Home Insurance: 5 Tips for Finding the Right Policy

by | BiggerPockets.com

As an investor, picking the right home insurance policy to protect your properties is vital. Before making your decision, be sure you’re informed of all your options by asking the right questions — taking these extra steps could save you valuable time, money and heartache later.

If you’re a buy and hold real estate investor, finding the right home insurance policy plays an important part in protecting your long term asset.

Between the endless paperwork and lengthy searches comparing various policies, finding the right coverage for your needs can become overwhelming.

Here are five tips that can help you know with certainty that you’ve found the right home insurance policy to protect your long term asset.

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Home Insurance: 5 Tips for Finding the Right Policy

Know your options.

The most important step in your quest for home insurance is researching your options. You won’t know with certainty that you’re getting the best coverage and price unless you compare and contrast policies and price quotes from multiple companies.

Prices vary widely between carriers due to each company using a different algorithm to calculate their customers’ premiums. So, by comparison shopping, you could save yourself hundreds of dollars each year on your home insurance.

Related: Property Insurance: Why Coverage Gets Dropped & How to Handle It

You can save time by using an insurance aggregating website such as HomeInsurance.com to view multiple quotes at once. You can check the average insurance premiums by state as well. However, by taking the time to speak with company representatives individually, you’ll be more likely to receive an accurate quote, based on your credit score, location, type of home, and coverage needs.

Sometimes it’s beneficial to look at surveys of the best insurance companies, which are conducted by asking real consumers about their policies and experiences.  Consumer Affairs, for example, recently published their list of the Top Ten Best Rated Homeowners Insurance Companies for 2016.

The smaller company with the better price may seem more attractive, but it may not be worth it in the long run. Remember, “Large national carriers are likelier to invest in emergency response equipment and technology, which gives them an edge,” according to Lynne McChristian, a Florida Representative for the Insurance Information Institute. While you may pay a little bit higher of a premium, if you choose a bigger carrier, you’re more likely to receive a swift response in a disaster.


Buy the bundle.

When searching for homeowner’s insurance, ask the carrier if they’re willing to bundle your home and auto coverage. Although discounts for bundling will vary by carrier, opening a multi-line insurance policy by bundling your home and auto coverage can save you anywhere from “3 percent to 22 percent,” according to Amy Danise, editorial director of Insure.com in an interview for Equifax.

Talk to an expert.

You may have better luck finding the best policy by speaking with an independent insurance agent who works with many different carriers. Since they aren’t beholden to any one company, you’ll know they’ll be finding you the best coverage for your particular needs.

Streamline their interview process by having the answers to the following questions ready:

  • What type of property are you insuring (new townhome, new single-family home)?
  • How many residents will be in the home?
  • What is the square footage/how many stories does the home have?
  • What type of siding and roof does the property have?
  • What is the number of fireplaces?
  • Does your home have a monitored alarm system?
  • What is the approximate value of the personal property you want to protect in case of loss?

Interview the carrier.

What’s your credit score? What time of home are you insuring? The questions are endless, and at times, finding a homeowner’s insurance policy can feel a lot like an interview. Don’t forget to ask your share of the questions, though.

Related: Real Estate Insurance 101: How to Best Protect Your Investments

Whether you’re speaking with an independent agent or an associate of a particular carrier, remember to ask for the answers to the following list of questions. Not knowing the answers could prove to be a costly mistake later on.

  • What is included in the policy? Is there coverage for just the new home dwelling or for the actual housing structure, as well as for personal property and people as well?
  • What are the limits for coverage on personal property?
  • What is the liability coverage?
  • What is the loss of use coverage?
  • What coverage do you offer for flooding and weather-related issues?

home insurance

Understand the coverage.

Understand your coverage before you sign. People tend to think of their home insurance policies as one big safety net and catch all that will protect them in any kind of disaster or emergency. The unfortunate truth is that many kinds of natural disasters aren’t covered under standard policies.

If you live in a state prone to hurricanes, you will need to ask about buying wind protection coverage. In states prone to sinkholes, earthquakes or mudslides, you would need to pay for additional “earth movement coverage.” Flood damage is also not covered by standard homeowners insurance.

Speak to an agent about any of these additional coverages you may need before finalizing your policy.

