How to Obtain Homeowners Insurance

A home is a big investment both for you as the buyer and for the bank that has your mortgage. Most mortgage providers will not loan you money unless you insure your purchase. Even if you do not have a mortgage on the property, homeowner’s insurance is a good idea. 
Every homeowner’s insurance policy is different. Typically, a homeowner’s policy insures the residence, a certain amount of personal property and specific itemized pieces of property such as particular pieces of jewelry or collectibles. Many insurance companies offer homeowner’s insurance and, as with every type of insurance, it is up to the policy holder to determine which insurance company offers the best coverage for the best price.
You can obtain homeowner’s insurance by contacting an insurance company directly or working with an independent insurance agent. Many companies give discounts if you carry more than one policy with them (such as car insurance and homeowner’s insurance.) Discounts might also be available for certain safety measures that are taken on the property such as alarm systems and fire protection systems.
An insurance company can deny you coverage if they determine that the risk of insuring you is too high. Some common reasons for denial of homeowner’s insurance coverage include:
  • Location of the House: if a house is located in an area that is prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes or tornados then insurance may be difficult to obtain. Similarly, if the house is located in a high crime area then insurance may be difficult to obtain.
  • Condition of the House: if the home inspection reveals any significant problems with plumbing, electricity or structural or safety concerns then insurance can be hard to purchase.
  • Title and Ownership Issues: if there is any question as to who owns the property or, if you are purchasing a condominium and there is any ambiguity about the homeowner’s responsibilities and the condo association’s responsibilities then insurance can be difficult to obtain.
 It is important to remember that while an insurance company can deny coverage based on an objective determination that insuring the property is too risky, it cannot deny coverage for discriminatory reasons. For example, an insurance company can refuse to provide coverage based on the crime rate of a certain neighborhood but it cannot deny coverage because a black family is seeking coverage for a house in the neighborhood when the company provides coverage for the white family next door.
If you have been denied insurance coverage then you have several options available to you. You can:
  • Appeal the Decision of the Insurance Company: by clearly and objectively making an argument to the insurance company regarding why your home should be insured and why it is not a significant financial risk for the company to insure you.
  • Find Another Insurance Company: it does not matter which company you purchase your insurance through so long as the company is reputable and ethical.
  • Seek the Help of an Insurance Agent or your Mortgage Holder: both have an incentive to work on your behalf and have experience obtaining homeowner’s insurance for customers. They may be able to use that experience and knowledge of the industry to help you insure your home.
Homeowner’s insurance is an important part of being a homeowner. It can be hard to recover financially if your home is damaged. Therefore, it is important to find the coverage that is right for you before tragedy strikes.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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