No matter where you live in Oklahoma—Tulsa, Lawton, Anadarko or Boise City—you'll have something in common with your fellow Sooners: the need to save money. We're not talking about cutting back on the things you love like OSU and OU football games, trips to the Oklahoma State Fair, or vacations to Grand Lake. We're talking about the things you dread like shopping for homeowner's insurance. Oklahoma house insurance rates are some of the highest rates in the country so why not try to find the best policies at the best prices. All you need is a little help. So let's get started.
Oklahoma House Insurance 101
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' 2007 report, the average Oklahoma house insurance premium was $1,054 or fifth highest in the nation. This figure was based on the most popular policy out there—the HO-3. It looks something like this:
- Coverage A- Dwelling
This will pay to rebuild/repair your home in the event of a peril such as fire, tornado, etc. If you have a mortgage, you will probably have to cover at least 80% of the home's value.
- Coverage B- Other Structures
This covers unattached property like sheds and garages and is typically 10% of your home's coverage amount.
- Coverage C- Personal Property (PP)
This repairs or replaces your personal belongings and coverage is usually 50% of your home's amount of coverage.
- Coverage D- Additional Living Expenses
This pays for alternate living arrangements should your home become unlivable because of a peril covered in Coverage A. It's usually about 20% of the home's coverage amount.
- Coverage E- Comprehensive Personal Liability
This protects you in the event someone is injured on your property. It typically covers law suits and damages and usually starts at $100,000 per accident.
- Coverage F- Medical Expense
Pays for medical expenses per person, per accident when someone is injured on your premises.
How Much Coverage Do I Need?
Good question. First, you'll need to know the replacement value of your home. This isn't the market value and does not include your land and foundation. It's the cost to rebuild your home using today's construction dollars. It's usually expressed as a cost per square foot.
It's a good idea to make a list of your personal property and add up the approximate value of each item. But there's a catch. Many insurers offer "actual cash value" (ACV) and "replacement cost" options. ACV takes depreciation (age, wear, tear) into consideration when calculating for a loss. For example, your home is struck by lightning and destroys your Sony laptop that you paid $1,500 for three years ago. Its depreciated ACV value may now be around $600. Replacement cost—usually purchased at a slightly higher premium of 2% to 15% of base premium—replaces, repairs, or rebuilds (in the case of houses) using the same or similar materials without considering depreciation.
If you have children and their friends play at your home, you are liable if they're injured on your property. Consider a higher liability amount particularly if you have a pool, trampoline or irritable dog.
Other Important Considerations for Oklahomans
- Flood insurance is always a separate policy. Ask an agent about this coverage.
- Sewage and water back up is usually a separate "rider" on a policy. Prices range from $10 to $100 for $5,000 in coverage.
- If you have valuables like firearms, jewelry, special collectibles, etc. consider adding a "rider" to cover these items as they're usually covered in limited amounts in a standard policy.
- For about $10 for $500 in coverage, consider Refrigerated Property Coverage which covers meats and other frozen goods.
Sample Oklahoma House Insurance Rates
Now let's look at some sample rates as published by the Oklahoma Department of Insurance. This will give you a good idea of the broad range of pricing out there.
Scenario A- Frame home; $50,000 in dwelling coverage; $25,000 PP; $100,000 Liability; $1,000 Medical Payments; $500 deductible.
Oklahoma City rates ranged from $551 to $1,267.
Tulsa rates ranged from $460 to $1,331.
Lawton rates ranged from $515 to $1,394.
Scenario B- Brick home; $100,000 in Dwelling coverage; $50,000 PP; $100,000 Liability; $1,000 Medical Payments; $500 deductible.
Oklahoma City rates ranged from $672 to $2,366.
Tulsa rates ranged from $553 to $1,875.
Lawton rates ranged from $625 to $1,967.
Saving Sooner Than Later on Oklahoma House Insurance Rates
Here's how to save right now: Ask an agent about all available discounts. Here are a few you may qualify for:
- Protective devices like dead-bolt locks, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, automatic sprinklers, burglar/fire alarms, and new plumbing/wiring.
- Multi-line (house, auto, life)
- Senior (55+)
- Paying in advance vs. making monthly or bi-monthly payments.
- Payroll deducted payments.
- New house discounts; the newer the house the lower the risk.
- Claims free discount
- Impact resistant roof
- Credit Score
And finally the biggest way to save on your Oklahoma house insurance rates is to comparison shop with LocalInsurance—just look at the above examples to see the vast differences in rates. LocalInsurance searches agents from your area and gives you the opportunity to select the rate and policy that best fits your needs. It's free, easy and can be done in less than 30 minutes.
If you are interested in learning more about Oklahoma home insurance, there are a number of resources that are offered by the state. Oklahoma has a Department of Insurance which can help ensure that you have the appropriate coverage for your home and provide you with useful information when selecting a homeowners insurance policy.