How to Shop for Homeowners Insurance


If you don't know how to shop for homeowners' insurance, you may have inadequate or too much coverage. Shopping for homeowners' insurance is a complex process that can overwhelm you if you need help figuring out what to look for. 

93% of American homeowners had insurance in 2020, but that doesn’t mean they all have the best policies and coverage. The right insurance coverage protects your home, investments, and family.

You'll never know what disaster can hit your home, and you must be prepared for anything coming your way. The Insurance Information Institute reports that 1 in 20 homes has a claim yearly, so it's essential to have the right coverage.

Whether buying your first home or renewing your policy, you must understand the basics of homeowners' insurance. In this blog post, we'll discuss how to shop for homeowners' insurance so you can choose the best policy for your needs.


What Is Homeowners’ Insurance?

Homeowners’ insurance is a policy that provides financial protection in case of damage or loss to your home and its contents. This type of insurance offers liability for injuries that occur on your property and coverage for various risks, including:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Natural disasters

Homeowners’ insurance provides financial security by helping you repair or replace damaged property and belongings. It can also cover legal fees and medical bills if someone is injured on your property.


Why Is It Important to Learn About Homeowners' Insurance Coverage?

Understanding the basics of homeowners’ insurance is crucial before you embark on the shopping journey. Many homeowners make the mistake of buying insurance without understanding what it covers. 

For example, homeowners living in an area that doesn't usually experience natural disasters may be fine without insurance that covers floods or tornadoes.

Additionally, many people assume that their policy covers flooding and earthquakes when these require separate or additional coverage.

Paying for insurance coverage that doesn't fit your needs wastes money. Knowing what your policy covers is essential to ensure you get the best coverage for the most affordable price.


Is Homeowners’ Insurance Required?

In most cases, homeowners' insurance is not legally required by law. However, suppose you have a mortgage on your home. In that case, your lender may require you to have homeowners' insurance as a loan condition to protect their investment in case of damage or loss to the property.


It's best to have homeowners' insurance even if it's not mandatory or you own your home outright. Having insurance is crucial to safeguard your home and assets from potential risks.


Homeowners' insurance provides peace of mind and protects your financial well-being in case of unexpected perils and events. It also covers your home's structure, personal belongings, property damage, and injury liability.

Homeowners' insurance can also cover additional living expenses if your home becomes uninhabitable due to a covered event. If you need to temporarily live elsewhere while your home is being repaired or rebuilt, the insurance policy can help cover the cost of accommodations, meals, and other necessary expenses.

While you are not legally required to purchase homeowners’ insurance, having this type of coverage is highly advisable. When you’re ready to buy a house, you should also factor the insurance cost into your budget.


What Does It Cover?

Homeowners' insurance covers damages and losses to a person's home and personal belongings. The coverage and policy details may vary depending on the insurance provider and the policy terms.

Generally, homeowners’ insurance coverage includes the following:

  • Dwelling coverage: This protects your home’s physical structure, including the roof, floors, walls, and built-in appliances. It typically covers damage caused by fire, lightning, windstorms, hail, or other specified perils.
  • Other structures coverage: This extends to a structure on your property that is not attached to your main house, such as a garage, shed, or fence.
  • Personal property coverage: This covers your personal belongings, including furniture, clothing, electronics, and appliances, in case they are damaged, destroyed, or stolen. The coverage typically applies both at home and when you are traveling.
  • Liability coverage: This protects you if you are found legally responsible for injuring someone or causing damage to someone else’s property. It covers legal fees, medical expenses, and settlements or judgments resulting from such incidents.
  • Additional living expenses: If your home becomes uninhabitable due to a covered loss, homeowners’ insurance can help cover the costs of temporary accommodations, meals, and other necessary expenses while your home is being repaired or rebuilt.
  • Medical payments coverage: This covers medical expenses for guests injured on your property, regardless of who is at fault. It can help with immediate medical costs, such as hospital bills or ambulance fees.

Homeowners' insurance typically has certain limits, deductibles, and exclusions. For example, specific perils like floods or earthquakes usually require separate coverage or endorsements.

Carefully review your policy and discuss any specific concerns or additional coverage options with your insurance provider.


How Much Does It Cost?

The cost of homeowners’ insurance varies depending on several elements. Here are some of the critical factors that can influence the cost of homeowners’ insurance:

  • Location: The home's location is significant in determining insurance premiums since homes in high-risk areas may have higher insurance costs. Insurance companies consider factors such as the risk of natural disasters (e.g., hurricanes, earthquakes, floods), crime rates in the area, and the proximity to fire stations and hydrants.
  • Dwelling characteristics: The age, size, construction type, and condition of the dwelling are essential factors. Older homes or those made of damage-prone materials may have higher premiums. In comparison, newer homes or those built with more durable materials often result in lower insurance costs.
  • Coverage limits: The coverage limits you choose for your policy will affect the cost. Higher coverage limits typically result in higher premiums since they offer better protection for the structure, personal belongings, and liability.
  • Deductibles: The deductible is the amount you are responsible for paying before insurance coverage kicks in. Going for a higher deductible may lower your premiums, but you may also spend more out of pocket if you have a claim.
  • Claims history: If you have a record of filing claims, especially for significant losses, insurance companies may view you as a higher risk and charge higher premiums.
  • Insurance company: Different insurance companies have varying pricing structures, underwriting guidelines, and discounts. It’s a good idea to compare quotes from multiple providers to find the most competitive rate.
  • Additional coverage: Certain endorsements or riders, such as coverage for valuable jewelry or additional liability protection, can increase the cost of the policy.

