Pennsylvania Homeowners Insurance

The average Pennsylvania homeowners insurance rate is $48 per month, but your rates can vary based on your coverage needs and the age of your home. Follow our guide below for proactive steps to lower your Pennsylvania home insurance costs, including how additional home security systems can lower your rates.

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Natasha McLachlan is a writer who currently lives in Southern California. She is an alumna of California College of the Arts, where she obtained her B.A. in Writing and Literature. Her current work revolves around insurance guides and informational articles. She truly enjoys helping others learn more about everyday, practical matters through her work.

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent

UPDATED: Nov 9, 2020

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It is important to know how your homeowner’s insurance policy works. Instead of being a single coverage plan for your home, the other buildings and your property, it is a set of parts that work together to cover everything.

The four main sections of home insurance – the dwelling, other structures, personal property and loss-of-use costs – are each governed by acceptable claims based on certain perils. Those perils change from state to state and may or may not be covered in policies issued by all companies. B

y understanding the portions of your policy and the perils common to the state your home is in, you can make better choices about your insurance needs and customize your Pennsylvania homeowners insurance policy for the best coverages and prices.

The four main sections of home insurance are:

  1. Dwelling
    The dwelling is the primary residence on the property, usually your family’s home. It includes any structures that are permanently connected in such a way that removing them would cause damage to the home. Examples of other buildings that would be covered are a garage that is built into the home, or and additional bedroom that was added on and connected via a hole cut in a wall of the primary dwelling. The dwelling portion of the policy is the largest portion, and the premiums are based in large part on the cost of the home, its age and the risks faced by insurance companies in the state and local areas.
  2. Other Structures
    Other structures are constructions built permanently on the property but not connected to the home. A separate guest house is one example of an “other” structure, but being designed for use by people is not a requirement. A shed built around a pump, or to house a boat are both other structures. Even a decorative building, such as an ornamental well, or functional constructions like a fence around the property would fall under the other structures portion of the policy. Unless it is portable, and could be more accurately termed personal property, it is probably going to be an “other” structure for insurance purposes.
  3. Personal Property
    Personal property includes everything you own that is located on the insured property but is not the dwelling or other structures. Personal property is all of your interior possessions such as your clothing and furniture, your wall decorations and appliances, and your music or video collection. Outside the dwelling, personal property includes your lawn tools, your pool equipment and your possessions located in any other structures. Making a video home inventory is the easiest way for you and your insurance company to have a definite reference of the property being insured, but it is still important to save your receipts for cost verification purposes.
  4. Loss of Use
    If something that is covered by your insurance happens and you are not able to use some of the home or even suffer a total loss of the home, your out of pocket expenses related to the inconvenience can be reimbursed through the loss of use section of your policy. The loss does not have to be total, which means you could still be sleeping in the home but unable to cook meals, or wash your laundry, and still be eligible for loss of use reimbursement for the money you spend to do the things that you are not able to do at home. As with your personal property, saving the receipts will expedite your claims by serving as proof of the expenses.

Average Pennsylvania Homeowner Insurance Rates vs. US

Source: USCB

Cheaper Pennsylvania Home Insurance

Home insurance rates vary by state with the average in Pennsylvania homeowners insurance rate being $586/yr ($48/mo). You can take proactive steps to bring it down.

Some of those steps require you to make an initial investment, and others require you to do some work around the place, but they all add up to saving money on your Pennsylvania home insurance without cutting corners on protecting your family’s future.

