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Oregon Homeowner's Insurance

The average cost of homeowners premiums is $439 in Oregon, based in part on an average home value of $257,400. Your own costs probably will not be the same as the average, but it is going to be your choice whether they are higher or lower. To get the most out of your policy, you should learn what the four primary sections of your policy are and become familiar with the hazards your home faces. If you take advantage of the discounts available to you, it is possible to have reliable coverage without giving up any of the features you need in a home insurance policy.

  1. Dwelling
    This is the portion of the policy that covers the home itself. It can also include any structures that have been irremovably attached to the dwelling. For example, a garage that is built into the house is part of the dwelling, but a garage that is connected via a breezeway is not. Similarly, a bedroom added on to the dwelling is part of the dwelling, but a guest cottage separated from the house, even though it houses people, is not part of the dwelling.
  2. Other Structures
    Every other construction on the property, as long as it is not an item of personal property or permanently connected to the dwelling, is an "other structure" in your insurance policy. Other structures may be buildings where other people reside, such as a guest cottage, decorative constructions such as an imitation well house, or a functional building such as a workshop. A dock and boathouse are both "other structures," and so are fences or a bath house next to the pool. The considerations which define other structures is fairly simple: they cannot be built into the dwelling in such a way that either one would be damaged if it were removed, and they cannot be a piece of personal property that could be readily picked up and moved to another plot of real estate.
  3. Personal Property
    Personal property includes all of your possessions, inside the dwelling or elsewhere on the insured property. To get the best coverage for your personal property, make a home inventory using a video recording. As you move around on the property and inside the structures, record everything in the room that belongs to you, no matter how inconsequential it may seem. This includes your wardrobe, your electronics, your lawn tools, and everything else. An item which only costs $5 may not seem like it is worth listing in the home inventory, but 20 of those items cost you $100, and they add up quickly. Save your receipts as well, to be able to prove the value of the items if you have to file a claim.
  4. Loss of Use
    Anytime you are not able to use some or all of your home in the manner it is designed to be used, and the reason is because of a covered peril in your policy, you have a potential loss of use claim which will pay you back for the money you have to spend to make up for that loss. Eating at restaurants or staying at a hotel are two common losses, but a tree falling on your wash shed and destroying your washer and dryer are also claimable losses, along with similar misfortunes.

Average Oregon Homeowner Insurance Rates vs. US

Source: USCB

Cheaper Oregon Home Insurance

Getting the best rates on home insurance does not mean you have skimp on the coverage you need, it means that you should look for discounts, and take an active role in protecting your property. Cheaper Oregon home insurance is available to all home owners just by taking the time to make the home safer and more secure, and by paying attention to their own effect on those rates, in the form of that person's credit score.

  • Home Security
    In Oregon, the burglary rate is 5.13 for every 1000 homes, and can be compared to the national rate of 5.17 per 1000 homes. You can make your home less vulnerable by installing a professional security system that is monitored off site. You can also get discounts for other home security measures, such as installing smoke alarms, burglar bars, and having deadbolt locks installed on all doors leading out of the house. When you make the home more secure, you reduce the risks associated with it, and that saves the insurance company money, a savings that is then passed on to you in the form of lower premiums.
  • Reduce Insurance Risks
    You can also reduce the risks your home faces for more discounts. Removing the leaves and debris from your roof makes it so that roof will last longer, and trimming back branches and dead limbs helps to prevent damages during storms. And if you have a pool, you can get a discount on your insurance by fencing the pool in separately, including a keyed lock entrance to prevent small children and pets from wandering in accidentally.
  • Credit Score and Insurance Risk
    Your credit score is important for more than just getting a loan. It is also a key factor used by insurance companies to determine your individual financial risk. To insurance companies, a person with a credit score of 650 or higher is less risky to insure, and that in turns means you pay lower premiums. And once you have gotten your credit score up, keep it that way by monitoring it often and resolving any issues which may show up on your credit history from time to time.

Home Characteristics Affecting Oregon Insurance Rates

In a state where the average home is 33 years years old and the average value of that home is $257,400, maintenance is a prime consideration. This can be even more important for owners of wooden homes, because wood is vulnerable to problems that a brick or stone home is not, such as termites and wood decay. By providing proper maintenance, you not only make your home a lasting investment, you demonstrate to the insurance company that you are less risky to insure.

Local Natural Disasters Oregon Homeowners Should Consider Protecting Against

All homeowner's insurance policies cover you against specific perils, but not all policies cover you against all perils. In order to determine which perils you are protected against, read your policy carefully or consult your insurance agent. If you discover a peril that is likely to occur in your area but you are not protected against, consider purchasing additional coverage to make up for the omission.

  • Earthquakes
    Ranked at 10 out of 51, Oregon could be hit by an earthquake. Your policy probably does not include earthquakes, because of the severity of damage that even a moderate earthquake could cause. If you are not able to get coverage through traditional insurance channels, check with high risk insurers in your area or contact your state Department of Insurance for assistance on where to turn to get the coverage you need.
  • Flood
    Oregon residents filed 26 claims in 2009, out of 46,621 flood claims filed nationwide. Flooding is another common peril that is excluded from most policies. Check with your insurance company first, and then follow through with high risk insurers if your insurance company does not provide flood coverage. If all else fails, contact the Department of insurance for your state and explain your circumstances. There are high-risk insurance pools available for people who cannot purchase flood coverage through other means.
  • Hail
    Hail damage is possible no matter where you live, but it could be excluded from your policy. In most cases, hail is considered part of the wind damage coverage of your policy, but you will have to read your individual policy to find out whether it has been excluded in your case. Exclusions are typical in locations where hail is known to cause severe damages.
  • Hurricanes
    Hurricanes are not common in Oregon and you probably will not need to purchase hurricane specific coverage. However, high winds and heavy rains, sometimes equivalent to the forces of a hurricane, are common. Make sure that your home is adequately protected, and make sure that you get flood coverage to be fully insured.
  • Tornadoes
    With only 2 reported in an average year, Oregon is not usually a concern for tornadoes. Even more to the point, the wind damages portion of your policy protects you against the wind, even tornado force winds. Your only problem might be if tornadoes are excluded from your policy, but there odds of being hit by one in Oregon are so small that you probably won't have that problem.
  • Wildfires
    74,749 wildfires are reported each year, and some of them occur in Oregon. Fire is generally covered in your home insurance policy, but make certain that your insurance company has not specifically excluded wildfires. If it has been excluded, find another company to issue the coverage or contact the state Department of Insurance.

Oregon Homeowners Insurance Optional Coverages

You may also want to look into some optional coverage for your home, to protect it better. One such coverage would be to purchase additional personal property insurance, because the default coverage in a home insurance policy is not usually sufficient to protect your belongings in the event of a total loss. Another coverage that is helpful for homeowners is an umbrella liability policy which extends the amount of your liability insurance. An umbrella liability policy is for general liability coverage, so it would work as a buffer for your car insurance as well as your homeowner's liability protection.

Important Contact Information

Oregon Department of Insurance
PO Box 14480
Salem, OR 97309-0405
Phone: (888) 877-4894
Website

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