Remember, these factors interact, and the cost of homeowners’ insurance will vary based on your unique circumstances.

It’s always best to contact insurance providers directly to get personalized quotes that consider your specific needs and situation.


How To Shop for Homeowners’ Insurance

Shopping for homeowners’ insurance can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Now that you better understand homeowners’ insurance, you are more equipped to make the right decisions for your family.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to shop for homeowners’ insurance.


Step 1: Assess Your Insurance Needs

Before you start shopping for homeowners’ insurance, evaluate your specific needs. Consider the value of your home, its contents, and any additional structures on your property.

Assess the potential risks in your area, such as natural disasters, and determine the coverage limits you require. Consider also the replacement cost of your belongings and any additional coverage you may need, such as flood insurance or earthquake coverage.

This assessment will help you determine the level of coverage you need and ensure that you are adequately protected.


Step 2: Research Insurance Providers

Do your homework and research different insurance providers. Look for reputable companies with a solid reputation, excellent customer service, and competitive rates. 

Check their coverage options and the additional benefits they offer. You should also read customer reviews and check their financial stability ratings. 

Trustworthy sources like consumer reports and online insurance comparison tools can assist you in finding reputable insurance companies. You can also seek recommendations from friends, family, or local homeowner associations.


Step 3: Obtain Multiple Quotes

Reach out to at least three different insurance providers to get various quotes. You can contact them directly or use online comparison websites to request quotes from multiple companies simultaneously. 

Be sure to provide correct information about your home and coverage needs for accurate quotes. Remember to ask about any available discounts that could lower your premiums.

Comparing multiple quotes allows you to make an informed decision based on the coverage and cost of each policy. Doing this can also give you the best deal and save you money.


Step 4: Review and Compare Policies

Once you have gathered multiple quotes, review and compare each policy carefully. Pay close attention to coverage limits, deductibles, exclusions, and any additional endorsements or riders offered. 

Consider your area’s specific risks and ensure the policy adequately covers them. Remember to look for gaps in coverage that may leave you vulnerable.

Compare the policies to identify the similarities and differences in coverage. This helps you determine which ones offer the best scope and affordability.


Step 5: Understand Policy Costs

While it’s essential to consider the premium cost, note other costs associated with the policy. These may include deductibles, policy fees, and additional endorsements or riders you may need to add to customize your coverage.

Be aware of any potential rate increases and ask about ways to mitigate them. Remember to look for any hidden fees or applicable penalties to avoid any surprises down the line.

Understanding the costs associated with your policy is crucial, so take the time to review the costs that may be available to you. Ensure the policy fits within your budget while providing the necessary coverage.


Step 6: Seek Clarification and Ask Questions

If you have any doubts or questions about specific policy terms, contact the insurance providers and ask for clarification. Ask about any terms or conditions you don't understand, and request specific examples of how the policy would apply in different scenarios. 

A reputable insurance company will happily address your concerns and provide clear explanations. They should be able to provide detailed answers to any questions.

It's crucial to clearly understand what is covered and what isn't before making your decision. Asking questions now can help protect you from hidden fees and other unpleasant surprises later on.


Step 7: Choose Your Policy

After carefully reviewing and comparing the policies, it’s time to choose the one that best meets your needs and budget. Consider the coverage, price, and reputation of the insurance provider. 

Remember, the cheapest option may not always provide adequate coverage, so prioritize balancing affordability and comprehensive protection. Take the time to read through the policy documents and make sure you understand what is covered.

Ensure that everything necessary is in the policy and that it provides adequate coverage for any risks specific to your area. Additionally, ensure you have received all necessary paperwork and keep a copy for future reference.


Step 8: Review and Update Annually

Remember that your insurance needs may change, so you should review your policy annually. Update your coverage if you've made significant home renovations, acquired valuable assets, or have changes in your circumstances that may affect your coverage.

Regularly reviewing your policy ensures that you have adequate coverage for your evolving needs. This also ensures that you maintain appropriate protection for your home and family.



Shopping for homeowners’ insurance doesn’t have to be daunting. Through our guide, you can navigate the process confidently and find the right coverage for your home. 

Assess your insurance needs, research providers, obtain quotes, review and compare policies, understand policy costs, ask questions, and remember to review and update annually. By taking these steps, you’ll protect your most significant investment.

Now that you know how to shop for homeowners’ insurance, you can start your search. Remember these steps, and you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect policy for your needs.

If you’re ready to protect your home, contact us at 121 FCU for expert guidance and support throughout homeowners’ insurance shopping. We’re here to help you find the best coverage for your needs and safeguard your home against unexpected events. 

Contact us today, and let’s get started!

Back to Blog

Related Articles

How Does Homeowners Insurance Work and What Does It Cover?

Do you own a home? If you do, you might want to look into homeowners’ insurance. Without...

Credit Union Home Loans: Refinancing Your New House

You have many options available to you when seeking to refinance your new house. The financial...

10 Essential Tips for Buying Your First Home

Purchasing your first home can feel daunting. The process can quickly become overwhelming, with...