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Karl Newman, President
Sandi Henke, Communications Director
NW Insurance Council
Phone: (800) 664-4942
Fax: (206) 624-1975
Follow at Twitter/nwinsuranceinfo

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 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.
  • Check your credit - Make sure your credit history is accurate. Strong credit can help you obtain competitive insurance rates.
  • 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 or call (800) 664-4942.

NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education organization funded by member insurance companies serving Oregon, Washington and Idaho.