UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Are you familiar with the homeowner’s insurance buying process? We’re guessing that if you’re here reading this, then you’d like to learn more about it. And we’re happy to help! We understand that it can seem like an overwhelming task. But with a few helpful pointers, you’ll be able to navigate the market and find the most affordable premium for your home insurance policy.
Across the homeowner’s insurance industry, and in several states (Missouri included), the most popular type of policy is classified as HO-3. It provides very comprehensive open peril coverage for your external structure. There is also a fairly long list of named perils which cover any damage to the personal property within your home. Lastly, you won’t have to worry about accidents on your property – even if they result in injury – because these policies provide coverage for those events as well.
|Types of Coverage||Coverage Amount|
|Replacement Cost (Dwelling)||$250,000|
|Replacement Cost (Contents)||$150,000|
One difference you’ll find in Missouri that you won’t find in most other states are the coverage limits on liability and medical expense payments. For medical payments, Missouri insurance companies allow nearly double the coverage of most other states. And they also seem to include an extra $50,000 in coverage for liability payouts, too.
Aside from Springfield, and cities like it, average homeowners insurance premiums in Missouri are pretty uniform. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t expensive. While Missouri is only about $50 higher than the national average, it pays to shop around for the best deal. It could make a difference of almost $2,000 per year on your premiums!
Laws and Requirements
Guess what? There’s no state law that says Missouri homeowners have to purchase home insurance. And there’s no federal law, either! But before you get too excited, let us explain a few things. Anyone who is paying a mortgage will likely sign some paperwork from their bank promising to purchase homeowners coverage. And if you don’t follow through with that promise, there’s a good chance you will lose your house. If you own your house outright, though, the decision to purchase coverage is up to you. But if you don’t, and you get hit by one of many of Missouri’s natural disasters, you’re on your own as far as repair costs are concerned.
Taking a Home Inventory
Lots of homeowners get into trouble where home inventories are concerned. You should start by taking one before you start shopping for coverage, and update it yearly to make sure your coverage is adequate. But let’s be honest: a home inventory, especially the very first one, is a tedious burden. But underestimating or overestimating the value of your property could result in either insufficient coverage or excessively high premiums, respectively.
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Choosing What (and How Much) Coverage
In Missouri, there are dozens of perils that could strike your home at any time. We’ve decided to cover the most important ones in this list. If you are worried about available coverage for one of these situations, or if you are concerned with a coverage not listed here, be sure to let your insurance agent know:
- Fires – HO-3 policies don’t just cover fire and damage from fire, but they also cover smoke damage, too. Lastly, if the fire damage to your home was started by a lightning strike, your insurance will also have you covered in that situation.
- Earthquakes – Unfortunately, you must purchase earthquake insurance separately. Most of Missouri doesn’t really have to worry about this peril; however, the southeastern corner of the state has been hit by several earthquakes in the recent past. In the previous year alone, 207 quakes have rocked the Show Me state. While many of them are small and harmless, you can never be too careful.
- Floods – The eastern border of Missouri is marked by the western bank of the Mississippi River. And there are plenty of other rivers, lakes, and tributaries which run throughout the state. In the event of a flood, the damage can be devastating – and also very expensive. Most insurance companies, in the name of preserving profits, are unwilling to take on such a risk. Because of this, the National Flood Insurance Program was born. If you want flood insurance but can’t find a provider who will give it to you, your best bet is to contact the NFIP.
- Damage from Winter Storms – Missouri spans a series of latitudes. As such, the amount of snow (and winter storm damage) that northern Missourians experience may be much more severe than those who live to the south. Regardless, your structure is covered against such damage. And if structural damage to your home results in property damage, you should be covered there, too.
- Covering Your Property – The difference between structural coverage on your home and property coverage has to do with what perils are – and aren’t covered. For property coverage, your personal belongings are only protected if the peril in question is listed on the “named perils” list of your policy. Make sure you know exactly what these perils are before you decide on a policy.
- Liability Coverage – If you’re worried about something happening on your property that either damages someone else’s or causes someone injury (or both), then you’ll want as much liability coverage as you can get. And in Missouri, homeowners are allowed to purchase more than the typical homeowner, which is fortunate for those who want more coverage.
- Umbrella Coverage – The average estimate of a $250k home we mentioned earlier is exactly that – an estimate. In reality, home values can soar up into the millions. And for domiciles that expensive, an average homeowner’s policy just won’t cover it. You’ll have to purchase umbrella coverage, which will adequately supplement your needs.
Replacement Cost vs. Actual Cash Value
Has your agent introduced you to the concepts of “replacement cost” or “actual cash value”?. Luckily, they aren’t very hard to understand. replacement cost is pretty simple to understand; if you file a claim on your structure, then your homeowners insurance company will pay 100% of your claim to get your structure repaired. Actual cash value, on the other hand, does incorporate depreciation. An older fridge damaged by an electrical surge, for example, may cost over a thousand dollars to replace brand-new, but your insurer will only pay out a fraction of that price.
How Your Credit Score May Influence Your Rate
Different types of financial activities will require different types of checks on your credit history. Some, such as applying for a car loan, will perform a “hard” check. While this might help the bank get a better idea of a fair rate, it will also leave a blemish on your report. And credit report blemishes are just like real-life ones; the more of them you have, the worse you look.
Credit checks are thankfully more lenient when it comes to homeowners insurance. Most of the time, your insurer will only go back in time a maximum of 7 years in order to evaluate your premium. And it won’t leave a mark on your credit report, either; so feel free to request as many quotes as you want! It’ll definitely help you save money, especially if you have good credit.
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:
Missouri Department of Insurance
Truman State Office Building
P.O. Box 690
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Phone: 573-751-4126 | Fax: 573-526-4898