Finding the Right Policy

While interviewing companies and pouring over the fine print of policies may seem like a hassle now, you’ll be able to rest easy after you’ve chosen your coverage, knowing that you’ll have the help you need to get back what you lost in the event of a disaster.

Selecting the home right insurance coverage for your investment property will give you peace of mind, knowing that your asset is protected.

How did you choose your policy? Anything you’d add to these tips?

Leave your comments below!

About Author

Ben Lemieux

Ben Lemieux is currently the Co-Owner of Surge Homes, a company that develops land, builds townhomes and condominiums, and offers real estate sales and marketing services for all of its communities in and around Houston, TX.


  1. Tim Puffer

    Well put together Ben. Investors also need to read through their actual policy even after having items explained to them by an agent. Every company has different nuances with the contract language that may give/take away coverage on an item important to that investor.

    Please make sure you have a competent agent that can explain things throughly.

    • Brock Adams

      Most want to have it all tied together. There may be a limit as to the number of investment properties…..If you have an umbrella policy everything needs to be accounted for. Umbrella policy is recommended if you have investment properties.

  2. I appreciate your tip on knowing your options before you buy home insurance. I would imagine that taking some time to do a bit of research into the carriers and policies would be a really good way to find the right fit for you. MY wife and I are looking into getting home insurance because we are buying a home soon so we\’ll have to be sure to take some time to get to know the different options we have.

  3. Ben, I really like your recommendation to know all the options available to you. Doing the research on what sort of policies or plans that could suit our situation could be a good way to ensure you get what\’s best. I\’ll have to keep this in mind when looking to replace my home insurance.

  4. Thanks for sharing this. I feel like you can never tell someone to actually read the policy enough, and knowing what options are available can help you with the process of shopping around for the right policy. There may be a better deal out there, so it’s important to search until you feel you’ve found the one for you.

  5. I love your tip on knowing my options. I\’ve been able to find a couple of insurance companies but I just don\’t know if they\’re the right ones. My husband has been looking around as well so hopefully, we can find the right insurance soon.

  6. I appreciate the point you make about talking to an expert to find a better home insurance policy. It’s like the article points out, insurance agents are beholden to any particular company, so they will do all that they can to help you find the best insurance policy possible. This whole matter was stressing me out, but now that I know about insurance agents and what they can do, I plan on finding on as soon as I can.

  7. I\’m buying a house and need to find homeowners insurance. Thanks for the advice about talking to an expert and having the information on your house to help you streamline the interview. Hopefully, I can get good coverage for my house in case of any incidents.

  8. I agree that you definitely need to understand the coverage before choosing a plan, as the article recommends. I’ve known people who just assumed that they would be covered for whatever might happen, only to find out later that certain things that they wanted to be covered for weren’t included in the plan. It can seem tedious, but it really is important to know the details of all of the plans that you are considering before making a decision.

  9. My husband and I have been renting an apartment ever since we moved out of our parents\’ houses. Now that we are ready to buy our first house, we have to start thinking about insurance. I really have no idea what to look for in a policy, so talking to an expert sound like a smart plan. I will be sure to write down the answers to all those questions so we don\’t waste any time on the interview.

  10. While I’m currently renting the house I’m living in, I do eventually want to make progress towards owning a home. I think looking at my options for home insurance is a good step to take, and being as informed as I can be is important for owning a house. Thanks for sharing these tips!

  11. I like that you talked about how you should talk to an expert. I know that I wouldn\’t know what type of coverage to get as a new homeowner. So, talking to a professional might help people understand what amount of home insurance would work best for them and their house.

  12. I really like your point about bundling with other types of insurance in order to get a good discount! My husband and I are in the middle of finding a home insurance policy, but we also need to review our auto coverage as well. It might be a good idea to review the auto insurance first, and see if we want to keep it. If we find that the price is too high, then we could just try bundling with another company!

  13. Knowing the different options that are available to you, is definitely essential to choosing whatever the best one is. I think that talking to an expert is probably one of the best ways I could educate myself. Do you have any further tips about where I should look for an expert on insurance? Thank you!

  14. I had no idea that the number of residents in the house could affect the insurance. We have been looking at different insurance plans lately, and wanted to know the best way to find one. I will definitely have to remember that when we do our research again.

