Purchasing a house or purchasing home insurance in California is guided by natural disasters such as wild fires and floods that are frequent occurrences in Northern and Southern California, the earthquakes of Bay area and sand, surf and snow accidents in other regions of the Golden state. Earthquake insurance is mandatory with any home owner insurance and is reason for Californians to spend more on natural disaster and earthquake insurance than any other state. The high cost of purchasing calamity related insurance deters majority homeowners who prefer waiting for disaster to happen than pay hefty monthly or annual premiums for an out of the blue event. An appropriate example are owners of villas and expensive homes perched on hillsides around the Bay area, as in the expensive sea side resort of Sausalito where homeowners have no choice but to take earthquake related home owner insurance. Hurricane Katrina was an example for insurance companies for unexpected costs and as result most homes in California in disaster prone regions are sold with insurance tags covering risks from theft, fire, storms, flooding and quakes.
Look Around: The homeowner insurance is a defense shield against theft, destruction and pilferage but if not handled properly can turn into a complicated piece of paper with extra or superfluous coverage. In such cases it is advisable to purchase comprehensive California home owner insurance as safeguard against damage by natural elements such as fire, smoke, explosions, electrical and water damage and man made ones including heating and air conditioning calamities. The California Insurance Department acts the watchdog against disproportionate charges or services provided by insurance agent or company and supporting customer to lodge complaint with the Department. Another California home owner insurance advantage is that house styles dictate formats e.g. if living in earth quake prone area, such as the Bay region, a comprehensive home owner insurance policy covering major calamities, including earthquake, has its advantages.
A first time home owner applying for California home owner insurance sometimes ends up paying higher premiums simply because he/she is uninformed about home insurance. Friends and family should be consulted with the internet as additional source of information on different insurance policies and value of deductibles and premiums. Nest step is to make house security proof by purchasing insurance company recommended burglar and fire alarms; checking type of construction material used or being used with preference for brick in wind ravaged areas and wood in quake prone areas. When ever possible purchase newly constructed house fitted with new construction material and utility systems that are in working order to avoid accidents. Location of house plays an important role in reducing or lowering premiums. There is no such thing as ideal location but finding house near fire station or avoiding flood prone areas helps in payment of lower premiums. The reason a possible fire can be doused easily with prompt arrival of fire extinguishers and flood prone areas mean separate flood insurance as flood is not covered in general home owner policy.
California home owner insurance covers up to 50 to 75 percent of house value and if wanting maximum insurance benefits prepare list of valuables with replacement cost coverage to save damaged property or objects from being undervalued. Bigger insurance companies cap their guarantees at 120 to 125 percent and if house is appropriately valued there should be no danger from cap. Other important inclusions are: Inflation coverage linked to cost inflation of building; Ordinance and law coverage for old houses to bring them under current building codes rules; Umbrella liability coverage or additional cover apart from homeowners liability limits.
Advantages: Purchasing California home owner insurance through recommendation of friends and family facilitates getting maximum quoted price, better service quality, knowledge of financial rating of company and most important the accessibility factor. Sometimes in haste of getting insurance one forgets to check deductibles being offered by insurance company. The more the deductible the lesser premium is paid and if adhering with one California home owner insurance company then the company will offer reduced premiums if client is with them for more than 3 years and above. The deductible generally is from $250 and any increase in deductible means increase in savings from 12% to 37% depending on amount and insurance company.
Sometimes home insurance covers additions to house but often with rider that items not in use will not be listed. The high cost of premiums acts as deterrent and owners look for maximum discounts with maximum services. A senior citizen or member of any professional association entitles individual to get better deals. Another way of availing high quality California home owner insurance is by maintaining good credit history with bills paid on time. If purchasing second hand house check insurance claim history of previous owners as it will give fair idea of problems one is going to face in purchase of any new home owner insurance.
A Must have: Car insurance is regarded as a must have but when it comes to insurance cover for home it becomes an owners prerogative. In California purchasing house on mortgage or borrowed money without home insurance is foolish as it jeopardizes selling of same property. Further house insurance helps in maintaining property and covering for any accidental losses.
Insurance companies wanting a competitive edge offer different packages including paying for extensions to house, personal liability insurance policy, thefts and flood insurance policy and even tsunami after Katrina. In case of loss of job or in between jobs one can avail of help from insurance company for living expenses, finances for replacing certain portions of house in need of repair, coverage for someone hurt on premises or coverage depending on situation. There are other areas that need looking into such as business insurance if working from home, insuring of antiques and other lesser valuables and business liability coverage.
It is easy to fall prey to home owner insurance offering discounts and state-of-art services. These are mainly cosmetic values as in reality it is speed of processing claims that grades a company. Before signing on dotted line check company ratings with friends and neighbors, consumer guides, insurance agents and state insurance department. An important thing to know is that California home owner insurance is combination of liability and property coverage i.e. the policy will protect in case of robbery or legal dispute, help towards repairs and rebuilding or changing house. Another safe bet is taking home insurance from your auto insurance provider and cut down on too many dealers and their dealings. The uncovered areas within policy should be discussed with agent and then extra insurance coverage be purchased depending on location of house whether in verdant Napa Valley or houseboat/water home off Sausalito.
In California the earthquake coverage is provided by California Earthquake Authority (CEA) while Flood insurance is by federal governments National Flood Insurance Program. Private companies handle flood insurance but under arrangement with Federal agencies. One can get away from purchasing California home owner insurance policy because California is not so much prone to hurricanes like Texas or Florida or other southern states. Earthquake policy does not cover swimming pool and lands around residence. In case of disaster the government is around but then the government might not step in or the loan is insufficient to cover all costs. On safe side it helps to take a California home owner insurance with annual premium payments because insurance companies prefer monthly premiums instead of annual to recover their losses. If no claim has been taken against house then one can avail of no claim discount.
Not every one can play companies against each other by disputing their favors and getting better deals. California home owner insurance companies periodically lower their rates helping home owners to save dollars. So whether one is a first time purchaser or already owning home insurance keep looking for quotes and options. The internet lists quotes from different insurance companies with the California Department of Insurance website an important source of information for California home insurance rates which are said to be highest in the country.