Homeowners insurance is vital. You just never know when the disaster might strike, leaving you with thousands of dollars in damage to your home. Rather than having to take the loss and pay out of pocket, or live with the damage you can’t afford to fix, homeowners insurance can help you in this kind of crisis.

Here’s five tips on how to find good homeowners insurance coverage.

1. Ask around

Never settle for the first policy you come across. Insurance companies compete for business, which should give you the edge. By shopping around, you can find the best policy for the least amount of money.

2. Check claims records

Sometimes it’s easy to become blinded by the low annual premium or the inexpensive deductible. However, you should find out what your insurance company’s claim records look like. It’s not worth it to pay next to nothing if it’s going to take weeks or months for your claim to get processed.

3. Know the value of your home

When it comes to choosing a homeowners policy that will help you replace your home and belongings in the event of a fire or natural disaster, you have to know what your home is worth. Get an appraisal. Take stock in what you own.

4. Ask for added protection

A basic policy might not cover all you need. Before you sign on the dotted line, find out what your policy covers. If you live in Florida, does it cover hurricane and flood damage? If you live in California, can you also obtain an earthquake coverage policy?

Do you have protection against fire or robbery? Depending on where you live, some of these policies are necessary.

5. Ask for discounts

If you’re a loyal customer and feel that your rates are too high, it’s time to ask for a discount before shopping for new homeowners insurance. If you’ve been in your house for a while and have never made a claim, ask for a discount on your policy. The worst they can say is no.

Finding a good insurance agent

Finding a good insurance agent in Chicago is no different from finding a good lawyer or school. Ask around for references. Read the reviews on websites, and even take the time to visit an agent in person to get a feel for the office and the person.

Homeowners insurance is imperative. You need it to protect yourself, your home, and your finances. By finding a good, reliable agent, you can trust you’re receiving the best policy for the lowest price.

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