As a first-time home buyer, or someone who is in the process of buying a new home to accommodate a growing family, you’re probably already well aware that the process is simultaneously both as exciting as it is a little intimidating. If you’ve done the work and you’re confident about what you’re getting into, it can be a rewarding process. Of course, there’s one more important thing you should be adding to your list of to-do’s before you close on the purchase of your new home, and that’s to get in touch with a broker to secure your home’s insurance policy. It can seem like a lot, especially when there’s already so many formalities and fees to consider when buying a new home.
In general, working with a broker when purchasing a policy, whether for the first time or for a new buy, is a great way to ensure that you get what you need for the best price. If you’re moving from a rental to a home, you may also need to call your tenant insurance broker to discuss cancelling your previous policy.
In order to narrow down your options and match you with a policy best suited to you and your new home’s requirements, your broker may need to know a few things. Excalibur’s brokers may ask you the following questions when helping you obtain quotes:
What is your contact information?
Your name (first and last), phone number, email, and even your date of birth are something your broker will need to know. You should always ensure your broker has access to your up-to-date contact information, just in case they should need to review your policy information, get in touch with you regarding an ongoing claim, or inform you of any changes.
In addition, they may ask you questions about your insurance history. How long have you had property insurance? Who is your current insurance provider, and what is your current deductible amount? Have you made a claim in the last five years and, if so, what type of claim? Your insurance history plays a prominent role in how much you may pay in premiums for your new home.
What is the address of the home being quoted?
Location plays a huge role in your home insurance premiums. If the area where you are quoting a home sees higher crime/claim rates, you’re likely to see higher rates. It’s also imperative that your broker knows the address of your new home, so they know where to send relevant insurance documents and certificates of coverage. Physical location can also be an indicator as to how close the home being quoted is to large bodies of water (flood risk), how close it is to fire stations (how likely it is to receive help in time if there’s an accident), etc. Suffice to say, there’s simply some neighbourhoods that are safer than others – and areas where your rates may be more impacted than others.
What year was the home being quoted built?
You’ll also be asked individual questions about the home being quoted, like the year it was built, its square footage, the number of stories, how long you’ve lived at the property, type of construction (whether it’s brick or frame), the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, if there’s a basement, and more. How finished is the basement? If the basement is finished, what square footage is it? As you can see, there are a lot of questions to do with the specifics of the home being quoted. All these may play into what the total replacement value of the home is, i.e., how much total coverage you’ll need to replace/restore the home entirely if it was destroyed in an insurable accident.
What kind of water, heat, and electric systems does the house being quoted have?
The various features of your home may be brought into question when discussing home insurance quotes with your local Excalibur insurance broker. They may ask you about the home’s heat, electrical, and plumbing systems, as well as its roof. Does the home have a sump pump? What type? Does it have a battery backup? For heat, they may ask if there’s a woodstove or fireplace, what type of heat is used, and how old the furnace is. For electrical, they’ll ask what kind of wiring the home uses, how many amps there are, and the last year that the electrical system was updated. Plumbing may include questions regarding the type of plumbing and the last year the plumbing was updated.
Older home systems may cause your insurance rates to rise, whereas recently renovated home systems can help your rates. If you didn’t already know, there’s plenty of renovations that can impact your home insurance rates – some for the better, and some for the worse.
Information regarding your roof may be important for brokers to know as well, especially as the older the roof is, the likelier it is to see damages. They’ll ask about the age of the roof and what type of shingles it has.
What kind of additional features does your home have?
Additional features may increase the liability risk you could face, which is important to know to adjust your liability coverage accordingly. Does your home have a garage, and how many cars does the garage fit? Is there a pool? A hot tub? What about a deck? How many square feet is the deck? Or a porch? Do you run any kind of business or daycare services out of your home? Do you rent or lease rooms to others? These will all be questions a broker may ask you to gauge your liability risk, and may advise you to choose a higher limit for your liability coverage depending on your answers.
Why do brokers ask these questions anyway? Well, it’s largely because this helps them to narrow down your options during the quoting process. Your answers may affect which companies you would qualify for. If our brokers need to get approval from a particular company, the process may take more time! It’s all in your best interest, of course, as Excalibur’s brokers want to help you get the best fit for your budget. Keeping your broker updated on new renovations, moving plans, and more is always a good idea, since it helps to keep everyone on the same page and your policy current.
If you have any further questions regarding the quoting process here at Excalibur, give us a call or apply for a free quote today.