Need more living space for your growing family? Don’t immediately call a real estate agent or contractor — first, talk with an independent insurance agent before you move or renovate.
The Importance of Working with a Pro
Your home is your most valuable asset. Homeowners insurance provides financial protection in the event the structure is damaged such as by fire or severe weather. It can provide peace of mind but choosing a policy can be complicated.
For instance, how much coverage do you need for the structure? What about your valuables? What is a good deductible? Do you need guaranteed replacement cost coverage? It’s also important to understand a policy’s exclusions, and whether an additional policy is needed for special events like floods and earthquakes.
An independent insurance agent can remove all the guesswork, guide you through the different coverage options, and match you with the protection that fits your needs and lifestyle.
Why Work with an Independent Insurance Agent
There’s no shortage of homeowners insurance providers and coverage options. Some providers have offices in your community; others have out-of-state headquarters; and still, others have international offices with U.S. branches and licenses for local coverage.
You could search the web for companies that cover your area, but the results might be daunting — and where would you even start?
Instead, you can save a lot of time by contacting an expert who can ask you questions about your home and identify the necessary protection.
Independent agents can represent multiple insurance providers, as opposed to so-called “captive” agents who usually represent just one company. So, they can help you find the right insurance company and coverage for your needs at competitive rates.
Not only will they compare premiums — the amount you must pay every year to keep a policy active — but they also will compare policy coverage and limitations.
First, it’s important to find a quality agent with a reputable company.
For instance, Erie Insurance, this post’s sponsor, was founded in 1925 and serves 12 states — Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin, along with the District of Columbia.
The company has a long track record and its property/casualty companies are rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best, a global credit rating agency with a focus on the insurance industry.
Why Local Knowledge Matters
A homeowners insurance policy is not a one-size-fits-all situation — that’s why you need local knowledge to build the best plan.
Different areas have different risks — for instance, the U.S. Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico coasts are prone to hurricanes, whereas California sees more earthquakes than other states; and areas across the country have tornadoes.
Also, houses are built differently based on the location — for instance, homes in the southern United States may have slab foundations, whereas many northern U.S. homes have basements — and each requires the right coverage.
Independent insurance agents have offices in your neighborhood and are a part of your community, so you’ll know you’re working with someone who understands local home construction, the area’s typical weather, and the coverage you need.
Erie Insurance agents, for instance, often check in with customers to touch base and make sure their coverage is up-to-date.
Filling in the Gaps
Whether you’re buying your first home, moving to a new one or just making improvements, it’s important to contact an independent insurance agent.
If you’re buying a new house, you need to consider moving insurance, especially for long-distance moves that involve interstate or cross-country travel. It will cover you during the move and it’s usually not necessary to purchase an additional policy.
Keep in mind there are limits for certain kinds of misplaced, lost or stolen personal property. Your insurance agent can help you find the best coverage and set expectations before the big move.
If you’re building an addition to your home to create more living space or making major improvements, let your insurance agent know. An addition can increase your home’s value — your agent will advise on whether your insurance policy has enough coverage to keep up.
It’s just one more reason why it pays — literally — to work with an independent insurance agent.