When shopping around for homeowners insurance and comparing quotes from multiple companies, make sure the coverage estimates in the provided quotes reflect your actual coverage needs.
To ensure you’re getting an accurate cost comparison, you’ll want to know the rebuild cost of your home at today’s construction and labor prices, the value of your personal belongings (excluding vehicles), and the value of your combined assets in the event you’re held liable for an accident and sued.
Estimate the replacement cost of your home
A replacement cost estimate will inform your policy’s dwelling coverage, which is the portion of your policy that protects your house, plumbing and electrical, and built-in systems like your HVAC in the event of a covered loss. Your dwelling coverage limit should be equal to your home’s rebuild cost, not its fair market value or sales price.
There are a few different ways to obtain a replacement cost estimate of your home: by using an online replacement cost calculator, by hiring an appraiser that specializes in replacement cost appraisals, or by calculating your home’s rebuild cost yourself. However the simplest method is to just rely on the estimate your home insurer will generate when you apply. However if you want to come up with an estimate on your own, you can:
Use a home insurance calculator
For a quick and accurate estimate, take advantage of the Policygenius homeowners insurance calculator above. You’ll simply answer a few questions about your home, like its square footage, the type of heating system you have, whether you have a basement, and more. We’ll then send you an estimate detailing your coverage amounts as well as rates with multiple insurance companies.
Estimate your home insurance coverage limits yourself
Here’s a shorthand formula for calculating your home’s replacement cost if you’re looking to obtain a rough estimate:
Home square footage x price-per-square-foot to build in your area ≈ replacement cost
You can find the average price-per-square-foot in your area by contacting a local builder or contractor. They’ll inquire about the construction type of your home and give you a price-per-square-foot estimate based on that. You then multiply the estimated amount by your home’s square footage. That will give you a general idea of how much dwelling coverage you should have in your policy.
Although, we must stress that the above formula is very much a ballpark estimate. There are several other factors that influence your home’s rebuild estimate, including the style of your cabinetry and countertops, flooring, foundation and roof type, and more.
Use the coverage limits from a prior policy
If you’ve previously insured your home with a different company, you could also transfer the information in that policy to your current insurer, provided all the information in the old policy is up-to-date and correct. (Your dwelling coverage amount should be updated every year to reflect any increases/decreases in the cost of construction material). If you go that route, the insurance agent will likely ask for your old policy’s declarations page to verify the information is correct.
Consider hiring an appraiser
If you’re into playing it safe, you could also hire an appraiser that specializes in replacement cost appraisals to get an up-to-date rebuild cost valuation. An appraisal that factors your home’s curb appeal into its RC valuation isn’t a proper replacement cost appraisal. What you’re looking for is an estimate of how much it’d cost just to rebuild the home based on current construction materials and labor.
Talk to your insurance agent or a local builder for local appraiser recommendations. The appraiser will conduct a component-by-component analysis of the home from the ground up.
Estimate the value of your personal property
You’ll want to make sure you have enough personal property coverage to cover all of your personal belongings, such as clothes, furniture, electronics and jewelry. Although your personal property coverage limit is typically set at 50% of your dwelling coverage limit by default, most insurers will give you the option to increase your limit, upgrade your loss settlement terms to replacement cost instead of actual cash value, or modify your payout limits for expensive valuables with typically lower sublimits, such as jewelry, art, and fine furs.
To ensure your personal belongings are fully covered, consider the following:
Take a home inventory
The best way to gauge your personal property coverage needs is to take a proper inventory of everything you own. Inventories make it easy to categorize and value your personal belongings by room and property type. The type of items you’ll want to include in your inventory include, but aren’t limited to:
- Expensive valuables
- Camp and sports equipment
- Consider raising coverage limits on certain valuables
Most insurance companies have reimbursement limits, or sublimits on rare and expensive types of personal property. A sublimit is the most an insurer will pay out in the event of a covered loss. Jewelry, art, fine furs, expensive electronics, and rare and vintage instruments typically have sublimits in the range of $1,000 to $2,500. To increase reimbursement limits on your most expensive valuables, consider adding a scheduled personal property coverage add-on to your policy.
Estimate the value of your assets
Personal liability coverage is the part of your policy that covers your assets in the event you’re held legally responsible for injuring someone or damaging their property. Common liability insurance claims involve “slip and falls” inside or outside the home, dog bites, and trampoline accidents. Between legal fees and the court settlement, lawsuits are expensive and can put all of your assets as risk.
Most insurers offer personal liability limits between $100,000 and $500,000 in $100,000 increments. So how much liability coverage should you get? It depends largely on two factors:
Keep in mind that personal liability coverage in homeowners insurance is general liability; it doesn’t just cover your liability if someone is injured on your property, it also protects you if you accidentally injure someone or damage their property away from your home.
If you injure somebody and they sue, they can go after all of your assets in a lawsuit, not simply assets related to the insured property. If you own two homes with a combined value of $400,000, that’s $400,000 in assets alone that you should protect with liability coverage.
You should also consider the liability risk attached to your home. If you have a pool, a trampoline, a treehouse, or any other “attractive nuisances”, that should all be taken into account when deciding on a liability coverage amount.
Homeowners Insurance Quotes in Arizona
From offering liability protection for you and your family to helping you get reimbursed for personal property damage, homeowners insurance provides many types of coverage. Learn more about Homeowners Insurance Coverage or get a free homeowners insurance quote from Klimes Insurance today. Call us at (480) 596-9456 for more information.
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