Homeowners Insurance 101

Homeowners insurance can help protect your home including the structure, the belongings inside, and the cost of medical expenses if someone is injured on your property. When you purchase a homeowners policy, you are buying “coverages”, which are the things your insurer agrees to pay for.

homeowners insurance

Your deductible, as it is stated in your policy, is the amount you will owe if your home is damaged or you file a claim. For example, if your deductible is $500 and lightning strikes your house, causing $10,000 in damage, you will pay your $500 deductible before your insurance company pays the remaining $9,500.

Unlike health insurance, your homeowners deductible applies for most claims, no matter how many you have per year.

Deductibles for a homeowners insurance policy typically range from $500 to $5,000.

The higher your deductible, the more you will have to pay before your insurance company pays. This means you will have a lower overall rate, but you will pay more out-of-pocket costs. Vice versa, if you have a lower deductible, you will have a higher rate but pay less out-of-pocket.

Though it varies state to state, there are standard coverages that most states offer:

Dwelling coverage includes anything that is attached to your house, such as a garage, chimney, roof, cabinets, flooring, etc.

Other structures that may be covered by your policy include those not attached to your house, such as detached garages, sheds, fences, driveways, etc.

Personal property coverage covers your stuff if it is damaged or stolen. This includes things like your laptop stolen from your car or décor stolen from your front porch. Commonly covered belongings are:

Personal property coverage covers your stuff if it is damaged or stolen. This includes things like your laptop stolen from your car or décor stolen from your front porch. Commonly covered belongings are:

If your home is uninhabitable due to a covered loss, loss of use coverage will pay for a hotel/rent expenses as well as food while you are displaced.

Homeowners Insurance 101

Homeowners insurance can help protect your home including the structure, the belongings inside, and the cost of medical expenses if someone is injured on your property. When you purchase a homeowners policy, you are buying “coverages”, which are the things your insurer agrees to pay for.

homeowners insurance

Your deductible, as it is stated in your policy, is the amount you will owe if your home is damaged or you file a claim. For example, if your deductible is $500 and lightning strikes your house, causing $10,000 in damage, you will pay your $500 deductible before your insurance company pays the remaining $9,500.

Unlike health insurance, your homeowners deductible applies for most claims, no matter how many you have per year.

Deductibles for a homeowners insurance policy typically range from $500 to $5,000.

The higher your deductible, the more you will have to pay before your insurance company pays. This means you will have a lower overall rate, but you will pay more out-of-pocket costs. Vice versa, if you have a lower deductible, you will have a higher rate but pay less out-of-pocket.

Though it varies state to state, there are standard coverages that most states offer:

Dwelling coverage includes anything that is attached to your house, such as a garage, chimney, roof, cabinets, flooring, etc.

Other structures that may be covered by your policy include those not attached to your house, such as detached garages, sheds, fences, driveways, etc.

Personal property coverage covers your stuff if it is damaged or stolen. This includes things like your laptop stolen from your car or décor stolen from your front porch. Commonly covered belongings are:

Personal property coverage covers your stuff if it is damaged or stolen. This includes things like your laptop stolen from your car or décor stolen from your front porch. Commonly covered belongings are:

If your home is uninhabitable due to a covered loss, loss of use coverage will pay for a hotel/rent expenses as well as food while you are displaced.

4 Tips for First Time Homebuyers

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make so it’s normal to be nervous. As a first time homebuyer, the home buying journey can be a little stressful so we have compiled 4 tips to help you understand the process better and make it as smooth as possible.

first time homebuyer couple

Before you take out a mortgage loan, it’s smart to know your position. Your credit is a major factor in whether you are approved or not. If you come across any errors, dispute them now and consider making large payments on any debts to bring your score up. If all looks well, it is time to get your pre-approval letter from your chosen lender. This will show that you are serious about buying a home and can give you an upper hand over buyers who have yet to get pre-approved.

Before you start looking for your first home, determine how much you can afford to spend. This includes the amount you are able to put down as a deposit and the amount you are able to put toward a monthly payment. Remember, there is more to the monthly payment than the mortgage amount, there is often PMI (private mortgage insurance) depending on your down payment, taxes and interest, and homeowners insurance (see below). Beyond these costs, set aside cash for any expenses that may pop up after you purchase your home, such as general upkeep and an emergency fund in case you need to pay for a repair. You may find that you need this extra wiggle room sooner rather than later.

It may seem unnecessary, but writing down your wants and needs for your first home really helps. Do you want a single family home or will a condo/town home do? Do you plan to have children soon? You may want to consider your near future when determining the size and the neighborhood you buy in. List out the things you really need, like a fenced-in back yard or garage, and the things that you would like, such as a second bathroom or shorter commute. With this list in mind, you still need to be prepared to compromise.

Before you will be able to close on your home, your lender will require that you purchase homeowners insurance. It doesn’t hurt to shop around to compare rates so you can ensure you get the best rate for you. When comparing rates, make sure you are also comparing coverages because not every homeowners insurance policy is the same. Another thing to consider is separate flood insurance if you live in a flood plain, as this is not usually part of your regular homeowners insurance policy. Hippo insurance provides smart home coverage for modern lifestyles, which is why we have teamed up to bring you Safe Auto Group Agency Homeowners Insurance from Hippo. Learn more about what sets them apart and get a free quote today.

Changes to your home and neighborhood can change your premium so it’s important to review your policy every year. For example, if you add on to your home, you will want to increase your coverage to adjust for the added risk of loss. On the reverse, if you have added a fence or alarm system, you may be eligible to decrease your premium due to a decreased risk.

