The American Dream has long been to own a home.
And often, a home is the most valuable asset an American family will own, so protecting it in the unhappy event of fire, flood, theft or other unforeseen circumstances is critical.
And if, like most people, you have a mortgage secured by the value of your home, your lender will require homeowners insurance .
So, shopping around for the homeowners insurance policy that best meets your needs is worth a little time and effort.
We have put together a few ideas to help you in researching home insurance companies so that you can find the best rates and coverage!
Homeowner Insurance Basics
Whether you’re looking for insurance in New York or California, Michigan or Arizona, Texas or Maine, the cost of home insurance goes up annually, so it pays to shop around when your policy comes up for renewal to be sure you are still getting the best deal.
And while it’s great to have a low premium, you’ll find that rates vary widely from company to company, but you don’t want to sacrifice adequate coverage just to save a few dollars; when you need to make a claim you could find that the low price coverage you thought was such a great deal doesn’t cover your loss or that your insurance company’s claims process is a complete nightmare.
According to some estimates, less than two thirds of American homeowners have inadequate coverage or no coverage at all on their home! Don’t be part of that one third who either doesn’t understand what coverage they need or neglect to purchase home insurance, taking their chances and potentially risking their single largest investment and the dream of owning a home.
Shopping for Homeowner’s Insurance
Before shopping, determine the type of coverage and how much homeowner’s insurance coverage you require. Once you have an idea of the type and amount of coverage you need, check several sources for the best prices. Try getting quotes from a site such as www.insweb.com.
A knowledgeable independent insurance agent can sometimes help you find the lowest rates since they have reviewed your insurance needs together with you to determine how the type and amount of coverage you should purchase. Many companies offer more than one type of homeowner’s policy.
If offered a policy with less coverage than you need, request additional coverage and consider buying endorsements to add coverage.
Understanding the Jargon
For most of us, the language of insurance is boring and often sounds like a foreign language. If you know the basic terminology of home insurance, you will be in a much better position to make wise choices and know exactly what to purchase, how much you will be paying and whether or not the right risks will be covered by your policy.
Surf Rate offers you this free Guide to Homeowner’s Insurance  so that you will be armed with the knowledge you need to protect your family and home.
Check out your Insurance Company
It is important to choose an insurer with a solid reputation and adequate financial status. Not all insurance companies are able to cover claims in the case of a major emergency such as an earthquake, hurricane or other large scale catastrophe.
Fortunately services are available that rate all the insurance companies and provide ratings on every insurer. Be sure to check ratings from A.M. Best , Standard & Poor’s , Moody’s Investors Service  or Weiss Ratings, Inc  to determine the financial strength and other data about the insurance companies you are considering.
Examine your Insurance Company’s Report Card
Before you choose an insurer, be sure to review the complaint record, rankings and customer satisfaction reports for each company being considered; remember that you are the customer so you should expect good service in the event you need to file a claim against your homeowner’s insurance policy.
Some great sources of insurance information are available, including the American Council of Life Insurers , the Insurance Information Institute , the National Association of Insurance Commissioners  and the insurance department in your state. You can also check the customer satisfaction ratings of most insurers at J.D. Power and Associates .
By preparing and understanding the basics of homeowner’s insurance you will be armed with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision about the insurer, coverage and rates that provide you with the most cost effective home insurance policy and adequate protection, giving you peace of mind that your family and home are safe and that if you need it, you can rely on your home insurance policy.