  15. I like your tip on taking to an insurance agent to help you find the right type of home insurance. I would imagine that talking to an expert in this field would be helpful in finding a reliable company. My husband and I are looking into getting a different home insurance company so when we do we should probably speak to an agent first.

  16. I did not realize that where I am living might be in danger of tornadoes. I don’t think I had that kind of protection where I used to live. Thank you for posting this advice so that I can get the right coverage this time! It is a great assurance to know that I am looking for the right things with an insurance provider!

  17. This advice is very timely as my husband and I are looking to getting into a house in the next year or so. I like how you really put an emphasis on making sure you understand the coverage before you sign. I think there are so many people that don’t necessarily enjoy shopping around for insurance, so they agree to something they don’t fully understand just to hurry the process along. I can see myself falling into that, so I’ll be sure to be more cautious.

  18. Your comment about making sure that you understand your coverage and that it is designed to cover natural disasters common to your area makes a lot of sense to me. I can see how in California it would be more important to make sure that you\’re covered against an earthquake than a hurricane. Your comment to speak to an agent is also really sensible, since they probably have practice in \”translating\” insurance policies into laymen\’s terms.

  19. My wife and I are getting ready to close on our first house. I’m new to this, so I’m not sure what to look for in homeowner’s insurance. I didn’t realize bundling it with my car insurance could save me so much money. I’ll have to ask about it when I call the insurance companies this week.

  20. I found it extremely helpful to know that some companies might be willing to bundle home and auto insurance. We, as of right now, need to change insurance. We will talk to an agent about the switch and bundling the two coverages!

  21. The tip on understanding the coverage is really the most important thing here. You need to find a insurance agent that understands the needs of the clients and determine the coverage and insurance level that’s best for them and according to what they need. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you don’t understand something.

  22. It makes sense that you would want to interview with the carrier, and ask questions about things you may not know. We have been thinking about switching our home insurance, but wasn\’t sure how to find the right carrier. It would be nice to talk with them and figure out your needs, and what you can afford.

  23. My husband and I are recently married and buying our first home together. Homeowner insurance is a fairly new concept for us, but I really appreciated the simple explanations in this article. We will definitely be talking to an expert as you suggested to get the help we need. We will also be applying your other tips, like understanding the coverage, to find the right policy for us. Thanks again for sharing!

  24. You said that people tend to think of their home insurance policies as one big safety net. Knowing your insurance coverage might be important so that you know what you need to prepare for. My sister recently relied on her insurance as a backup plan, but what she didn’t realize is that it didn’t cover all of the things that she wanted.

  25. A friend of mine is thinking about buying a house, but didn’t know how to find insurance for it. It makes sense that you would want to make sure that you understand the coverage that you will need for the area. I know that I would want to research the area’s weather patterns and make sure that I have coverage for them if they get bad.

  26. My wife and I are getting ready to buy our first home. Obviously, there is a lot we need to learn and take care of before we can move in. I didn’t realize that some carriers will bundle your home and auto insurance. That could provide a big discount, and also it could make it much easier to manage both policies. I will have to look into that.

  27. I like how the article suggests talking to an expert to find the best policy for you. My sister-in-law is in the process of purchasing her first home. Since she doesn’t have any previous experience with home insurance, I think someone like her could benefit from talking to an expert in order to get a policy that fits her needs. An expert would also be able to help her determine what she wants covered in her policy, and what she might be able to leave out.

  28. Thanks for your advice about understanding your coverage. I feel like many people probably think that there is just sort of a one-size-fits-all homeowners insurance. My brother living in Texas was certainly glad that he had spent the extra for flood insurance after hurricane Harvey hit though, so learning about the different types of coverage seems pretty important to me.

  29. I appreciate all of the great advice that you have shared here on finding the right home insurance for you and your situation. One thing that has stuck with me since reading this was you talking about the many different options that you have. Like you said, you should compare the different prices of the insurance companies and consult with many different agencies to save some money. Being a young college student, I have not thought of buying a home yet, and I think that this information will be really beneficial to me. Thanks again!

  30. Elsa Anderson on

    My husband and I are moving into a new home at the end of the month and we need to decide on a homeowner’s insurance policy. I like that you say to look for bundles with auto and home insurance because these bundles can provide a discount of up to 20 percent! Also, I agree that you should understand your coverage because you may need flood damage added to the plan or wind protection coverage depending on where you live.

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