The Northwest Insurance Council and the Insurance Information Institute have released a tip sheet for Washington residents shopping for new homes.
“A home is arguably a family’s largest asset. It only makes sense to examine the costs to insure a home before you buy it,” Karl Newman, Northwest Insurance Council president, said in an April 5 press release. “Many companies offer discounts for insuring both your auto and home. Also, when comparing offers, be sure the coverage amounts are the same for each company.”
Both organizations made the following recommendations:
- Request a “CLUE” or “A-Plus” report from the seller to view the claims history of the home. If a Homeowners Insurance claim was filed in the past three to five years, the loss history report will show the nature of the claim, and you can make sure proper repairs have been made.
- Make sure your credit history is accurate. Strong credit can help you obtain competitive insurance rates.
- Some older houses have expensive features such as hardwood floors, custom finishes and ceiling moldings. These features are more expensive to replace and should be included to be sure you have enough coverage to replace features damaged or destroyed in a covered loss.
- Living in a high-risk area can prove expensive. Take note if a prospective home is in a landslide and flood-prone area. Since flooding is not covered under a typical homeowners policy, you may have to buy flood insurance separately. Consider earthquake risk. Earthquake insurance requires a special endorsement or a separate policy. Also, a special “Difference in Conditions” policy may be required if you choose to buy a home near a cliff or steep embankment.
- Inspect utilities—Older plumbing, heating and electrical systems are more likely to cause fires or water damage. Insurance for homes with knob and tube wiring can be significantly higher or not available at all.
The Northwest Insurance Council is online at www.nwinsurance.org.