If you’re like many here in the Triad Region, your home is your largest financial asset and you understand the importance of protecting your risk of financial loss with a quality, comprehensive homeowners insurance policy. While it’s true that an insurance policy is sold as a promise of protection, not all insurance companies perform equally well when it comes time to “pay the piper.” The number one test of any insurer is the way they handle claims. In this day of instant Internet access, it’s usually easy enough to obtain information on various sites regarding the claims history of an insurer you’re considering giving your business to. That should be one of the first steps in the process of choosing the best homeowners insurance coverage.

What Makes the BEST Homeowners Insurance?

As in shopping for anything, consumers often have the habit of looking first at the price tag or, in the case of insurance, the premium rate. It can be a mistake to consider price over value, and to not consider the difference between “cheap” and “affordable” insurance coverage.

As with any major purchase, it’s always wise to get multiple quotes or to “shop around” before making a decision on a purchase. One simple way to accomplish this when looking for the best homeowners insurance is to seek the assistance of an insurance broker representing multiple companies and with access to numerous policy options. Let it be known that you’re unwilling to deal with any insurance company that has less than an A-rating (or higher) with A.M. Best, the accepted authority rating the financial strength and credit worthiness of insurance companies worldwide.

 Apples to Apples

When comparing insurance policies it’s important to be comparing policies with the same or very similar benefits and deductible amounts. The coverage with the lowest premiums will almost never be the best insurance policy. Make sure to look at every benefit offered and every exclusion imposed.

Deductibles, which are typically between $500-$1500 on standard policies, may be increased to as much as 5% of your home’s insured value on some cheaper policies for damages suffered from certain severe weather events including hail, wind or hurricanes. Policies that base claim payments on actual cash value vs. replacement value will also have cheaper premiums but the coverage is much less desirable. Understand what you’re buying and only buy from the highest rated insurers. Consult with a professional.