It’s easy to assume that tragedies and disasters are things that happen only to others—never to ourselves. But the truth is that protecting yourself financially against events like storm damage, fire, wind storms, flooding, earthquakes and even theft or vandalism may mean the difference between keeping your home, or losing it to consequence. Homeowner’s insurance can save you and your family when you need a life raft most.
The first question most people wonder about homeowner’s insurance is what it will cost them per month for their premiums. The answer is complicated, because the cost of insuring your home depends upon a number of factors. These include:
- The proximity of your home to a fire hydrant, police station or fire department
- The structural type of your home and how well it stands up to potential local disasters (earthquakes, storms)
- The presence of preventative systems in your home like burglar alarms or sprinkler systems
- The history of damages incurred on the property in the course of previous disasters (such as floods, earthquakes or seasonal fires)
- Whether or not you carry other insurance policies (such as auto or life) with the same insurer
- Age of the home
- Proximity of your home to sources of potential damage, such as homes on a river, or beach-front properties
That said, it is possible to give some estimates on what a homeowner’s policy may cost. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average cost per year for new home insurance in the United States in 2008 (the latest year available) was $791, or about $66 per month. But premiums vary widely from locality to locality and state to state. Homeowner’s premiums are highest in Texas, where average annual premiums are $1,460; Idaho is the cheapest at just under $400. Other states in which premiums are high are subject to a number of natural disasters, and include Florida (hurricanes), Louisiana (hurricanes and flooding), Oklahoma (tornadoes) and Massachusetts (Noreasters and ice damage). For those in flood areas, additional flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program will run about $400 per year.