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Thread: Homeowners' Insurance question

  1. #1
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    Homeowners' Insurance question

    As the completion date (3/31) for my house nears, I must find homeowners' insurance. I need some advice on what should I look for when shopping for a policy. This is my first home, so I am real novice at this. The house is a total rehab. Here are some particulars.

    Size: 2 1/2 stories - 2,800 sq. foot townhouse plus basement
    Age: 91 years old
    New Stuff: windows, roofs, HVAC, plumbing, electricity, gas hookups to BGE, flooring,
    the garage has a new roof,
    Old Stuff - sub flooring, stairs, party walls
    Security - Will have a police-linked security system
    Location - Central/West Baltimore in a neighborhood in positive transition
    Topography - Sits on the crest of a hill. If a flood were to occur, it should roll away from us
    I am recognizing that the voice inside my head
    is urging me to be myself but never follow someone else
    Because opinions are like voices we all have a different kind". --Q-Tip

  2. #2
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    make sure....

    Make sure you get replacement costs for all items in the house....try to get insurance from your car insurance company....to save 20% or 30%. Get min. 300k liability 500k if available and make sure it covers your dogs if you have them.....Also make sure that you get adequate coverage to keep you in housing in the event your home burns down.....the more the better......

    In general, load up....because you'll never pay more than us poor bastards in Florida My previous home insurance bill in a fire prone colorado mountain area outside Denver = $300yr......Florida is fully 6x as much
    Skilled Adoxographer

  3. #3
    Be able to provide as much documentation about the rehab (CofO, inspections/approvals of wiring, plumbing et cetera) to provide to your prospective agents. Don't forget to place values on your furnishings and especially any high dollar jewelry, antiques, art and so forth. Be sure that you are insuring your equity in the property (if it's mortgaged then the bank is insured for its loan value).

    Consider full replacement value for comparable construction (eg, the details that make a historic home preferable to new construction such as tall ceilings/windows, 5/4" hardwood mouldings and details and on and on).

    Here in the Louisville market, my home and contents are insured for about $145k and I pay about $600/year. I need to get hold of my agent, though, because I'm probably a little under-insured.
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  4. #4
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    If it is ever destroyed, think about the costs of removing the debris. It can be a killer, especially on older homes.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Mtn Woman's avatar
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    Don't forget the earthquake insurance! You may laugh but there was a magnitude 2.0 quake in Maryland just 2 weeks ago! Ya never know
    Living and dreaming are two different things-but you can't do one without the other."
    -Malcolm Forbes

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Also, consider adding a rider that would cover the cost of replacing your main sewer line. This can be incredibly expensive, especially if whoever provides the sewer service requires that the property owner be responsible for the lateral out to the main line in the street. My in laws had to replace their sewer line right before christmas. They got 5 quotes, the lowest was $7000 and the highest was $16000. We added a rider for it just last month (added about $100 per year to our coverage)

    Our policy would cover rebuilding the house and replaciing it's contents up to $150,000. It also covers things like fire, water damage, etc. The one thing we don't have is coverage in case of an earthquake. We live on a major fault line and we have a brick structure. We are also on a steep hiil. Earthquake insurance would more than triple the cost of our home owners insurance.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    If your property has ever had an oil furnace, I'd also suggest clean up insurance.

    Also know the distance to the closest fire hydrant, it seemed to have made a difference when I owned a house.

    Also be careful about disclosing the exact age of your house, I almost lost my insurance when I told the agent the year my house was built, they where fine with before 1960, but not ok with 1881.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  8. #8
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    With older/historic homes a potential issue is the ability to rebuild the home or a comparable home on the lot in the event of total or near total loss considering the current zoning and development regs. In the case of my 1930's bungalow I'd have a very hard time rebuilding the same house due to changes in set backs, lot coverage limits, sq. footage requirements etc. Many insurance companies (I use USAA) offer a rider for this issues as well as special coverage programs for historic homes, which might be worth looking into.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    I've called a couple of insurance agencies, and some do not insure homes that are in a designated historic district. Anyone else run into this problem?
    I am recognizing that the voice inside my head
    is urging me to be myself but never follow someone else
    Because opinions are like voices we all have a different kind". --Q-Tip

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Don't forget check into Flood Insurance, which is seperate from std. HO.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
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    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  11. #11
    Quote Originally posted by the north omaha star
    I've called a couple of insurance agencies, and some do not insure homes that are in a designated historic district. Anyone else run into this problem?
    Contact the local Fair Housing agency / advocacy organization. This is redlining and it is illegal under the act. Seriously. CALL!
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  12. #12
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nagem
    With older/historic homes a potential issue is the ability to rebuild the home or a comparable home on the lot in the event of total or near total loss considering the current zoning and development regs. In the case of my 1930's bungalow I'd have a very hard time rebuilding the same house due to changes in set backs, lot coverage limits, sq. footage requirements etc. Many insurance companies (I use USAA) offer a rider for this issues as well as special coverage programs for historic homes, which might be worth looking into.
    The new Chicago codes have "prevailing conditions" exceptions that allow you to violate zoning regs if everybody else on your block has already done it (wrt setbacks, etc). So the only time that could happen would be if your house is exceptional for the neighborhood.

  13. #13

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    Don't ever use it....

    I found out the hard way that homeowner's insurance is only to be used for catastrophic claims these days. When I moved out of state and bought a new house last year, I had a very hard time finding a company that would accept me as a customer since I had filed two claims in the previous 3 years. One was weather related roof damage and the other was a result of our old home being burglarized.

    As a result, I am paying about 3x the market rate that I would otherwise be paying. The weather claim drops off in July, so I hope to be able to get my rate back down to a reasonable level this summer.

    The second claim really bugged me since I was moving from a very urban area in a major SW US city to a suburban area where property crime is negligible 1000 miles away. How exactly did this make me too great of a risk? Did I mention that we also moved from a 65 year old house to a new build? I'll stop my rant now....

  14. #14
    Cyburbian iamme's avatar
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    Because you can never be too careful, I always max out my volcano insurance.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    We live in a historic district. The house needed alot of work when we first took on the project. I had one company turn me down because the garage leaned. One said that we had to rewire the old wiring before they would insure. We did and they never even came back in the house to look and see what we had done.

    I have never filed a claim on home owners. I am sure hoping for a really good hail storm to help me get the roof replaced.

    The company we finally went with insisted that it be insured for over twice the value but not replacement. I asked them just how crazy they were. If she burns I am taking the money and running!
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

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