Virginia Homeowner's Insurance
Standard Virginia Homeowners Insurance Coverage
You can expect your annual home insurance to cost around $604 when you live in Virginia, for the four main sections of coverage. Your responsibility as a home owner is to know what those sections mean, and to have a working knowledge of the possible perils your Virginia home may experience during the course of any given year.
The dwelling is the primary structure being insured, and is always the home itself. Even though the property can have multiple residences, only the primary home is considered the dwelling, for homeowner's insurance purposes. The dwelling also includes any structures that are built so that they are permanently connected to the home, such as a room that was added on or a garage that is built into the house.
- Other Structures
Other structures are any building or other constructions on the insured property that are not permanently connected to the dwelling. Other structures include, but are not limited to, fences, boat houses, docks, a greenhouse, and even structures that are not meant for direct human use, such as a pump house or decorative gate house.
- Personal Property
Personal property includes all of your belongings, from your clothes and jewelry to your furniture and appliances. The best way to get an accurate list of your personal property is to make a home inventory with a video recorder. Go from structure to structure and room to room, taking everything in the room into the recording. Be sure to go through closets and drawers as well as items that are not stored inside any buildings, including your lawn mower and other yard tools.
- Loss of Use
If an incident that is covered by your home insurance causes you to lose the use of all or part of your home or other structures, you can be reimbursed for the out pocket costs by filing a loss of use claim. This could mean such things as a hotel room or dining at a restaurant, or even something as simple as the costs associated with having your laundry done because your washer and dryer were destroyed by a falling tree.
Average Virginia Homeowner Insurance Rates vs. US
Cheaper Virginia Home Insurance
Cheaper home insurance comes from managing the risk associated with the home, including making the home safer and managing your own credit score. By reducing the risks to the insurance company, you can earn discounts on your homeowner's premiums. Of course you should still compare online insurance quotes to get the best price possible, but these discounts will save you even more.
- Home Security
Home security is an important concern for insurance companies. Doing things such as installing an alarm system or putting up a fence not only give your family more protection, they also earn you savings on your premiums. In Virginia, the crime rate is 3.83 per 1000 homes, but yours does not have to be another statistic.
- Reduce Insurance Risks
A dead tree on your property is not only a danger to your own structures, it is also a danger to any property belonging to nearby neighbors. If there is a dead tree on your property that falls and the tree causes damages or injuries, you could be sued, and it is even possible that your insurance company would deny payment on the grounds that you had not performed necessary upkeep of the property. Avoid that by keeping the lawn free of debris that could cause serious monetary problems.
- Credit Score and Insurance Risk
Your credit score can save you money on all your insurance policies, but you'll need to keep it at 650 or higher to do so. Insurance companies look at your credit score as a way to assess your financial risk, so the higher your credit score, the lower your premiums will be.
Home Characteristics Affecting Virginia Insurance Rates
The average age of homes in Virginia is 31 years, which plays a part in determining what your premiums will be. Similarly, the value of your home will affect your rates because insurance costs are based on the cost of the property being insured. Other factors that may have an affect include the materials the home is built from and the number and types of natural disasters that are common in the state you live in.
Local Natural Disasters Virginia Homeowners Should Consider Protecting Against
No matter where your home is located, there are going to be perils that it faces, and some locations are subject to more natural disasters than others. By understanding those dangers, you can get a better idea of how your insurance dollars are being applied as well as finding gaps in your coverage that need to be corrected by securing additional coverage.
Ranked at 26 out of 51, Virginia falls directly in the middle of the states ranked for possible earthquakes. While such disasters are not common in Virginia, having the coverage would protect your home if one strikes and earthquakes are not part of most home insurance policies, so the coverage will have to be purchased separately.
Virginia reported 6,843 claims in 2009, which is a significant percentage of the claims filed nationwide. Flooding is not part of a standard home insurance package, and usually must be purchased through a high risk insurer. Regardless of the cost, this type of coverage is an excellent investment for all home owners.
Hail is relatively common in Virginia and has the potential to cause severe damage to buildings. The good news is that unless your policy specifically excludes hail damage, your standard home insurance policy covers it.
Hurricanes can and do hit Virginia on occasion. You can either purchase separate hurricane insurance or purchase the individual coverages for hurricane damages, including hail, flood and wind damage. In most cases, the only hurricane damage not included in a standard policy is the potential for local flooding.
25 tornadoes are reported on an average year in Virginia. As long as you have flood insurance, though, your standard homeowner's policy protects you from tornado damage. The key is to make sure that these storms have not been specifically excluded from your policy, and to pick up a rider to add tornado coverage if they are.
74,749 wildfires rage around the country each year, and can affect any part of the country. Wildfires are typically part of the fire coverage in a standard policy, but check the exclusions in your policy to make sure that you do not have to purchase a rider for wildfires.
Virginia Homeowners Insurance Optional Coverages
Look over your policy carefully for weaknesses that could be remedied with rider policies or extra coverage. If your policy states that it will pay actual cash value, ask about getting it switched over to full replacement cost. Check the amount of your personal property coverage, which is often only a small percentage of the total policy value. Most people own more personal property than their home insurance will cover, but you can contact your insurance agent and get higher limits at a very low additional cost.
Important Contact Information
Virginia Department of Insurance
P.O. Box 1157
Richmond, Virginia 2321
Phone: (804) 371-9741