Best Cheap Home Insurance in Washington – Forbes Advisor


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If you are a homeowner, finding a good price on home insurance is a top priority. Comparison shopping is a great way to find the coverage you need at a reasonable cost. We’ve looked at average rates from major homeowners insurance companies in Washington to help you find an affordable policy.

Cheap Washington Home Insurance Cost Comparison

Related: The Best Home Insurance Companies

Home Insurance Cost Factors

Your ability to find cheap homeowners insurance in Washington will depend on several cost factors, such as:

  • The age of your house
  • The cost of rebuilding your home
  • The materials your home is made of
  • Claims history in your area
  • Your personal claims history
  • The fire rating of your region
  • The amount of coverage and policy limits
  • Your deductible amount
  • Your credit

Related: 10 ways to get cheap home insurance

What does home insurance cover?

A standard home insurance policy is also known as HO-3. It covers your home for any problem that is not excluded in the policy. Examples of common exclusions include war, power outages, vermin and insect infestations, nuclear hazards, power outages, earthquakes, floods, sinkholes and wear and tear.

Your property (personal property) is covered for specific “perils” in a standard HO-3 policy. Vandalism, theft, explosion, volcanic eruption and fire are just a few of the issues covered by home insurance.

A standard home insurance policy can be divided into these main types of coverage:

  • Lodging: This pays to repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged due to a problem covered by your policy. It also covers attached structures, such as a porch, deck, or garage.
    Other Structures: This pays to repair or replace structures that are not attached to your home, such as a barn, fence, or shed.
  • Personal property: If your belongings are damaged or stolen, this type of home insurance pays to repair or replace them after something happens like theft or fire. Your personal effects include items such as your furniture, kitchen appliances, rugs, jewelry, clothing, and other types of items.
  • Responsibility: This pays for injuries and property damage you accidentally cause to others. For example, if someone trips on a broken staircase, your liability insurance may pay for a settlement or court judgment against you. It will also cover the costs of your legal defense.
  • Medical payments to others: This covers small medical claims made by people outside your household, regardless of who was responsible for the accident. For example, if your friend hits his head when entering a sliding glass door, medical expenses may cover the cost of a trip to emergency care. This coverage is usually sold in small amounts, like $1,000.
  • Additional living expenses: If you cannot live in your home due to a problem covered by your policy (such as fire), additional living expenses coverage covers expenses such as pet boarding, laundry services, hotel bills and restaurant meals.

Related: How Much Home Insurance Do You Need?

What is not covered by home insurance?

Common exclusions found in a standard home insurance policy include issues such as earthquakes, floods, sinkholes, war, power outages, wear and tear, vermin and insect infestations and intentional losses.

Be sure to take the time to read your policy carefully to understand what is excluded from coverage.

The Most Common Disasters in Washington

Homeowners in Washington have to deal with a number of declared disasters, including severe storms and flooding. But fires are by far the most common disasters reported in the state.

On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted and blanketed the area in ash and rock. The eruption killed 57 people and destroyed 200 homes in the approximately 230 square miles of land around the volcano. The eruption also killed over 7,000 big game animals, destroyed 158 miles of highway and 15 miles of railroad tracks. The region has been declared a major disaster area.

Disasters per month in Washington

August and July have historically been the busiest months for declared disasters in Washington.

Disasters in Washington by year

Homeowners in Washington deal with about six declared disasters each year, on average. The second most destructive wildfire season by area was quite recent, in 2020. (The most destructive by area was 2015). Over 200 homes and hundreds of structures were destroyed.

Washington Flood Insurance

A standard home insurance policy will not cover flood damage. With the number of floods Washington faces each year, you may want to consider flood insurance if your property is at risk.

Severe storms from December 10 to 25, 2018 caused flooding, landslides and mudslides. More than 300,000 homes and businesses suffered power outages. A tornado also occurred during this period and caused major damage to 12 homes and minor damage to 40 homes. A disaster declaration was later issued on March 4, 2019.

Government financial assistance after a flood may be limited (or unavailable). It’s a good idea to have your own flood insurance to rely on. Most people who buy flood insurance buy it through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federal program. You can also buy flood insurance on the private market.

FEMA’s Individual and Household Program (IHP) can provide monetary and direct assistance after a major emergency or disaster, if you qualify. This program helps people find housing after a problem directly caused by a disaster that is not covered by insurance or other sources.

Washington earthquake insurance

Washington’s coastal region is most at risk from earthquakes, according to the US Geological Survey’s 2018 National Long-Term Earthquake Hazard Map. The majority of the state is at moderate to high earthquake risk.

According to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, earthquakes happen nearly every day, but most are too small to feel. The state is located in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which produces some of the largest and most devastating earthquakes in the world. Experts say a destructive earthquake is inevitable, although it is impossible to predict when it will occur.

If you want coverage for damage caused by an earthquake, you will need to purchase a separate earthquake insurance policy. A standard HO-3 policy does not cover earthquakes.

Earthquake insurance generally covers:

  • Lodging
  • Other Structures
  • Personal property
  • Additional living expenses

Earthquake insurance may have a separate deductible from your home insurance. The deductible is usually 10% to 25% of your home’s policy limit.

Tips for getting home insurance

Whether you’re about to buy your first home or you’re a long-time homeowner looking for a new insurance company, you want to find a reasonably priced policy without sacrificing coverage. Here are some tips to help you along your home insurance buying journey:

  • Don’t skimp on liability insurance. Generally, you want to have enough liability insurance to protect your net worth, at least $300,000.
  • Estimate your reconstruction costs. Ask your insurance company or a trusted contractor how much it would cost to rebuild your home based on labor and material costs in your area. Your housing coverage amount should equal this estimate.
  • Consider the benefits of replacement cost instead of cash value. Consider covering the new cost of your home and personal belongings. You will get the amount you need to replace your damaged items with new items.
  • Plan high value items. A standard home insurance policy usually limits certain things, such as jewelry theft. If you own valuables, consider planning your personal possessions so that your possessions are insured for what they are worth.
  • Fill in coverage gaps. You can add optional coverage types to supplement a standard home insurance policy. For example, you can usually buy coverage for sewers and water backups or higher limits for landscaping.
  • Opt for a financially sound insurer. Your lender cannot fund your mortgage unless your insurance company has at least an “A” financial strength rating. You can check financial strength ratings from companies like AM Best or Standard & Poor’s.
  • Ask about discounts. You may already be entitled to savings, such as a home security system or updated wiring and plumbing. It doesn’t hurt to ask your insurance agent if you qualify for discounts.
  • Compare home insurance quotes. The best way to save money is to compare quotes from multiple insurers. Do not skip this step! You can find free quotes online or by speaking with an independent insurance agent.

Methodology

Average home insurance rates were calculated using data from Quadrant Information Services. Rates are based on a policy with $300,000 home coverage and $100,000 liability coverage.

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