What information is needed for a home insurance quote?
Fact-checked with HomeInsurance.com
Thinking about buying homeowners insurance? Don’t settle on the first policy you find. Start by getting a home insurance quote to see how much it will cost to insure your property. Getting a home insurance quote is pretty simple, and many insurance companies offer instant rate estimates online. In this article, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about getting a home insurance quote—what information is required, where to get a quote and when to get one.
What information do you need to get a homeowners insurance quote?
In order to get an accurate home insurance quote, you’ll need to provide specific information about yourself and your home. Insurance companies will use that information to calculate your rate, which is essentially a reflection of home value and risk factors. Before you apply for a home insurance quote, have the following information on hand to provide to the agent:
- The size of the home: When applying for a home insurance quote, you’ll be asked to disclose the size of your home, including the square footage and number of stories.
- Year the home was built: You’ll be asked what year your home was originally built.
- Construction details: Most insurance companies will ask for construction details, like building materials used and what type of roof you have.
- If you have pets: Insurers also prefer to know if you have pets, and if so, what type of pets (breed, weight, etc).
- Your history of home insurance claims: You’ll need to disclose whether you’ve filed any home insurance claims within the last 3-5 years. This is a particularly important detail for insurers to know.
- Recent renovations or updates: If you’ve recently renovated or made upgrades to your home, like installing a new roof, electrical system or security system, share that information on your quote application to ensure your quote for coverage is accurate to the current condition of your home.
- How long your home has been insured, and with whom: You’ll be asked to disclose how long your home has been insured for (assuming the home isn’t brand new), and who your current insurance company is, to ensure there are no gaps in your coverage.
What factors determine your quote?
Home insurance quotes are personalized, meaning every homeowner pays a slightly different rate based on the factors listed above, plus others. In addition, every insurance provider evaluates these factors differently. For example, some companies put more weight on the age of your home, and others care more about your claims history when calculating your rate. Below are some of the factors that are more commonly known to affect the cost of your home insurance.
- Location: The location of your home — including the state, zip code and even neighborhood — has a significant impact on your home insurance premium.
- Size: Bigger homes are more expensive to insure than smaller homes, especially if your home has attached structures, like a garage or porch.
- Age: It’s more expensive to insure older homes because the systems and structure are weathered and are more susceptible to damage.
- Building materials: Certain building materials are stronger than others, and if your home is made with durable materials, your premium may be less expensive.
- Renovations and updates: Making upgrades or renovations to your home — like installing a metal roof or weather-proofing windows — could lower your premium because a claim may be less likely.
- Security systems: Homes that have a security system may be less susceptible to break-ins. If your home has a security system, you may get a lower premium, and may even be eligible for additional discounts.
- Marital status: Married homeowners usually get a slightly lower home insurance premium than single homeowners.
- Pets: Having pets can drive up the cost of your home insurance, depending on the number of pets and types. Some insurance companies even have restricted breeds that they won’t cover.
- Claim history: Your claim history has a huge impact on your insurance premium. The more claims you’ve filed, the more you’ll pay for insurance.
- Credit score: Your credit score can be another big factor when it comes to your insurance rate, in many states. Typically, the lower your credit score, the higher your premium.
- Type of coverage: Most insurance policies offer actual cash value (ACV) or replacement cost value (RCV) coverage. ACV coverage has a lower payout, and is cheaper than RCV coverage. ACV will factor depreciation into the value of your belongings, whereas RCV provides coverage to fully replace your items at their current market cost.
- Type of policy: There are several types of home insurance policies, with HO-3 being the most common. You can choose an HO-5 policy for broader coverage for your personal property, but it comes at a higher rate.
- Personal belongings value: The value of your personal belongings has a significant impact on your premium. If the total value exceeds policy limits, you may need to pay extra for increased personal property coverage.
- Additional structures: If your home has a detached garage, pool or shed, your premium will be affected to accommodate the other structures.
- Endorsements: Choosing endorsements, also called add-on coverages, will increase your rate. Common home insurance add-ons include water backup coverage, scheduled personal property and replacement cost coverage.
- Coverage limits: Coverage limits are a reflection of the value of your home and belongings. The higher your coverage limits are, the more you’ll pay for home insurance, and the more protection you will have.
How to get a homeowners insurance quote
There are a few different ways you can get a homeowners insurance quote, including online or directly through the provider. Here are the three most common options:
The most popular way to get a home insurance quote is to use an online rate tool. Most insurance companies have an online quote system that allows you to plug in basic information regarding you and your home to get an instant quote for homeowners insurance. Online quotes aren’t always 100% accurate, but you can get a general idea of what to expect to pay.
Captive insurance agent
A captive insurance agent is someone who sells insurance policies from one specific provider, like Allstate or State Farm. The main benefit of working with a captive agent is that they are experts in the company’s products and policy offerings. Based on what you need, they can quote you for a customized policy and figure out what discounts you might qualify for.
Independent insurance agent
An independent insurance agent is licensed to sell insurance policies from multiple providers. When you work with an independent agent, you benefit from their knowledge of insurance among multiple companies. There are more options to choose from, and it’s easy to compare policies to find the best one.
The table below summarizes the advantages and drawbacks of each of these quote options for your comparison.
|Online||Fast and convenient option for getting a quote 24/7||Not likely to be completely accurate|
|Captive insurance agents||Expert on that provider’s policies, discounts, and endorsements||Limited to only quoting and selling policies of one insurance company|
|Independent agents||Sells policies from multiple providers making it easier to get multiple quotes for a variety of companies||May be more time consuming as some companies may not have online or digital tools for quoting|
When should you get a home insurance quote?
There are several scenarios when it can be helpful or necessary to obtain a home insurance quote. Buying a new home is the most obvious one, but it also makes sense to shop around for quotes if you want a lower rate, or when you switch car insurance providers.
- When you buy a new home: As soon as you sign the contract for a new home, start shopping for insurance and compare quotes. You’ll need to show proof of insurance before you can close on the new home so starting this process early is imperative.
- When you want a cheaper rate: If you’re unhappy with your current insurance rate, or your policy term is ending soon, shopping for new quotes can help you see if you can get a lower rate from another company.
- When you switch auto insurance providers: You can often save a lot of money by bundling your home and auto insurance policies. If you recently switched car insurance companies, consider getting a home insurance quote from the same company to determine your potential savings.
- To get a home insurance quote, you’ll need to provide essential information about you, your home and the coverage you want.
- You can get a quote online, or work with a captive or independent agent to get a more accurate rate estimate.
- Start shopping for quotes when you buy a new home, want a lower rate or have the opportunity to bundle with other insurance policies such as auto or life.
The process of getting a home insurance quote is fairly straightforward, but it’s handy to have essential information on-hand, especially if you want an accurate quote. Personal factors, your home’s characteristics, and policy coverage limits will all impact your rate. You may also want to understand what type of risks your home and area faces so you know which add-on coverages you may like to include before getting an insurance quote.