Homeowners Insurance in Arkansas
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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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How difficult is it to get a good deal on a homeowner's insurance policy in Arkansas? Well, it's not an easy process. There are several steps that you, your bank, and your insurance company will have to go through to determine your annual premium. And even then, you will still have to do a lot of legwork in order to find the best price. But don't let this deter you from owning your own home. In fact, homeowners insurance is designed to give you peace of mind and help you rest assured that your property will be protected from whatever comes your way.
In the state of Arkansas, many of the major insurance providers are willing to offer the standard HO-3 policy. It is a fairly comprehensive policy which protects against damages to your structure, your personal property, provides liability coverage, and covers medical expenses for anyone who is injured on your property.
|Type of Coverage||Coverage Amount|
|Replacement Cost (Dwelling)||$200,000|
|Replacement Cost (Contents)||$160,000|
HO-3 Policies cover a wide range of scenarios and disasters that may do damage to your home. But not all potential threats to your property are covered. Depending on where you live in the state, you may want to discuss extra coverages with your insurance agent. This helps to make sure you are fully protected - just keep in mind that the more options you add to your policy, the higher your annual premium may be.
Your total premium will be determined by many different factors. Some of those factors include where you live (determined by your zip code), which natural threats are prevalent in the area, property values, and the value of the property you are trying to insure. A larger, more urban city like Little Rock will naturally have higher premiums than somewhere more rural and remote like Bentonville. And it's not just about where you live, either - rates can vary widely between companies, too. You might get a rate quote as low as $1,200 from a company like Progressive, or an annual premium as high as $3,400 from someone like Farmers. That's why shopping around for quotes is so important.
Laws and Requirements
Like most states, you aren't required by any state or federal laws to purchase homeowners insurance. However, if you are paying off your purchase with a mortgage, your lender might make a homeowners insurance purchase a legally binding part of your agreement. You may be left vulnerable to expensive litigation if you fail to honor that part of the agreement. And, of course, you will be 100% responsible for any financial damages which happen to or on your property.
Taking a Home Inventory
Without a home inventory, you can't get an accurate quote from your insurer. A home inventory includes the cost of your property, the house structure, and hard-to-replace contents within your home such as furniture, electronic appliances, and more. An honest and thorough home inventory can help prevent you from underestimating the value of your property - which can protect you from a hefty financial burden in the event of a disaster.
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Choosing What (and How Much) Coverage
Your basic HO-3 policy that many Arkansas home insurance companies offer is fairly comprehensive, but it doesn't cover everything. On top of your basic policy, there are many other factors to consider. Such as:
- Fires - Arkansas only has an average population density of 56 people per square mile. In some areas, that leaves plenty of room for wildfires to cause a lot of damage. But you can rest easy knowing that HO-3 policies cover fire damage in Arkansas.
- Floods - Unfortunately, most standard policies in Arkansas do not cover flood insurance. If your insurer doesn't provide optional additional coverage for flood damage, you may want to consider contacting the National Flood Insurance Program.
- Damage from Winter Storms - Although winter storm damage is less of a threat in Arkansas than in other states, it isn't exactly uncommon, either. That's why HO-3 policies have provisions for winter damage coverage.
- Earthquakes - due to an uptick in geological activity from fracking and other man-made changes to the environment, earthquakes are on the rise in certain parts of the midwest; this includes Kansas. According to the US Geological Survey, there were nearly 300 earthquakes in the state within the past year alone. Many of them are minor, but occasionally they can do some serious property damage. If you are concerned about earthquakes, talk to your insurance agent. They may be able to provide you with a rider to your policy or a separate fee that adds earthquake protection to your policy.
- Covering Your Property - Covering the property inside your home is just as important as the outer structure itself. The "Replacement Costs - Contents" coverage on your policy will help pay for replacing things like damaged furniture, appliances, clothes, and more.
- Liability Coverage - Liability coverage is another cornerstone of typical Arkansas homeowners insurance policies. It protects you from financial damage in the event that someone or something is damaged on your property, and you are determined liable.
- Umbrella Coverage - If you have a large, expensive house or high-dollar contents such as artwork or expensive jewelry, a basic policy may not give you a sufficient amount of coverage. Umbrella coverage is an additional option that lets you purchase additional coverage limits.
Replacement Cost vs. Actual Cash Value
The replacement cost of your property is the total amount your insurance company might pay out for replacing your damaged property with a brand new version. Actual Cash Value, on the other hand, incorporates depreciation into the total dollar amount your insurance company will pay out on a claim. While an Actual Cash Value policy may leave you with a larger financial responsibility if something happens, it will typically lower your annual premium as a result. Replacement Cost policies do the opposite.
How Your Credit Score May Influence Your Rate
Just like with car insurance, your credit history can play a significant factor in how much you end up spending on your annual premiums. However, since purchasing homeowners insurance is such a complicated process, and since you will need to get multiple claims from several companies, most companies do you a favor by not performing "hard" checks on your credit. Hard checks leave a mark on your personal credit history, and too many of them can artificially lower your credit rating.
Instead, homeowners insurance companies typically use what's called a "CLUE" report. These reports don't leave any blemishes on your credit history, but still provide your insurance company with accurate information on how likely you are to file a claim based on your previous history of filed claims with other companies.
For more information, feel free to click any of the links you see in this article. They all lead to more detailed information about homeowner's insurance, specifics on purchasing a policy, and how to find the best deal. You should also contact local resources in your state, such as:
Or contact them directly through the following resources:
Arkansas Insurance Department - Consumer Services Division
1200 W. Third Street
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: 501-371-2640 | Fax: 501-371-2749