Home insurance application checklist


Applying for property insurance can be intimidating. Insurance providers have to collect very specific information about your house, a lot of which you may not know off the top of your head, like the last time your homes roof was replaced, or even the type and chronilogical age of your primary home heating.

The reason insurance providers need this sort of information is twofold: they're attempting to figure out how risky your home is to insure, and they're also attempting to determine what it would cost to rebuild your house in the event that it's ruined by a few kind of catastrophic event. And eventually, this is how insurance providers determine your house insurance costs.

That's why it's important that you should arrived at the house insurance application process armed with the appropriate information. Economical Insurance advises that you simply split up this information into two classes: information about your house, and knowledge in regards to you. See below for the details your insurance company might ask you about. Utilize it like a checklist when you're establishing a home insurance policy in order to make the process as seamless as you possibly can.

Information about your home

  • Address

Why is my insurance carrier asking me this? Insurance companies need to know where you reside in order to get a clearer picture of methods risky it will likely be to insure your property, and therefore, determine your premiums. You may reside in a high-crime neighbourhood. Or perhaps a particularly wealthy one. Or one close to a large body of water. Many of these things can often mean there's more risk of damage to your house. Living in a “riskier” locale means you'd likely face higher rates.

  • Type of home

This is essential to insurance firms because they have to factor it to their assessment of what it might cost to rebuild the house, if it is damaged beyond repair, for example in a fire. The types of materials that your house is built with matters from both an alternative cost perspective and a risk perspective, since things might be more prone to deterioration or fire than others. Too, if you live in a semi-detached versus detached home, that's going to matter to insurance providers, too, because with attached homes, there can be increased risk of damage to the neighbour's home in case of a peril.

A detached home versus a semi-detached home, in which a common wall is distributed to another home, might lead to lower premiums since there's less chance of another person's property being damaged.

  • Square footage, quantity of storeys

The bigger the house, the more costly it is to insure. Again, your insurance provider will have to understand what it costs to rebuild, and will also determine your premiums. A larger home would likely result in higher premiums, since the rebuilding cost would be higher.

  • Year built

This is important for insurance providers to understand for some reasons. As your home ages, it might be prone to damage. Old leaky pipes, for instance, or a deteriorating roof, can spell trouble to insurance companies.

If your home is around the older side, then you might face higher premiums than someone whose home is newly built.

  • If you rent or own

If you rent versus own your house, condo, or apartment, your coverage will change. The insurance company wants to know this so it knows the right coverage to provide.

  • Updates designed to the home, for example major renovations or roof upgrade

This little bit of information gives your provider a clearer picture of methods durable your home is. Age your home has an impact on its likelihood to create certain kinds of claims, says Stefan Tirschler, Product and Underwriting Manager at Where you started Insurance. To illustrate the rooftop. In an older home, the roof starts to degrade also it becomes more prone to such things as leaking.

“Some types of roofs tend to be more durable when subjected to certain elements,” says Tirschler. The older the house, the older the roof. And unless there've been major upgrades, a mature roof generally isn't as able to withstanding the elements like a newer roof might be. Knowing if there've been any major renovations also gives insurance providers a good idea of the items it might cost to rebuild the home.

If the house is older and in necessity of major upgrades, you can face higher premiums since there'd become more to exchange if your home becomes damaged or needs to be rebuilt. On the other hand, if you make these renovations and upgrades, you could lay aside in your home insurance premiums because the risk has become less towards the insurance provider.

  • Finished basement

A finished basement means it'll cost you more to rebuild your house, and that's something the insurance company wants to know. But there's even the risk element, too – particularly with water and sewer backup.

“Water always travels downwards,” says Tirschler. “And where's it going to wind up?”

If you reside somewhere that's at risk of overland flooding or sewer backup, because you possess a finished basement means if you had that loss, then the cost could be higher towards the insurer, because there are more what to replace. And you can face higher premiums as a result.

  • Number of bathrooms

They need to know just how much it would cost to rebuild the home. A house with three bathrooms versus one bathroom spells a far more expensive rebuilding cost.

“A bathroom is more expensive to construct than the usual bedroom or living room because we're running additional electrical and water service into those rooms,” says Tirschler. “So that increases the cost of putting it back.” Consequently, you can face higher rates.

