Insurance considerations when buying a house
When looking for your dream home, there’s much to consider—and in a fast-moving market like today’s, it’s crucial to act quickly. When you’re accounting for the number of beds and baths, the outdoor space, and the school district, don’t forget the many insurance factors that are just as key in guiding your search—and that could help to save big on time, energy, and costs. Here, Alex Horowitz, Vice President, National Relationships, Berkley One, a Berkley Company breaks down some of the most important considerations when it comes to insuring your next home, from risk assessment to understanding your whereabouts.
Not All Insurance is Created Equal
If you’re looking to purchase a secondary home, it may feel logical to find a local insurance provider—but Horowitz notes that certain coverages may not be available from such providers. “There are markets that offer standard policies, but those may not provide the customization clients need to meet their lifestyles. A trusted advisor can help to guide the process based on an existing knowledge of the client and their needs,” he says. “Independent agents working with Berkley One can help determine creative solutions for coverage options, and it’s helpful to have a team already in place to advise on best practices and risk management.”
Location, Location, Location
Now more than ever, location is playing a key role in home buying— due much to the increasing frequency of severe weather-related events.
“Moving to a waterfront property or the mountains may have an impact on the coverages, limits and deductibles, the types of insurance the mortgage company can require, and the risk mitigation techniques the homeowner may need to deploy to increase insurability and minimize risk of loss,” says Horowitz.
He also notes the nationwide prevalence of wildfires, hurricanes, hail, and tornadoes.
And while it may be easy to think a location is in the clear because it has been free of such events, it’s critical to account for often-overlooked scenarios, too, such as not having a fire hydrant within a thousand feet, if the territory has fewer firehouses than it once did, or if the home is in a high-risk flood zone. The good news, Horowitz notes, is that you don’t have to go it alone. “When applying for coverage, we can help determine what the distance might be to the coast, where the closest firehouse and fire hydrant are, or the home’s flood zone,” he says. “While that view of the ocean is incredible, understanding exposure to loss from fire and water helps with understanding the risk mitigation such a home might need.”
True Cost of Ownership
When it comes to purchasing a home, there is more to the list price than meets the eye. An important, often overlooked aspect of the cost of ownership is the cost of insurance, says Horowitz, who notes a number of factors contributing to increasing insurance premiums, including inflation, cost of reinsurance, and severe weather-related events.
“Regardless of the region, there may be several factors associated specifically with that property or that town that have a dramatic swing on what the true cost of ownership would be month over month, year over year.”
Turn to your insurance agent to provide a range for what your home will need to be insured for, and to offer insights on any home features that may require extra attention.
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
Depending on the size and location of your home, protective measures may be encouraged—or required—to be eligible for coverage. “In today’s market, it’s in the client’s best interest to take proactive steps to make their homes better protected from severe loss, to minimize damage when something does go wrong,” says Horowitz. “Our team can provide clients with an overview of the risks relative to certain properties, so they’re informed and equipped for what’s next,” says Horowitz. “We’re here to help them insure their next home.”
It helps to have resources you can count on, and at Berkley One, our risk management and claims experts are here to help with proactive advice and risk consulting for your home. We also offer access to our PlusOne SM Service Network, a team of fully vetted and insured contractors and service providers at your fingertips who can help clients with home installations or repairs before or after a covered claim. To learn more, contact us here.