The devastation left by Hurricane Harvey and the storms brewing in the Atlantic may be good reminders to revisit your homeowners or renters insurance policy now. California consumers don’t have to worry about hurricane damage but do need home and personal property protection from a slew of other catastrophes including fire, theft and earthquakes.
It’s also a good idea to notify your insurance company whenever changes are made to your home, said James Schweer of James Schweer Insurance and Financial Services in Fresno. “If you have done things to your home to upgrade it, you want to make sure and tell your insurance agent that so you have the proper coverage,” he said.
If you have done things to your home to upgrade it, you want to make sure and tell your insurance agent that so you have the proper coverage.
James Schweer, Fresno insurance agent
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The tool lets you compare annual premiums through local and national companies for homes, condominiums, rentals, mobile homes and earthquake insurance. It also provides some information on whether those companies offer optional coverage, discounts and credits, and a link to read customer reviews.
For example, a search for a $200,000 homeowner’s insurance plan with $1,000 deductible for a 7- to 15-year-old home in the Fresno and Clovis area pulls up a range of annual premiums from about $379 with Allstate to $1,761 with Bankers Standard. Choose the same plan with a $500 deductible and you’re looking at paying around $412 to $1,973. Increase the amount of coverage to $350,000 and the premium ranges from $640 to $1,972.
Premiums on a $25,000 renters insurance policy in Fresno and Clovis can start at around $61 a month with Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange, according to the insurance tool. But local Farmer’s Insurance agent Kevin Lisitsin said renters can pay as little as $15 a month. The cost of insurance depends on your need, Lisitsin said.
Here’s a list of things to know when shopping for insurance:
▪ A basic homeowners insurance policy covers your house, other structures like a shed or pool (but not the equipment), personal belongings and liability for injuries or property damage.
▪ Flood and earthquake coverage is not included in a basic plan. Wind damage from storms such as a hurricane, however, is normally covered.
▪ Know the difference between dwelling value and property value. A dwelling value, what the insurance covers, is the cost to replace your home, Schweer said. Property value is the price that you can sell your home for, he said.
▪ Identify your personal property, especially the expensive stuff. Jewelry, for example, is covered but only up to about $1,000 in many cases. If you’ve got a huge diamond ring or artwork worth $10,000 or more, it needs to be appraised and then added to the policy for a little extra cost.
▪ Renters are not covered by a homeowner or property owner’s insurance. Renters insurance covers theft, fire and vandalism. It will also pay for emergency lodging like a hotel if your apartment or rental home is engulfed in fire and you have nowhere to stay.