  • Presence of oil tanks

“On its very own, an oil tank isn't just a substantial item,” explains Tirschler. However it depends upon where it's located. For example, there is a different degree of risk mounted on whether the oil tank is inside or outside the house. Just having the oil tank doesn't invariably create a fire more likely, says Tirschler, but “if something were to happen, it's more prone to be a severe event because that extra fuel is indoors.”

If, however, the oil tank is out-of-doors, insurance companies may wish to know that to allow them to tell the customer how frequently to examine and change it. “Oil tanks often deteriorate internally,” explains Tirschler, “so you do not know it's coming until the hole has formed. If heating oil escapes, especially outside, it becomes a frightening aspect to decontaminate and cleanup and never all policies will cover that.”

  • Exterior wall type

Again, what your property is made from (e.g. brick) will affect just how much it is to rebuild. And insurance firms like to have a definite rebuilding cost estimate when they determine your premiums.

  • Type and chronilogical age of heating, electrical and plumbing equipment

The type and chronilogical age of your heating source will factor in to the rebuilding cost calculation as well as the chance of insuring you. A natural gas furnace, for instance, has a different mixture of risk compared to a house heated with electric baseboards, says Tirscler. “The additional supply of fuel in to the home, maintenance, regular cleaning, age of furnace, is a predictor of potential issues down the road.”

The kind of electrical power is more about actual risk, particularly the risk of fire. “Capacity is another concern,” says Tirschler, referring to the total electricity load the electrical system can provide to a home.

Plumbing, again, is most about risk. “Municipal water can place a whole lot water into your home in a almost no time,” says Tirschler. And there are certain types of plumbing which have been historically problematic, such as galvanized steel pipes, and certain types of plastic plumbing. Whereas copper may be the defacto standard. Regardless, that's why your insurance provider may wish to know what's behind the walls.

Information about you

  • Your age

Insurance companies may want to understand how old you are to get a sense of whether or not you can successfully maintain your property. As we grow older, this gets harder to complete, and as such, the risk of the house deteriorating because of insufficient regular maintenance increases.

  • If you have a mortgage

If you have a mortgage on your home, your bank will require it be on the property insurance insurance policy for its very own protection, explains Tirschler.

This guarantees that in the event that you invalidate your policy somehow (it gets cancelled for non-payment, let's say), as well as your home must be rebuilt due to some disaster, the financial institution is resistant to needing to front the rebuilding costs.

There's another reason why property insurance companies need to know if you have a home loan. “Having a home loan does correlate by having a greater frequency of home insurance claims,” says Tirschler. “The general idea is that if you are mortgage-free, you may have additional capital open to cope with issues because they happen, whereas those who don't maybe won't replace issues early/proactively.”

  • If you've got a type of credit

We're not referring to a personal line of credit here, but instead a line of credit secured against the home as collateral, like a home equity line of credit. “The bank will have to be on the insurance plan if you're using it as collateral,” says Tirschler.

  • Number of past claims

This indicates to the insurance company how risky a customer you may be. If you have made frequent claims previously, for example, it will likely take that into consideration when managing your premium and you can pay more.

  • Number of people who reside in the home

Who actually resides in the house is an important factor for property insurance companies, particularly in situations where you're renting your home to several different tenants. The insurance company will want to know how so many people are living there at any given time, and when they have been separate entrances to every unit, and so on. Which can often mean you'll need landlord's insurance.

If you own or rent your personal place, this continues to be important for the insurance company to understand if you do not happen to be home when damage occurs or when someone injures on their own your home, the other person(s) coping with you will need to contact the insurer.

  • If you run a home-based business

If you operate a business from home, your insurer must know since there may be work-related equipment that might 't be covered within basic policy, but instead require an endorsement or higher contents coverage.

There's even the risk factor. If there are people frequently coming in and from home, this would enhance the eyebrows of the insurance provider from the liability perspective. Liability insurance protects you in the event that someone is injured in your yard. Should you operate a home-based business and customers are regularly in your home, your insurance provider might require you to have a higher amount of liability.

  • If your house is used like a rental or home-sharing service

Again, this is dependant on liability. Your insurance company may wish to determine if you are renting out part or all your home, or if you Airbnb it every now and again, for example. This could need a certain set of coverage not part of a traditional home policy.

  • If your home is currently vacant or intended as vacant in the future

This matters because if your home is vacant for any specific amount of your time – usually more than 30 days – your house insurance policy had the ability to become void. An empty house is a concern to insurance companies because nobody is going to be there when something happens to the home, like a fire. This might lead to more damage, and a higher cost towards the insurance company.