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Homeowner’s Insurance: How to Find What You Need

Shopping for homeowner's insurance can be tricky. You want plenty of coverage in case of loss, but you need affordable quotes with low-cost premiums.

Is it possible to get both? Yes! But first, you need to get organized.

Taking Home Inventory

The first step in finding the right home insurance is taking home inventory. Once you know exactly what your home contains, setting coverage levels—and proving what's missing or damaged later—is as easy as 1-2-3.

If you've never taken home inventory, follow these steps to help document everything you need to insure.

  1. Make a list of everything you own, from clothing and furniture to electronics and art.
  2. Record model and serial numbers, descriptions and dates of purchase (if you have record of them).
  3. Put all the information on a computer disk and place the disk in a file folder or other safe place.
  4. Add supporting documentation, such as receipts, repair bills and/or pictures to your file.
  5. Give the file to insurance agents so they can provide you accurate quotes. Once you purchase your policy, place the file in a safe place outside your home (such as a safe deposit box) for easy access if and when you need it.

For help completing this important process, we recommend the Insurance Information Institute's (III) free home inventory software. Just download it to your computer, follow the instructions, and you'll have the information you need for accurate quotes in no time.

Gathering Information

Next, gather information specific to your home. Your quote providers will need to know:

  • Your address
  • The county where your home is located
  • The year your home was built
  • The type of construction used (frame, brick, etc.)
  • Upgrades you've made and how much they cost (electric, plumbing, heating, roof, etc.)
  • Your home's proximity to fire hydrants and the fire department
  • The condition of your roof
  • Security devices contained in your home
  • Your current mortgage information (purchase price, current lender and insurer, etc.)

Armed with this information and your completed home inventory, you're well on your way to affordable home insurance!

Knowing What to Ask

The third and final step in getting the right coverage is asking the right questions. As you talk to home insurance agents about your options, glean as much information as possible to help you make the right decision.

Here are a few to get you started. As you think of others, add them to the list.

  1. What type of policy do you recommend? Why?
  2. What does it cover and what does it exclude?
  3. Is coverage available for my home-based business (if you have one)? If so, to what extent?
  4. Do I need a rider to cover my antiques, jewelry or other valuable items (if you own some)?
  5. Should I insure my home for its actual cash value or replacement cost? Why? What's the difference between the two?
  6. What deductible level do you recommend and why?
  7. What are my payment options (i.e. monthly, quarterly, yearly; online, by phone or by mail)?
  8. What discounts do I qualify for?
  9. How are claims handled?
Taking Action

Now that you know the basic steps to affordable homeowner's insurance, it's time to take action.

So take that home inventory, gather the appropriate information, and ask plenty of questions. Then put your home insurance needs in the hands of GIQ. We won't disappoint you!


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Carriers Represented by Agents in our Network:
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