If you’re in the process of purchasing a new home, on your bank paperwork, you may have noticed something called “mortgage insurance.” Not sure what it is? There are several different types of insurance that homeowners should be familiar with. Here, I will explain the basics.
Title insurance from the seller comes from the title company. It protects home owners and lenders from damage or property loss that may happen because of liens or other defects in the title to the property. Each title insurance policy is subject to specific terms, exclusions, and conditions.
Homeowner’s insurance/hazard insurance/fire insurance is a policy issued from an insurance company and it protects your property as well as the contents and possessions inside. It also provides liability coverage against accidents in the home or on the property. At closing, homeowners will pay for the first year’s policy in full.
This type of insurance is not a benefit to a homebuyer. When a lender provides a loan and the buyer puts less than 20% down on the purchase, the lender takes a bigger risk. If the buyer ends up defaulting on the loan and they don’t have much “skin” in the game, it’s possible that the lender won’t cover their loan amount when it comes time to liquidate the property. This cost can be paid within your monthly mortgage payment or up front and it will cover the lender’s loss if something were to happen. For some types of loans, particularly FHA loans, the premium will last for the life of the loan, even though your equity position might get you above the 20% mark. Conventional financing will typically have a provision for mortgage insurance that can be removed once the homeowner has 20% equity in the home.
Buying a home requires many different steps and there is a lot of research that is required. The insurance process can be complex and sometimes confusing, especially if you haven’t gone through the home buying process before, and that’s one of the many reasons why it is important to work with a well-qualified, experienced, hands-on Realtor. If you have questions about it, I’m happy to sit down and talk with you about any questions you may have!
Buying a home is filled with a lot of details and it can definitely be overwhelming. It can be easy to overlook the importance of homeowner’s insurance, but it is actually one of the most important parts of buying a home. Homeowner’s insurance will help protect you in the event that something happens to your home. Here are some important tips that will help you before you sign the dotted line on your new home purchase.
Tip #1: Compare coverage between companies.
Your mortgage lender will likely require you to obtain homeowner’s insurance and while you aren’t required to buy from a specific company, you should do your research on various companies and compare coverage, customer service reviews, and other important price details. Most of the time you won’t need to use your homeowner’s insurance coverage unless there has been some sort of emergency or disaster, so be sure that customer service ratings are high. In addition, don’t always look for the lowest price – instead compare value and what you’re getting for the coverage.
Tip #2: Make sure you’re getting the right amount of coverage.
Not sure what kind of coverage you need? Talk to your real estate agent as well as your insurance representative. The most important part of homeowner’s insurance is the level of coverage and you don’t want to pay for more than you really need. Talk about which policies are best for your specific home and area, and be sure that you understand the details of the policies that are offered. Then, determine which coverage works with your budget.
Tip #3: Keep your policy updated.
Once you pick the policy you want, make sure that you keep it up to date. For example, if you decide to put an addition onto the back of your home or if you remodel the bathroom or kitchen, be sure that your insurance company knows so they can adjust your coverage accordingly. This will protect you further down the road in case something unfortunate happens.
If you have questions on what your basic homeowner’s insurance should cover, I’m happy to discuss! Your home is probably the largest and most important investment that you’ll make in your lifetime, so making sure you have the right coverage that will effectively insure you and your family in the event of a problem is priceless.