coverage HO-A||Broad Form Coverage HO-A+||Special Form Coverage HO-B|
|Riot and Civil Commotion||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Wind and Hail||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Vehicles and Aircraft||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Weight of Snow or Ice/Sleet||No||Yes||Yes|
|Theft and Burglary||No||No||Yes|
|Full Glass Coverage||No||No||Yes|
|Pretty Much Everything Else*||No||No||Yes|
Companies exclude coverage for specific losses. Even the most comprehensive all-risk policy will exclude certain types of loss or damage.Common exclusions include:
HO-C Policies in Texas
While most people find HO-B policies to be sufficient, there is one policy that covers more, the HO-C covers all perils and contents. There are the usual exclusions, but if you have great credit and need additional no-fuss coverage for personal property damages, it may be the way to go.
Most insurance companies worth their salt will run a credit check on you when you apply to be insured. This is primarily to check your payment history. This can and does lead to higher rates on your insurance premiums. Someone with exceptionally good credit might find themselves paying significantly less than the $2451 average, while someone with below average credit can find themselves paying up to $1000 more to insure their home.
The manner in which your home is constructed can play a big role in the price of your home insurance. This is due to the risk factors different disasters can play a role in this. Wood frame buildings tend to be the most expensive to insure, but also the most common type of new construction. Fire risk, wind damage, hurricane damage and more can lead to these types of houses being more expensive to insure, due to reconstruction costs. If your home is constructed with stucco, brick, or stone, you may find it to be cheaper to insure since these materials tend to be stronger and less damage prone, but also tend to be more expensive to replace than wood overall. If your home is constructed with stone or stucco, expect a higher coverage need for replacement.
The older the home, the older the methods of construction. Owning an older home can lead to higher insurance rates due to the replacement costs of certain materials. Things like plaster and lath, hardwood flooring, decorative trims, and custom glasswork can all cost extra to replace in the event of damage. On average, owning a home of 30+ years can raise your rates up to 5%. However, an insurance company cannot refuse to insure you based on the age of your house alone.
The easiest way to save on your Texas Homowners Insurance is to Bundle your Insurance with Auto Insurance. Bundle discounts generally range from 10-20% You can further drive down your insurance costs by adding home security sytems, or smoke alarms. In fact there are dozens of ways to lower your costs. Here's a partial list of discounts:
|Alarm system/Home Security||10-20%|
|Few or no claims||10-20%|
|Belongings have an ID number||5-10%|
|Home in good condition||10-20%|
|More than one policy (Bundle or Multi Line)||15- 30%|
|Older / Mature adult buys policy||5-10%|
|Home Age Discount/ Renovation/ Update||20-40%|
|Early Quote Discount||5-10%|
|Easy Pay (Auto Pay)||5-10%|
|Good Grades (GPA)||5-10%|
Keep in mind most total discounts are capped, so your maximum discount may cap out at 40%