Shopping for a new home? Think insurance first
SEATTLE - Now that spring has arrived and summer is approaching,
the home shopping season is here for thousands of potential homebuyers.
As you evaluate prices, locations and property taxes for your
dream home, be sure to add insurance to your home-buying checklist.
"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," said
Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president. "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."
The NW Insurance Council and the
Insurance Information Institute recommend you consider the
following as you shop for a home:
- Loss History Reports - Request a CLUE
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
- Check your credit - Make sure your credit
history is accurate. Strong credit can help you obtain competitive
- Age of the home - 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.
- Location - Living in a high-risk area can prove expensive.
Take note if a prospective home is in landslide and flood-prone
areas. Since flooding is not covered under a typical homeowners
policy, you may have to buy flood insurance separately from
the National Flood
Insurance Program. 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.
For more information on Homeowners Insurance and to obtain a
free Home Buyers Checklist, visit www.nwinsurance.org
or call (800) 664-4942.
NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education
organization funded by member insurance companies serving Oregon,
Washington and Idaho.