Reno-Tahoe real estate: Getting the best rates on homeowners insurance | SierraSun.com

Reno-Tahoe real estate: Getting the best rates on homeowners insurance

Avis Cherry
Special to the Sun-Bonanza

Pricing for a homeowner policy is based on several different variables. Therefore, you need to be familiar with those variables prior to researching your insurance options.

In fact, in order to obtain the best rate, talk with a couple different insurance companies prior to purchasing a policy.

Here is a short list of factors that may increase your rate.

Age of Home and Building Materials

The age of your home and the materials it is made of can affect your homeowners insurance premiums.

For example, older homes tend to develop problems in specific areas, such as electrical, plumbing, roofing and foundation. Renovations may reduce the risks of these common problem areas and help keep your insurance rate down.

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Location. Location. Location.

We all know that location is one of the most important factors when buying any type of real estate. And as it turns out, location is also one of the most important factors in regards to insurance rates.

Some insurers use data about which neighborhoods have more claims than others, others look for signs that a particular area is more prone to earthquakes and/or flooding.

Credit Rating

Insurance companies may charge higher insurance premiums to homeowners with lower credit scores.

Just another reason to pay your bills on time and avoid accumulating high levels of debt.

Attractive Nuisances

This is a category that may include some fun, but dangerous, criteria that could increase your liability.

Dogs are the most common example as they account for roughly one-third of all home insurance liability claims.

While some insurance companies increase rates depending a specific breed, others are claiming to be "pet friendly" and may offer better rates.

A few other examples of "attractive nuisances" include swimming pools, trampolines, and tree houses.

Multiple Claims

Typically, filing a single claim will not result in higher rates. However, making two claims in a two or three-year period may trigger a price hike.

Many insurance providers base their decisions on how long you have been with the company and the nature of the claim. Most insurers agree that homeowner claims resulting from weather or other natural catastrophes do not result in higher rates.

So, is there anything you can do to keep your homeowners insurance at an affordable rate? Yes, you can be smart by checking rates from other companies at least once every year or two; asking about discounts; and perhaps even increasing your deductible. Although, keep your deductible at an amount you can afford to pay should an incident occur.

For more homeowner information or to find a licensed real estate professional, please contact the Sierra Nevada Association of Realtors at 775.885.7200 or http://www.snar.org.

Avis Cherry is president of the Sierra Nevada Association of Realtors and is a Realtor with Charles Kitchen Realty in Carson City. You can contact Avis at 775-741-3344 or via email at ACherry@CarsonCityRealEstate.net.