If you’re looking for a home in the Bradenton/Sarasota area, you’re home shopping in a real estate market that’s as hot as one of our August days! In fact, our area is ranked the No. 17 housing market in the nation! As thrilling as buying a home can be, it is a big investment and you have many decisions to make and options to consider. Many people don’t think about the additional expenses which come with being a Florida homeowner. One of those expenses—homeowners insurance—can be a significant cost in our area. If you want to keep your homeowners insurance rates as low as possible, here are a few factors that will affect your premiums:
· Credit rating
You’re probably already dialed in to how important your credit rating is since you’re trying to qualify for a home loan. But did you know that good credit can often net you lower homeowners insurance premiums? If your credit is less than stellar, now is the time to try to improve it.
· Location, location, location
Where your home is located is important for many reasons. You may be considering school districts, your commute to work, and other factors. Homeowners insurance companies are interested in things like how close you are to the coast, and if you’re near a fire department or even a fire hydrant.
In Florida, you also need to be aware of your potential home’s flood zone. Standard homeowners insurance policies don’t include flood coverage, and many areas in our communities are prone to flooding, even if they aren’t in what’s considered a high risk zone.
· Age, size, and condition of home
Common sense tells us that it will cost more to insure a larger or more luxurious home, or a home near the water. Additional factors that matter include things like the home’s roof and its systems, like plumbing and electrical. Many homeowners insurance companies have strict underwriting guidelines for roofs—if your prospective home has an older roof, you may pay more or even have trouble getting coverage at all. And if you’re looking at an older home, note whether the home’s systems have been updated. A home that is well constructed, under up-to-date building standards, will be more likely to withstand natural disasters—and cost less to insure. Be sure to have a home inspection done on any home you’re considering buying.
· Special features
As wonderful as it is to have a pool or hot tub, these special features can drive up the cost of your homeowners insurance. You will want to be sure to carry enough liability coverage in case someone is injured and sues you. You may even need an umbrella policy in addition to your homeowners insurance in order to protect your financial assets from possible lawsuits.
· The home’s loss history report
Prior claims filed on the home by the previous owner are also a big factor in obtaining homeowners insurance coverage. Lenders are starting to require loss history reports from the seller to make sure the home will qualify for new coverage. Let your real estate agent know you’ll need this information.
Shopping for homeowners insurance?
Don’t wait until the last minute to look for homeowners insurance coverage for your new property. In today’s tumultuous insurance market, you want to choose an insurance agency you can trust—like Lakewood Financial. We’ve been serving the needs of our neighbors in Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and surrounding communities for more than 25 years. Give one of our agents a call at 941-747-4600, or click here for a homeowners insurance quote. Our agency is local and independent, and we represent multiple financially sound homeowners insurance companies. Let us find a homeowners insurance policy that is just right for you!