When you’re on the road to getting great homeowners insurance, you may be a little hesitant to disclose a few details about yourself. And we’re not talking about your favorite color. Home insurance agents sometimes need certain, sensitive information that many people have been taught to hold near and dear. The good news is that insurance agents know how to keep your information safe and use it to get great rates on your home insurance. So, here are some of the questions you’ll have to be prepared to answer to get home insurance.
10 questions to expect from a home insurance agent.
1. What is your legal name?
Yes, your agent will need your legal first, middle, and last name.
You may go by a nickname or an alias. You may have gotten married or just changed your name in one way or another. In any case, for the purpose of legally binding home insurance documents, your policy will have to have your legal name on it.
2. What is your exact date of birth?
A little white lie about your age can be harmless in your everyday life, but not with an insurance agent. They need your real date of birth.
Insurance companies may use data like your age, gender, and location to determine risk. Carriers may consult some studies about certain behaviors related to age, or there may just be certain regulations on how to insure your age group in your area. Additionally, you may get certain discounts depending on how old you are. So, it’s just best to give your insurance agent your true age so that they can give you the rates and coverage you need.
3. What is your address?
Your agent will need the complete address of the house you’re insuring. After all, it helps to know what they’re insuring, right?
Besides actually knowing what they’re covering, carriers need to know what types of risk you’re prone to for your location. You may live in a high crime area that’s more prone to vandalism or theft. You may live on a fault line that’s more prone to earthquakes. You may even live close to a coastline that’s prone to hurricanes. In any case, your agent will need to know in order to get insurance that can cover those risks.
There may also be certain insurance regulations that your agent has to follow for your location when writing your policy. This is also why you may have a different insurance rate than even someone who lives close by.
4. Are you currently insured?
Your home insurance agent may ask you if you already have home insurance and who you’re insured with. Some carriers may even ask for your current home insurance policy if you are insured. It’s okay to share it with them. There’s no right or wrong answer, and your agent isn’t going to judge you for your choice in coverage.
If you don’t have a home insurance policy already, your agent just needs to know that they’re starting from scratch. If you are insured, your agent just wants to get an idea of the coverages you already have. They may try to give you the same types of coverage or they may state that you’ve been over or underinsured. Overall, they just want to give you a true apples-to-apples comparison of the best options for you.
Additionally, if you’re shopping with an independent agency instead of a direct carrier, your agent will want to make sure that they’re not shopping with the same carrier that you’re trying to leave. Awkward.
5. Do you have a security system for your home?
Insurance companies love things that make your house safer. So, your agent may ask you if you have a monitored, active security system in your home.
Security systems minimize the risk that something might happen to your home because the system can more easily and quickly notify emergency responders. Less damage to your home means less potential claims and less money than your insurance company has to potentially pay. Carriers usually like those odds so much that they might even give you a discount for having a home security system. (It’s one of the common home insurance discounts you should know about.)
6. Is your home in a gated community?
Much like a security system, living in a gated community lowers the risk of something happening to your home. So, even if gated home communities aren’t that common in your area, your agent might ask if you live in one.
Much like security systems, gated communities reduce the risk of damage and theft to your home. They usually have more safety measures for the neighborhood – such as a neighborhood watch, gate guards, or an HOA – which lowers the likelihood of damage, which means less claims and less money that your insurance must potentially pay out. Again, this could also result in a home insurance discount!
7. How old is your home?
Older homes may have certain specific risks that a newer home may not. So, your agent may have a few follow up questions to ask you if you have a house that’s over 30 years old.
An older home may have unique finishes where, if they’re destroyed, it’ll take more time and money to restore the property to a similar state. Also, if you live in an older home, the agent might want to know if the plumbing, roofing, or electrical systems have been upgraded and when.
8. Do you have a pool or a trampoline?
It’s a little known fact, but that fun addition to your backyard may affect your homeowners insurance. Your agent may have follow up questions for these structures including if your yard is fenced in or if your trampoline has a net.
Carriers sometimes call trampolines and pools “attractive nuisances.” Basically, neighborhood kids, passersby, and even trespassers may take it upon themselves to use your source of backyard fun and get hurt. Regardless of whether the person was lawfully on your property or not, they could sue you, which means getting money from your insurance company. Your agent has to know whether you have one of these objects so that they can pair you with the right insurance carrier and get you the coverage you need if something happens.
9. Do you have any pets?
If you have or are thinking about getting a furry friend, you’ll want to check with your agent first. Your type of pet may affect your insurance rates or the type of carrier you need.
Pro tip: Most companies use the American Kennel Club’s list of “dangerous dog breeds” for coverage and living exclusions.
Some insurance companies have a list of “dangerous dog breeds” or “exotic animals” that they won’t insure or that they may insure at a higher premium. It’s nothing personal against your pup. Your agent just needs to know so that they can find a carrier that either doesn’t have one of those lists or one that is a little less hesitant to work with certain pets.
10. Are there any claims you’d like to discuss?
If you’ve ever filed a home insurance claim, it could have affected your insurance score, but it can also help you get coverage specific to your home.
If your agent has a heads-up about certain past home insurance claims, it could help them find coverage specific to the problems you’ve had with your home. They may also ask about past claims to determine your overall risk. So, make sure that you truly consider the reasons you need to file a home insurance claim before you file it.
Answering all of these questions may seem stressful, but hopefully this list gives you more insight into why an agent needs this information. If you’re searching for home insurance quotes, our insurance experts can make the process even less of a headache and save you money! So, give us a call today, fill out our online form, or LiveChat one of our specialists to make sure you’re not missing out on the home insurance you need for an affordable rate.