First-Time Home Buyer? Get to Know Homeowners Insurance

Owning a Home Understanding Insurance

Protect your home (and everything in it) for years to come.

Congrats on deciding to buy your first home. It’s an exciting (if perhaps a little intimidating) step. But your home with your stuff? How cool is that?

Like anything you own that carries special meaning (your car, jewelry, musical instruments, etc.), you’ll want to protect your new home as best you can. Your mortgage lender will require you to purchase a homeowners insurance policy prior to your closing. So, before you “sign here” and “initial here,” you’ll want to shop for a policy about the time you memorize your new address.

And what better way to take that next, big step than with the peace of mind that you’ll be protected for years to come? Better yet, consider going with an agent who represents several insurance carriers and can find ways you can save, including by bundling your homeowners and auto insurance.

“Your new home is about to become the most valuable asset you own,” said Alicia Williams, Insurance Specialist at SELCO Insurance Services. “It’s vital to protect your new investment with a quality homeowners insurance policy.”

To get you started, here are a few ins and outs of homeowners insurance:

What’s excluded

Homeowners insurance protects quite a bit. But there are a few exclusions, including:

  • Natural disasters. If a well-maintained tree on your property pierces your roof during a windstorm, your homeowners policy will likely help you foot the bill. But for other natural disasters, like earthquakes and flooding, separate policies will be needed.   
  • Preventable events. Mold, pest infestations, and leaks from worn-out roofs—all avoidable with reasonable home maintenance—are examples of unfortunate setbacks not covered on a standard policy.
  • Certain water damage. Water damage can be tricky, so be sure to connect with your agent to determine what is and isn’t covered. For instance, if an automatic sprinkler causes flooding inside the house, your insurance most likely wouldn’t cover the damage.

What it will protect

When you hear the term “homeowners insurance,” your first thought may be that it only covers the house itself—the physical structure. But a standard homeowners policy actually protects much more than that, including:

  • Dwelling. If your house or any attached structures (e.g., a garage or deck) are damaged by a covered peril (fire, lightning strikes, theft, etc.), dwelling coverage helps pay for repairs or replacement. Make sure to ask your agent about extended dwelling replacement cost coverage, so you have an extra blanket in case the base limit isn’t enough due to inflation.
  • Other structures. Should one of the above events damage a detached structure on your property (like a fence or shed), this will help with repair or replacement costs.
  • Personal property. If your furniture, electronics, paintings—really any personal belonging on your property—are stolen or destroyed, they can be replaced by this coverage.

In a nutshell, homeowners insurance can be there to help protect your home and personal property in the event of a covered loss. However, it is best reserved for major losses. Depending on your deductible, you’ll definitely want to draw a line between when to file or not file a claim, and be sure to discuss any questions or concerns with your agent.

Knowing your investment is protected can make the home-buying experience that much more enjoyable. No matter where your insurance search leads you, make sure to:

  • Ask questions: Insurance agents are professionals, ready to help you understand the ins and outs of your policy options. That’s what they’re there for!
  • Shop around: You likely didn’t stop looking at the first house you saw, and the same should go for your insurance. This step can be a lot of work, but a SELCO Insurance Services agent will gladly do the heavy lifting for you! You can also visit to get a free quote at any time.
  • Understand the value: There are plenty of ways to save on homeowners insurance through discounts and bundling, but it’s important to remember that a lot more goes into a great policy than just the price.
  • Start early: The sooner your insurance search begins, the more options you’ll have to choose from, and the more prepared you’ll be to make just the right decision.

“By getting an early jump, your agent will have plenty of time to determine the appropriate level of coverage for your new home,” Williams said. “And by getting that out of the way, when it’s time to move in, all you’ll need to do is turn the key.”

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