Homeowners Insurance in Oregon
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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Are you getting ready to purchase your first home in Oregon? Well, let us be the first to congratulate you on your accomplishment. But we also have to warn you - it's not going to be easy. This is especially true for the homeowners insurance search. Finding out how much your property is worth, and then getting the best deal on your premiums, is a task that will take some time and effort to complete. But if you do it right, it'll be worth it in the long run.
The insurance industry loves to standardize things - especially certain types of insurance policies. That's why the most common type of homeowners insurance policy is known as an HO-3 special form. It has open perils coverage for your structure, which means your claim will be honored for any sort of damage that is not specifically excluded as per your policy. The coverage of your personal property is a little more limited, but still contains more named perils than other home insurance policies.
|Types of Coverage||Coverage Amount|
|Replacement Cost (Dwelling)||$300,000|
|Replacement Cost (Contents)||$150,000|
Property values are fairly high on average. That's why our chart above details the coverage limits you should expect to purchase for a $300,000 home. But there are ways you can tweak your coverage in order to save money on your premiums. You can reduce your Part A coverage to 80% of your home's total worth, or you can raise your deductible for lower annual premiums. Increasing coverage for Part C (personal property) or liability will likely raise your premiums somewhat.
Oregon has its fair share of vulnerability to natural disasters; despite this, homeowners insurance premiums are still surprisingly low throughout much of the state. But don't let this be an excuse to avoid shopping around. Getting multiple quotes from different providers can make a $400 difference or more in your annual premium payments.
Laws and Requirements
There are no laws - be they state or federal - that say you must purchase homeowners insurance. This is because the government doesn't need to compel you; your bank does that job for them. All home loans have clauses in them that mandate you carry homeowners insurance coverage for the life of your mortgage. And even after the loan gets paid off, it's still a smart idea to maintain a policy.
Taking a Home Inventory
How important is your home inventory? The short answer: very. Your home inventory, especially for the part C coverage on your HO-3 policy, will have a significant influence on how much coverage you end up purchasing. If you purchase too much because you have a poorly documented home inventory, then you will be wasting money every year on unnecessarily high premiums. But if you low-ball your home inventory, then you might not have enough coverage if you ever have to file a claim. And that can land some pretty hefty repair/replacement expenses at your feet.
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Choosing What (and How Much) Coverage
Most Oregon homeowners insurance policies will incorporate Dwelling and Personal Property Coverage, Liability Coverage, Medical Payments Coverage, and Additional Living Expenses Coverage into a standard policy. You may also need coverage for:
- Fires - During the dry season, wildfires can wreak havoc across the rural countryside of Oregon. Thankfully, there are provisions which pay out claims for damage from wildfires. But you should still be doing what you can to protect yourself in other ways, such as clearing a natural firebreak around your property.
- Floods - In the dry season, you have to worry about wildfires; during the other half of the year, Oregon residents have to worry about water damage. Because most insurance companies don't want to deal with the expensive hassle of paying out water damage claims, FEMA set up the National Flood Insurance Program. You should look them up, or contact your insurance agent for more details.
- Damage from Winter Storms - The plains of Oregon might not get too much snowfall each year, but up in the mountains it's a different story. Either way, your typical HO-3 policy has you covered from most types of winter storm damage.
- Covering Your Property - disasters usually don't just damage the physical structure of your home - they can destroy your personal property as well. Most Oregon homeowners insurance companies recommend purchasing a coverage amount equal to approximately 50% of your property's value.
- Liability Coverage - Liability coverage helps pay out claims filed when someone is injured or another's property is damaged while on your land. Most homeowners insurance policies will contain some provision for liability coverage.
- Umbrella Coverage - some insurance companies will only sell you a policy which covers your home and property up to a certain dollar amount. If you require more coverage, this is usually provided by an umbrella coverage policy.
Replacement Cost vs. Actual Cash Value
Here's the lowdown on these two different types of coverage options. If you opt for replacement cost coverage, then any claims you file will be honored at 100% of however much it costs to repair or replace that aspect of your property. The catch is that your annual premiums will be higher. But you won't have to worry about paying for any of it as long as you pay your deductible in full when your insurer asks for it.
Actual cash value puts a little more money in your pocket as far as premiums go, but gives you a larger financial burden if you do have to file a claim. In addition to the cost of your deductible, your insurance will subtract the depreciation of your damaged or destroyed property from your claim payout. Whether that's your roof or your television, you're going to have to pay for whatever your insurance company doesn't.
How Your Credit Score May Influence Your Rate
In Oregon, you should have a conversation with your prospective insurer about your credit score before even requesting a sample quote. Many states don't let homeowners insurance companies perform the same in-depth credit check on you as, say, your bank did when they approved your mortgage. You'll want to make sure nobody is performing a "hard" credit check on you when you're requesting sample quotes. Too many hard checks will tank your FICO credit score - which is the entirety of your credit history - and can have severe economic repercussions for you in the future.
If they mention a "CLUE" report or tell you that they only look at a limited snapshot of your credit history, then you're in the clear. These types of checks are referred to as "soft" checks, and won't leave a footprint on your overall credit score. Lastly, they usually reflect your credit in a more favorable light, which can help you reduce your annual home insurance premium even more.
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:
Oregon Division of Financial Regulation
P.O. Box 14480
Salem, OR 97309-0405
Call 1-888-877-4894 (toll-free) for insurance help
Email: [email protected]