In Alabama, a standard HO-2 home insurance policy might not be enough to protect your home. The average premiums for standard coverage are only $845, but Alabama is subject to endure things like hurricanes, frequent flooding and harsh winter storms, some of which are hazards that your standard policy falls short on. Read your policy carefully, and look for gaps in your coverage that could be remedied by choosing a little extra protection.
Before you even begin to consider what coverage to buy, familiarize yourself with what is covered. There are four primary types of coverage included in a standard home insurance policy:
This protects your home and any structures that are built into it, such as a garage. Dwelling coverage alone is the type of insurance used by homeowners who rent out their home, because it protects the building but not the personal property or unattached structures.
Other structures are any buildings on the property that are not directly connected to the dwelling. This includes workshops, storage sheds, laundry houses, guest cottages and such things as pool and boat houses.
Personal property is covered by your home insurance policy, but only up to about 10% of the policy value. If possible, store your valuables in a fire-safe place away from the property, such as a safe deposit box. If your personal property is valued at more than 10% of your home value, you should probably get a separate personal property insurance policy.
Loss of Use
This part of your home insurance will pay for food, lodging and travel expenses if your home is damaged and cannot be lived in temporarily. Be sure to save all of your receipts so that the insurance company has concrete proof of how the money was spent.
Average Alabama Homeowner Insurance Rates vs. US
Cheaper Alabama Home Insurance
To get insurance at the best possible rates, show the insurance company that you are a responsible person, with your property, yourself, and in your finances. Insurance companies insure each person according to the risk that person presents, and the lowest premiums go to those who have demonstrated they are concerned about the things that are being insured.
Secure the Home
Keeping your home secure is a good way to get insurance discounts. To do that, consider having a professional alarm system installed as your first line of defense. You can get a better discount on insurance if the home is monitored 24 hours a day, because the response time makes it possible to prevent many serious burglaries, and that savings is passed on to you.
Improve your Health
How you take care of yourself often reflects the way you take care of your property. If you are taking the time to maintain your health, you are probably taking the time to do regular maintenance on your home as well. Besides, something like quitting smoking also reduces the risks to the home, because smoking creates a serious fire hazard.
Your occupation and level of education may not seem like they would influence your home insurance rates, but the truth is that your personal success is measured in terms of achievements as well as such indicators as your credit score. If you have a bachelor’s degree or better, or work in a professional field, your rates will be lower than if you are a high school graduate who works in a factory. The more financially stable you are, the less of a risk you pose to insurance companies.
Home Characteristics Affecting Alabama Insurance Rates
Several aspects of your home will affect what you pay for home insurance, too. The average crime rate in Alabama is one important factor, and a brick or stone home is less likely to suffer damages than a wood house. On top of the difference in materials and topography, the size of the home is going to be a major part of the calculation, because the basic cost of insurance is dependent on the square footage of the home. Other factors include the age of the home and what condition it is in. If there is a pool located on the property, you can expect your rates to be higher than a home without one, but you can at least lower those costs by installing a protective fence around the pool.
Defending Your Home Against Crime & Vandalism
Alabama has a crime rate of 8.79 per 1000 people, which is nearly 3 points higher than the national rate of 5.17 / 1000. And that figure is based solely on burglaries, without taking vandalism and other crimes against homes into consideration. As the homeowner, you can install surveillance equipment or an alarm system that is monitored by a professional security company around the clock. Installing a fence is another deterrent to random crime, and the savings in insurance risk is passed on to you. Every year, 42,034 homes are burglarized in Alabama, so take steps to prevent yours from being one of them.
Local Natural Disasters Alabama Homeowners Should Consider Protecting Against
Every state has weather and other natural risks associated with it. Some places are much more likely to experience an earthquake, while others see frequent flooding or annual wildfires. The more common a hazard is, the more restrictive your insurance company may be towards that peril. For example, areas that are prone to flooding may require you to purchase coverage through a high-risk insurance pool that all insurers are required to contribute to.
Alabama is ranked 22 out of 51 (Washington DC is included). Most standard home insurance policies do not include movements of the earth or the possible flooding that earthquakes could cause. Alabama is ranked almost in the middle of the scale, and that means certain parts of the state do experience seismic activity on occasion.
Alabama had 379 claims in 2009, which is only a fraction of the national number, 46,621. That doesn’t mean you can skip having flood insurance, though. Any year could see a large portion of the state inundated by hurricane force winds and the flooding that comes with tropical storms. Wind damage is included in a standard policy, but flood insurance is not. The extra cost of flood insurance is many times lower than what paying for flood repairs out of pocket would cost in even a small flood situation.
Hail can occur in all states, and may cause substantial damage to windows, metal surfaces and more. Hail is usually covered in a standard home insurance policy, but you should review your policy carefully to make sure that is covered.
Alabama is often hit with tropical force winds and storms, and hurricanes brush across the state now and then. The risk of severe wind storms is lower in the northern parts of the state, but the safest route is to install storm shutters, and purchase flood coverage to complement the wind coverage that comes in a standard policy.
Alabama experiences around 89 per year, compared to 1,680 experienced nationwide. This may not seem like a big proportion, but it only takes a single tornado to wipe out your home and many of those around you. Wind damage, including that caused by tornadoes, is part of a standard home insurance policy, but flooding is also likely around tornadoes, and flood coverage is not.
Every year, there are around 74,749 wildfires around the nation. Large forested areas such as those found in parts of Alabama increase the risks of wildfires but such fires can spring up on the fringes of towns just as easily and pose a danger to thousands of homes. Damage caused by fires is part of all standard policies, but it is important to make sure that you have enough coverage to completely replace lost property, not just receive a depreciated amount.
Alabama Homeowners Insurance Optional Coverage
It cannot be stressed enough that adding flood insurance coverage for your home is important, but there are other optional coverage that may be equally important. Personal liability coverage should be included in your homeowner’s insurance policy, but it is usually a good idea to increase the limits. Personal liability pays for injuries someone else suffers on your property, and prevents you from being sued for a substantial portion of your financial value. The higher your liability insurance limits, the better your assets are protected.
Important Contact Information
Alabama Department of Insurance
Post Office Box 303351
Montgomery, AL 36130-3351
Phone: (334) 269-3550
Home Insurance Guides for Nearby States
- Florida Homeowners Insurance
- Georgia Homeowners Insurance
- Mississippi Homeowners Insurance
- Tennessee Homeowners Insurance
Alabama Insurance Agents
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