Washington is a mystical state from the verdant Palouse hills to the mighty volcanic Cascades to the Gothic-feeling rain forests on the coast. Buying Washington house insurance can also seem mystical to many because it's a part of life that is rarely discussed. Only when making a claim or looking to buy insurance do folks give it any thought. Since you're here, you're obviously in the latter category. So let's clear the mist by revealing its components and by showing you how to save money on your Washington home insurance rates.
Washington House Insurance Q & A
What is homeowner's insurance?
A typical policy, called an HO-3, consists of the following:
- Damage to your dwelling from named perils like fire, lightning, etc.
- Damage to your personal property. Coverage is typically 50% of the dwelling amount. And it costs about 70% of the dwelling rate.
- Liability protects you against civil suits when others are injured on your property.
- Medical Payments pay for medical expenses when others are injured on your property.
Additional Living Expenses pay for you to live elsewhere when your home is unlivable. This is usually 20% of your dwelling coverage.
Does it cover frozen pipes?
Yes, as long as you've used "reasonable care" to maintain heat in your home and you've shut off water supplies.
Does this include coverage for flooding?
No. This is a separate policy that covers physical damage from flood-related damage as well as damage from erosion, mudslides and tidal surges.
Does my include coverage for earthquakes?
No. That is a separate policy that some, not all, insurance companies offer. It will usually match the dwelling coverage and have a separate deductible of 10% to 20% of the coverage.
Does my policy include volcano coverage?
Yes. Policies cover damages associated with volcanic eruptions like lava flow damage, ash, dust and the removal of ash and dust.
How do insurers determine my rate?
Insurance companies look at your home and whether it's brick/masonry or wood frame. Brick is less to insure because it's less risky. Where you're home is located. For example, are you on a flood plain? Your claims history–how many claims have you filed in the past could determine how likely you'll file in the future. More claims, more risk=higher premiums. Your credit is used to help insurers determine your financial responsibility. And finally, how much coverage you buy and at what deductible. The higher the deductible, the lower the rate your Washington home insurance rates will be.
Lowering My Washington House Insurance Rates
O.K. Washingtonians, now that we've pulled back the curtain a little to show you what home insurance looks like, let's pull it all the way back. Let's look at ways to save money. Insurers offer a variety of discounts–some offered, some not. Here are some you may want to ask an agent about:
- Home protective devices like dead-bolt locks, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, automatic sprinklers, burglar/fire alarms, and new plumbing/wiring.
- New home discounts. The newer the home the lower the risk.
- Multi-line (home, auto, life) - do they have get more of your business?
- Senior (55+)
- Paying in advance vs. making monthly or bi-monthly payments.
- Payroll deduct payments
And finally, the single best way to save on your Washington home insurance rates is to comparison shop. Let LocalInsurance be your comparison shopper. They'll search the web looking for the best values from agents in your area. It's free, easy and takes just minutes.
If you are interested in learning more about Washington home insurance, there are a number of resources that are offered by the state. Washington 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.