Delaware Homeowner's Insurance
Once you have selected the type of homeowners insurance you need, and figured out that the average cost for home insurance in your area is $535, you will probably have some questions about what is included and what you still need to get. You should start by learning the 4 main types of coverage included on all home insurance policies, and then take a look at where possible gaps in your coverage may lie.
The house is the dwelling portion of the home insurance policy. Any structures that are permanently built into the primary dwelling are considered part of the dwelling. A built-in garage is part of the dwelling, but a free-standing garage is considered an "other structure." A typical home insurance policy can include many different structures, but only one dwelling.
Any structure on the insured plot of land that is not permanently attached to the home is covered under this portion of the homeowner's policy. This might include a boathouse or garden gazebo, or any other item that was built or erected on the property.
Everything that you own in the dwelling or on the property is covered under this portion of your insurance, up to a percentage of the full value of the policy. It is important to note that the default coverage on most policies is not sufficient to completely replace or repair everything. Additional personal property insurance can be bundled into your premiums and should be evaluated frequently to make sure that you are adequately protected.
Loss of Use
The portion of a home insurance policy pays for your expenses if you are deprived of the use of all or part of the dwelling due to a named peril. When filing a loss of use claim, be sure to present the receipts from where you stayed or ate to help expedite the settlement.
Average Delaware Homeowner Insurance Rates vs. US
Cheaper Delaware Home Insurance
The average cost of home insurance for your area is $535, but you can probably pay less than that if you take the time to make your home safer and to reduce the risk you pose yourself. You need to have home insurance, but you do not have to pay an arm and a leg to get it.
Avoid Unnecessary Claims
Your home insurance may not go up after filing a single claim, but each time you file a claim, the amount of risk the home poses to the insurance company increases. To keep your premiums as low as possible, avoid filing claims unless it is absolutely necessary. You can also set your deductibles higher to get lower premiums, just be careful not to set them so high that you are not able to pay the deductible out of pocket if you do have to file a claim.
Smoking and Home Insurance
You probably know that quitting smoking will save you money on health insurance, but not as many people realize that it can reduce your home insurance premiums as well. When you quit smoking, you reduce the risk of a house fire, and that saves the insurance company money, which means you will be rewarded with lower premiums.
Credit Score and Insurance Risk
The average credit score in your state is 680. Insurance companies give the best rates to people who have a credit score of 650 or better. So whether your credit score is close to the state average or not, keeping it above 650 is one way to save money on home insurance.
Home Characteristics Affecting Delaware Insurance Rates
Most of the older homes built in Delaware are made of wood, which can be a liability if your home insurance only pays for cash value. Cash value insurance pays out a depreciated amount and may not be sufficient to properly repair or replace older wooden structures. A better plan is to upgrade your policy to replacement value insurance, and then your repairs can be made to their original specifications without having to pay a lot of money out of pocket.
Defending Your Home Against Crime & Vandalism
In Delaware, there are 8.37 burglaries per 1000 people, which is considerably higher than 5.17/1000, the national average. You can reduce the risks of being burglarized by doing a couple of simple installations around the house. Start with deadbolt lock at all entry doors, and then add a professionally installed and monitored security system. Both of these things will also net you a discount your home insurance, as would installing a privacy fence around the perimeter of the property.
Local Natural Disasters Delaware Homeowners Should Consider Protecting Against
Delaware is not prone to earthquakes or volcanoes, but the state is subjected to both summer and winter storms that have the potential to cause a lot of damage. Here is a breakdown of the major weather and natural perils you are likely to face.
Ranked at 44 out of 51, making it one of the least likely places for an earthquake. There is no need to purchase earthquake insurance, as long as you make sure that your incidental coverage are taken care, such as flood insurance.
Delaware residents filed 172 claims in 2009, while the nation as a whole filed 46,621 flood claims. What this means is that even if you do not live in a designated flood plain you should still have flood insurance. Many of the weather related perils that are common in Delaware include flooding as at least one aspect of the potential damage.
Hail is an occasional problem in Delaware, but does not require you to purchase any special insurance. Hail is covered under the wind-related portion of your insurance policy. What you should be wary of is flooding, which is a potential by-product of a heavy hailstorm.
Although it does not happen often, Delaware is subject to be hit by hurricanes in any given year. Since wind damage is part of the standard policy coverage, your biggest concern if a hurricane or tropical storm strikes is flooding, so be sure to carry enough flood coverage to handle any emergency.
With only 0 tornadoes expected in an average year, Delaware can be said to experience tornadoes only rarely. Since most of the damage from a tornado is wind-related, you are covered for everything by your standard policy except the potential for flooding. It cannot be stressed enough how important flood insurance can be for people who own homes in Delaware.
Around 74,749 wildfires affect our country each year, and they may affect any home in any state. Delaware is no exception, but the good news is that wildfires are included in the fire protection you purchased as part of your standard home insurance policy.
Delaware Homeowners Insurance Optional Coverage
Most people do not realize it, but the personal property coverage in a standard homeowner's policy is only going to protect your property up to a certain percentage of the total policy value. In most cases, additional personal property insurance is the best way to get complete protection. Similarly, most standard insurance packages provide for cash value protection, while replacement value will offer you a much more dependable coverage limit.
Important Contact Information
Delaware Department of Insurance
841 Silver Lake Blvd.
Dover, DE 19904
Phone: (302) 674-7300