Updated: March 2016
Homeowners insurance can offer you peace of mind by helping to protect your investment in your home.
As with any important purchase, you're probably looking to get the best possible deal. When selecting a homeowners insurance policy, the Insurance Information Institute (III) suggests getting at least three quotes, letting you compare prices before making a decision.
However, price is not the only thing homeowners should consider, the III says. It's also very important to make sure your policy offers the right types and amounts of coverage for your home. Here are some things to consider while you're shopping for homeowners insurance and comparing quotes.
Homeowners insurance typically helps protect your home against risks (described in some policies as "perils"). Examples of covered perils may include fire, lightning and theft.
In addition, when comparing homeowners insurance policies, you may want to check the types of coverage each policy offers. Less expensive policies may offer less protection, so taking a close look the coverages included in each company's quote can help you make an apples-to-apples comparison. Some common types of coverage to look for include:
Dwelling coverage. This coverage may help pay to repair or rebuild the physical structure of your home if it's damaged by a covered peril.
Other structures coverage. This type of coverage may help protect certain structures on your property that are not attached to your home, such as fences and sheds.
Personal property coverage. This type of coverage may help protect your belongings (for instance, clothing, furniture and electronics) from covered perils.
Liability coverage. If a guest is injured at your home and you are found legally responsible, this coverage may help cover expenses such as medical bills or legal costs.
Additional living expenses. If your home is damaged by a fire (or other covered peril) and you can't live there, some policies may pay the additional costs associated with having to relocate temporarily while your home is being repaired or rebuilt, the III explains.
Your policy's deductible is the amount you'll need to pay out-of-pocket before your insurer will begin paying your claim. A policy with a higher deductible may be less expensive to purchase, but the National Association of Insurance Commissioners points out that a higher deductible may have a more significant impact on you when it comes time to file a claim. Be sure that each of the policies you compare has the same deductible, and that it's one you are comfortable with.
It's also important to be aware that each type of coverage in a homeowners insurance policy has its own limit, which is the maximum it will pay out for a covered loss. For example, dwelling coverage comes with a maximum amount the policy will pay out if, say, a fire damages your home. The limits you choose may affect the cost of your policy. When comparing quotes, you'll likely want to make sure each policy offers the same coverage limits and that they fit your needs.
In short, it's good to shop around on price — but to make a true comparison, be sure you understand the types of coverage available to you, as well as the deductibles and limits that apply under each policy you're considering.