Homeowners Insurance in Ohio
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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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First time home buyers in Ohio have a lot to look forward to. Your property values are much lower than the national average, and so are your homeowners insurance premiums. Although the process of shopping for home insurance can be unpleasant and tedious, you will be sure to get a great deal of you follow our handy advice in this guide.
Many people often wonder what the most popular type of homeowners insurance is. There is a simple answer to that question: the HO-3 special form policy. This policy provides more comprehensive coverage than almost any other homeowners insurance policy, but it does so at some of the most affordable rates available in the market today.
|Types of Coverage||Coverage Amount|
|Replacement Cost (Dwelling)||$150,000|
|Replacement Cost (Contents)||$100,000|
The chart above reflects average coverage amounts for a $150,000 home. Typically, liability coverage is set at at least $100k, medical payments coverage options start at $1,000, and property coverage should be at least 50% of your home's total value. As far as your deductible goes, you have the option to raise it above $500 if you want to lower your annual premium. But you can't set your deductible below five hundred dollars.
In general, Ohio homeowners insurance premiums can be around $300 cheaper than other states in the nation, with certain exceptions. Ohio cities which are located near water, the southern border of the state, or in high crime areas will see higher premiums due to the increased frequency of claims filed. Toledo, as you can see from the charts, is a prime example of this phenomenon.
Laws and Requirements
The only entity that can compel you to purchase homeowners insurance is your bank - specifically, the bank that is managing your mortgage loan. You may be living in the home and making payments on it, but until it is fully paid off, your bank still retains a majority stake ownership in that asset. Naturally, they want that asset protected. Even if you do own your home outright, either by paying cash or having finished paying off your mortgage, it's still a very good idea to have financial protection covering such a large, expensive investment.
Taking a Home Inventory
Ah, the home inventory...it's as necessary for the insurance purchasing process as it is difficult to do right. But do yourself a favor and take your time with it. Catalogue every major (and to some extent, minor) piece of property you own. And make sure you record its true value while you're at it. Overestimating its worth will inflate your annual premium, costing you more money than you need to spend. But underestimating your property just to get a lower insurance rate may cost you bigly if you ever have to file a claim.
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Choosing What (and How Much) Coverage
The basic HO-3 policy that many Ohio home insurance companies offer does not necessarily cover every potential disaster that your home or your property may face. Before you sign the paperwork on your policy, make sure to talk to your insurance agent about:
- Wind/Hail - Like many states, homeowners insurance companies in Ohio are charging a separate deductible for wind and hail damage. It may either be a flat rate, or a percentage of your home's insured value. Make sure you discuss this deductible with your insurance agent so that you know exactly how much you'll be paying in the event that you have to file one of these claims.
- Floods - It's rare to find a private insurance company that is willing to sell flood insurance to homeowners. For the past several years, that task has been left to the National Flood Insurance Program, administered by FEMA. But if you simply must have a private option, there may be companies in your area you can contact. You'll just have to ask around.
- Damage from Winter Storms - Average snowfall rates in Ohio can climb as high as 70" per year, especially in northern counties. The more snow you get, the more likely it is do damage your home or your structure. But with an HO-3 policy, both your home and its contents will be covered in the event of damage. All you have to do is file a claim, and pay your deductible.
- Mine Subsidence Coverage - did you know there are more than 4,000 abandoned coal mines within the state of Ohio alone? Sometimes, these mines cause homes to sink into the earth if they are too close to an old mine. Certain counties are required to sell you this coverage if subsidence is a danger in your area. The state-sponsored program provides a maximum of $300,000 in coverage, and requires a deductible ranging from $250 - $500, depending on the value of your home. Be sure to ask your insurance agent about subsidence coverage in your county, and whether it's included or requires an endorsement on your policy.
- Covering Your Property - Pay very close attention to this section of your homeowner's insurance policy. Unlike coverage for your domicile, there are only certain perils that your insurance company will pay out claims for in the event that your personal property is damaged. For additional coverage against perils that aren't on the "named perils" list, you may need to purchase a special endorsement.
- Liability Coverage - What happens when someone gets injured on your property due to negligence by you as a homeowner? They might sue. And if they win that lawsuit, you won't be adversely affected in a financial way thanks to your liability coverage (sadly, it does not protect against any social fallout).
- Umbrella Coverage - Given the reasonable home prices in the state, it's unlikely for most homeowners to need this type of coverage. But if you happen to have a home valued at higher than what your insurance company is willing to cover you for, then an umbrella policy may be necessary.
Replacement Cost vs. Actual Cash Value
Before you finalize your homeowners insurance policy, you'll need to get a firm understanding for the terms "replacement cost" and "actual cash value". Replacement cost usually refers to claims filed for damages to your structure, and will honor 100% of the replacement/repair costs minus your deductible.
Actual cash value usually covers your personal property, and doesn't pay out as much as replacement cost coverage; however, it will make you eligible for lower premiums. An example of actual cash value would be if you filed a claim on a stolen TV. The older the television is, the more it will have depreciated in value since you purchased it. And the more depreciation there is, the less your insurance company will pay out on your claim.
How Your Credit Score May Influence Your Rate
Ohio is one of many states where homeowners insurance providers use your CLUE report when determining your premiums. A CLUE report is a limited snapshot of your credit history, usually only going back seven years and only showing your provider your history with other insurance companies and similar entities. This can help get you a better rate, and prevents too many "hard" credit checks from ruining your total credit score.
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:
Ohio Department of Insurance
50 W. Town Street
Third Floor - Suite 300
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Consumer Hotline: 1-800-686-1526