  • Home Security
    The home burglary rate in Pennsylvania is 4.34 per 1000 homes. Your home can be less vulnerable if you put up a fence around the property, install burglar bars, or have deadbolt locks installed in your doors. All of these things provide you with more security and earn discounts on your home insurance policy. And to get the biggest security discount of all, install a professional alarm system that is monitored around the clock by an off-site company.
  • Reduce Insurance Risks
    Pools can be dangerous to own, and may drive up the cost of your homeowner’s premiums. To make your pool a safer place and to get a discount on your home insurance, consider putting up a fence around the pool with a locking gate that small kids and other people’s pets are unable to get past. And while trimming back the dead trees and branches will not give you an insurance discount, they can prevent you from filing a claim at all, which saves even more money over the course of years.
  • Credit Score and Insurance Risk
    Credit scores and insurance risk are closely tied together. Statistics show that people who maintain a high credit score are also less likely to file frivolous insurance claims, and to take better care of their property. Because of this, insurance companies begin offering discount on insurance premiums to those who have a credit score of 650 or higher. And remember that having a higher credit score also makes you a more likely target for those who steal identities, and guard your credit vigilantly. Check your credit score often, and contact the credit reporting agencies as soon as you notice a discrepancy. Identity theft has become a major white collar crime, but keeping an eye on your own credit will help you prevent such things from happening to you and provide you plenty of time to correct errors when they happen.

Home Characteristics Affecting Pennsylvania Insurance Rates

The average age of a home and how well it is taken care of play a role in determining the rates involved in insuring it. In your state, the average age of a home is 50 years, and the average cost of homes is $164,700, both of which can be important numbers. The materials the home is built of are also important, because a brick home that is 50 years years old can be assumed to be in better overall condition than a wooden home, if all other factors are the same.

Local Natural Disasters Pennsylvania Homeowners Should Consider Protecting Against

One of the primary reasons for having a homeowner’s policy is to protect you from the forces of nature. Most common natural problems are included in a homeowner’s policy, but some are not and others are subject to be excluded if they occur frequently in your area. Here is a quick breakdown of what you are likely to face in Pennsylvania, and some hints on how to get the coverage that might not be included by default.

  • Earthquakes
    Ranked at 32 out of 51, Pennsylvania is not likely to experience a severe earthquake, but minor tremors are possible. For your protection, it is probably a good idea to get earthquake coverage, even if you have to go through a high risk insurer to do so.
  • Flood
    Pennsylvania homeowners filed 629 claims in 2009, out of 46,621 claims filed nationwide. Flooding is one natural occurrence that is never included in a standard home insurance policy and may not even be available from high risk insurers. If you have trouble getting flood insurance, contact your state Department of Insurance and ask about the FAIR plan or other high risk insurance pools established for this specific purpose.
  • Hail
    Hail is usually classified as wind damage and included in a standard home insurance policy. If it has been excluded from your policy, check with other local insurance companies, and if that fails, contact high risk insurers. You should be able to get hail coverage without resorting to the Department of Insurance.
  • Hurricanes
    Hurricanes are rare in Pennsylvania, but they do happen from time to time. For most purposes, the damages associated with hurricanes are covered in the standard policy, including wind and rain damage. What will not be covered is flooding, which will require you to purchase special coverage, either from a high risk insurance company or through a high risk pool such as the FAIR plan. Contact your state Department of Insurance to find out where to call in your area.
  • Tornadoes
    Pennsylvania only reports around 9 tornadoes each year, which is a relatively low number. Unless your policy specifically excludes tornadoes, you should be covered under the wind damages portion of the policy. Your primary concern in this respect is going to be flooding, which often occurs during tornadoes but is never part of a standard homeowner’s policy.
  • Wildfires
    Each year, the national number of wildfires is around 74,749, and they are a concern in every state in the country. Unless they are specifically excluded in your policy, the fire damage portion of the policy should have you covered. If wildfires are excluded, contact high risk insurance companies to get the coverage you need.

Pennsylvania Homeowners Insurance Optional Coverages

Two areas of insurance that are provided in your homeowner’s policy but may not be sufficient are your liability coverage and your personal property insurance. Liability insurance pays the medical costs of people outside of your family who are injured on the property as well as any lawsuits associated with those injuries. An umbrella liability policy is one of the best ways to get more of this type of coverage and it has the added benefit of working across multiple policies, such as your car insurance and home insurance. Personal property coverage in a home insurance policy is only valued at a percentage of your home insurance policy, and is not typically enough to cover all of your possessions if you are struck by a total loss. To compensate, you can pick up a personal property policy that provides more coverage, or request additional coverage on your existing home policy.

Important Contact Information

Pennsylvania Department of Insurance
1326 Strawberry Square
Harrisburg, PA17120
Phone: (717) 787-2317
Website

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