Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florida. ...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Mar 22, 2022

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One of the best ways of saving on house insurance is to shop carefully for the lowest premium. Shopping online for house insurance is one way to do this shopping. Since you will not have the benefit of an insurance agent, you will need to shop carefully and understand the process.

If you enter ‘home insurance’ in a search engine on your computer, the names of many insurance companies will appear. This will give you a selection of insurance companies from which to choose.

Recognize that the insurance companies that appear are ones that have spent the most money on advertising for their companies. Be sure to also use the FREE quote comparison tool above to start your search today!

Choosing Insurance Companies

house insurance quotes online

An insurance company’s performance is determined by both their financial ratings and complaint ratios.

Financial ratings indicate the strength of insurance company’s ability to meet demands upon their resources for paying claims.

Complaint ratios indicate the way each particular company deals with its claims and complaints with regard to grievances. You need to check both of these by looking at the following:

Choose three of the insurance companies who have the best statistics, then go to your state’s insurance website to see if they are licensed to sell insurance within your state.

Each state licenses insurance companies and agents, making sure that they are well-educated and knowledgeable enough to follow the state’s laws with regard to insurance. States also oversee the rates that the insurance companies charge within the state.

Determine What Insurance You Need

Before you can ask for quotations, you will need to know what kind of insurance you need so you can request a quotation for the premium.

Home insurance comes as a package, which means that coverage for property damage as well as liability coverage is purchased together, so you need to know the ramifications of coverage.

Property Coverage

Building coverage is the most important part of your home policy because it provides coverage for your basic investment – your house.

The limits you set for your home should be at least 80% of the replacement cost for the building.

Remember that you don’t have to insure the lot and amenities upon which the building stands. A good place to go for estimating replacement cost is that will help you determine this for free.

Under the provisions of a home policy, the remaining property coverage usually follows the following pattern:

  • Other structures such as fences, separate garages, and gazebos – 10% of the building coverage
  • Contents of the dwelling – 50% of the building coverage
  • Loss of use – if your home should become uninhabitable, this provides extra expense amounts to provide a place to live

A deductible usually applies to the property coverage. Deductibles begin at $100 and go up from there. You receive a credit for deductibles above a certain amount with insurance companies.

Higher deductibles can both reduce your premiums and ensure that the home insurance policy acts as coverage against catastrophes rather than as a maintenance policy.

The usual limit for jewelry and antiques is $1,000 per unit. If you have a substantial amount, be certain to schedule these articles. You need to recognize, in addition, that property used in a business – for example, your laptop, has a limited amount of coverage.

Liability Coverage

home insurance versus home warranty

You choose the amount of liability coverage, usually $100,000 to $300,000 to cover your financial loss if you are sued and found legally responsible for injury or damage to someone else.

Medical payments coverage, usually $1,000 to $5,000 for people hurt on your property or by your pet.

Contrary to popular opinion, daycare businesses are not covered under your home liability policy.

Choose the Perils You Want Covered

If your house is relatively new, less than 20 years old, with up-to-date plumbing,

heating, air-conditioning, and alarms, you will want to purchase a Special Form policy with a number of perils covered:

  • Fire, smoke, explosion, and the results of this
  • Windstorms, hail, snow, theft
  • Sudden freezing or eruption of systems

Be aware that a home policy does not provide coverage against flood insurance or earthquake insurance.

To find flood insurance, go to FloodSmart to learn about this insurance and where to purchase it. Earthquake insurance is available from a local agent.

Information Needed For Insurance Quotes

Collect the information you will need to provide to obtain a house insurance quote. You will need to provide:

  • Home address for your house
  • Construction of the building – frame, brick, or concrete
  • Date of construction – and date of upgrade, if any, for heating, electrical, plumbing, and air conditioning systems
  • Replacement value of the house.
  • Your chosen deductible
  • Desired peril coverage
  • Your occupation and that of others in your household

Each insurance company will have you complete an application form online including the necessary information.

Saving on Home Insurance

Home insurance is usually less expensive in rural areas, depending upon water sources and the quality of fire departments. The biggest source of loss in home insurance is fire.

Urban areas usually have more trouble with vandalism and theft as causes of loss. Your premiums reflect these differences.

Other ways of reducing premiums are:

  • Increasing deductibles
  • Combine home insurance and auto insurance with the same company
  • Ask your insurance company about discounts
  • Keep a clean credit record
  • Make sure your insurance is up to date – annually
  • Avoid risks that can cause claims – in-ground pools, trampolines, or aggressive dogs can increase your premiums
  • Shop around for the best premiums

Purchasing Insurance From an Online Quote

best homeowners insurance companiesBefore committing yourself to an insurance policy, make sure you have followed these steps:

  • Make sure the company is licensed in your state
  • Examine the financial status and complaint ratios for the companies you consider
  • Determine the appropriate amount of coverage for your property
  • Carefully consider the correct deductible
  • Assess the amount of personal liability and medical insurance coverage you need to adequately protect yourself

In most states, a premium must exchange hands between you and your insurance company to put coverage in force, so you will be expected to pay the insurance company. A down payment plus scheduled payments is available from most companies.

Be sure to ask when coverage will start and when your policy will arrive. Most online companies will offer to e-mail you the policy provisions and information once you have paid. In that event, print the pages out and keep them in a safe place.

Back up the virtual copy on your hard drive to ensure you have the information.

Don’t assume anything about an insurance contract. Read it carefully and call if you do not understand any of the terms.

Be sure to use the FREE tool below to start comparing quotes instantly.