4 Tips for First Time Homebuyers

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make so it’s normal to be nervous. As a first time homebuyer, the home buying journey can be a little stressful so we have compiled 4 tips to help you understand the process better and make it as smooth as possible.

first time homebuyer couple

Before you take out a mortgage loan, it’s smart to know your position. Your credit is a major factor in whether you are approved or not. If you come across any errors, dispute them now and consider making large payments on any debts to bring your score up. If all looks well, it is time to get your pre-approval letter from your chosen lender. This will show that you are serious about buying a home and can give you an upper hand over buyers who have yet to get pre-approved.

Before you start looking for your first home, determine how much you can afford to spend. This includes the amount you are able to put down as a deposit and the amount you are able to put toward a monthly payment. Remember, there is more to the monthly payment than the mortgage amount, there is often PMI (private mortgage insurance) depending on your down payment, taxes and interest, and homeowners insurance (see below). Beyond these costs, set aside cash for any expenses that may pop up after you purchase your home, such as general upkeep and an emergency fund in case you need to pay for a repair. You may find that you need this extra wiggle room sooner rather than later.

It may seem unnecessary, but writing down your wants and needs for your first home really helps. Do you want a single family home or will a condo/town home do? Do you plan to have children soon? You may want to consider your near future when determining the size and the neighborhood you buy in. List out the things you really need, like a fenced-in back yard or garage, and the things that you would like, such as a second bathroom or shorter commute. With this list in mind, you still need to be prepared to compromise.

Before you will be able to close on your home, your lender will require that you purchase homeowners insurance. It doesn’t hurt to shop around to compare rates so you can ensure you get the best rate for you. When comparing rates, make sure you are also comparing coverages because not every homeowners insurance policy is the same. Another thing to consider is separate flood insurance if you live in a flood plain, as this is not usually part of your regular homeowners insurance policy. Hippo insurance provides smart home coverage for modern lifestyles, which is why we have teamed up to bring you Safe Auto Group Agency Homeowners Insurance from Hippo. Learn more about what sets them apart and get a free quote today.

Changes to your home and neighborhood can change your premium so it’s important to review your policy every year. For example, if you add on to your home, you will want to increase your coverage to adjust for the added risk of loss. On the reverse, if you have added a fence or alarm system, you may be eligible to decrease your premium due to a decreased risk.

Seven Rent Costs to Include in Your Budget

As a renter, there is more to consider than just the amount of your monthly rent when you are looking for an apartment. Before you sign a lease, figure out your rent budget and what your total monthly rent costs will be to ensure you can afford to live there.

rent costs renting expenses

This is a one-time expense and hopefully, you will get that money back at the end of your lease, barring any damage beyond wear and tear. Typically, this amounts to one month of rent.

This will be your primary expense every month. Make sure you can make this payment every month on time to avoid any potential late fees.

Utility expenses can add a significant chunk to your rent costs. When you tour apartments, feel free to ask how much tenants typically pay in utilities to give you a better idea of how much you will be paying per month for heating/gas, water, and electric. You also want to consider the cost of cable/internet.

Depending on your city, you may need to budget for parking if you don’t have included on-site parking at your apartment. In more densely-populated areas, this can significantly add to your monthly expenses.

Does your rental have a washer and dryer? If not, you need to consider what it will potentially cost to do your laundry. Do you have to pay to use a shared washer and dryer on the premise? Are you going to have to visit a laundromat?

If you have a pet, you may need to pay a separate security deposit and/or you may be charged a separated monthly fee to keep your pet.

Renters insurance is sometimes required, but not always. Regardless of whether it’s a requirement or not, you should seriously consider purchasing renters insurance. The monthly cost is minimal, and it can protect your things in case they are stolen, or damaged by fire, flood, or other disaster. See for yourself how affordable renters insurance can be with a free quote from Safe Auto Group Insurance.

See why you need renters insurance as a renter here.

See why you need renters insurance as a renter here.

Seven Rent Costs to Include in Your Budget

As a renter, there is more to consider than just the amount of your monthly rent when you are looking for an apartment. Before you sign a lease, figure out your rent budget and what your total monthly rent costs will be to ensure you can afford to live there.

rent costs renting expenses

This is a one-time expense and hopefully, you will get that money back at the end of your lease, barring any damage beyond wear and tear. Typically, this amounts to one month of rent.

This will be your primary expense every month. Make sure you can make this payment every month on time to avoid any potential late fees.

Utility expenses can add a significant chunk to your rent costs. When you tour apartments, feel free to ask how much tenants typically pay in utilities to give you a better idea of how much you will be paying per month for heating/gas, water, and electric. You also want to consider the cost of cable/internet.

Depending on your city, you may need to budget for parking if you don’t have included on-site parking at your apartment. In more densely-populated areas, this can significantly add to your monthly expenses.

Does your rental have a washer and dryer? If not, you need to consider what it will potentially cost to do your laundry. Do you have to pay to use a shared washer and dryer on the premise? Are you going to have to visit a laundromat?

If you have a pet, you may need to pay a separate security deposit and/or you may be charged a separated monthly fee to keep your pet.

Renters insurance is sometimes required, but not always. Regardless of whether it’s a requirement or not, you should seriously consider purchasing renters insurance. The monthly cost is minimal, and it can protect your things in case they are stolen, or damaged by fire, flood, or other disaster. See for yourself how affordable renters insurance can be with a free quote from Safe Auto Group Insurance.

See why you need renters insurance as a renter here.

See why you need renters insurance as a renter here.