26 Jul Three Questions to Ask When Insuring a Vacation Home
Congratulations! You’re getting serious about purchasing that vacation home of your dreams. But before you close on that perfect property, there’s something important – and really easy – that you can do to save money on your investment, protect your asset, and prevent a whole lot of stress. If your vacation home is located in Maine or New Hampshire, for example, then a local agent who knows the area is worth their weight in gold. Unfortunately, most second homeowners aren’t aware of the immense value that a local insurance agent can offer. Here are three crucial questions you should be asking your agent.
Question 1: Do you have access to the correct insurance markets?
Homeowners often make the mistake of adding their new vacation home to their existing homeowner’s policy. And, in some cases, the agent you use may not have access to write insurance in the state of your second home. Even if they do, adding a new vacation home in Maine or New Hampshire to an existing policy in Massachusetts, for example, can be short-sighted for a number of reasons – notably, inadequate coverage and/or coverage from a direct insurance writer. When it comes to getting insurance on a second home, it’s important to think locally. A local agent has access to the right insurance markets and can provide you with a wide range of coverages that you might need.
Question 2: Am I taking advantage of all my savings opportunities?
Many homeowners aren’t aware of all the savings opportunities available to them when insuring a second home. Home insurance companies offer special discounts, or “credits”, for homeowners if they are taking certain precautions, such as purchasing new security equipment or upgrading outdated features of their home. The discounts that usually save the most money off a homeowner’s policy are the age of one’s home, the materials used on the home, roof conditions, security systems, and your payment methods. Some of these discounts are applied when you purchase the policy, and others are added when you make upgrades to your home or policy.
Now, you may be thinking “what are the easiest ways to qualify for credits on my home insurance policy?” The truth is, you can take small steps towards obtaining these discounts like purchasing certain fire and burglar alarms, fire extinguishers, water leak detection alarms, deadbolts, temperature alarms, and more. Each insurance carrier will offer different discount amounts for these updates and gadgets, so be sure to talk with your agent to learn about specific discount amounts and what they have to offer.
Question 3: How familiar are you with the states of ME/NH and their conditions?
Maine and New Hampshire are unique states from the standpoint of weather, temperature, humidity, and storms. With the exception of a few urban areas, these states are largely a patchwork of rural areas, farmland, forestland, mountains, and coastline, which often translates into vast distances from municipal services, utilities, and other service providers. While Maine’s and New Hampshire’s rural geographies makes them great states for vacationing, they pose some challenges from a second homeowner’s perspective. Vacation homes in this part of New England are subject to a range of issues that aren’t universal to Massachusetts or regions across the country. That’s why hiring a local insurance agent who knows the lay of the land is not only convenient, it’s smart from a financial perspective.
Here’s a great example: one of the most common vacation home claims we see is related to frozen and bursting pipes. While an agent somewhat familiar with this exposure may recommend certain coverage there are many other ways to protect against freezing pipes that a local agent would recommend. As we mentioned in the topic of credits above, there are alarms and sensors that not only warn you of the potential of freezing pipes they also may qualify you for further savings. Beyond that, there are best practices to be aware of if you will be away for the winter, such as draining and winterizing pipes. We often will recommend trusted, local services that can do this for you – another benefit to working with a local agent!