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You're Losing Money if You're Not Comparison Shopping for Home Insurance

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The reason you should shop around for homeowners insurance is simple: To save money. Insurance companies use different underwriting methodologies, which is why you may see two carriers charging differently for the same amount of coverage. In addition, changing market factors such as inflation and the price of labor and building supplies can cause price fluctuations in the insurance industry.

Comparison shopping is the best way you can navigate these shifting prices so that you’re getting the best rate possible on homeowners insurance.

Comparing Homeowners Insurance Rates the Traditional Way

We recommend shopping for homeowners insurance the SmartFinancial way if you want to save time and effort. But for comparison’s sake, let’s look at how tedious it can be shopping around the traditional way.

Step 1: Decide How Much Coverage You Need

Determining the right amount of home insurance coverage is the crucial first step towards protecting your home and assets. To make an informed decision about your home insurance coverage , you will need to consider the following factors:

  • Rebuilding costs: Dwelling coverage insures the structure of your home and to make sure you have the right coverage, you will need to research the cost of rebuilding your home in case it is completely destroyed.
  • Personal belongings: Take inventory of your personal belongings, including furniture, electronics, jewelry and other valuables. You’ll want to ensure you buy enough coverage to insure the value of all your property.
  • Liability protection: Liability coverage helps protect you in case someone is injured on your property or if you accidentally damage someone else's property. Higher liability limits are recommended if you have some high-risk amenity like a pool or trampoline.
  • Additional coverage: Some perils are excluded from coverage such as floods and earthquakes so you may want to buy additional insurance to plug these coverage gaps.

Step 2: Make Sure You Have the Right Information and Documentation

To get the most accurate quote, you will need to have the following information about yourself and your home at the ready:

  • Vehicle year, make and model or vehicle identification number
  • Property address
  • Year home was built
  • Square footage
  • Number of stories
  • If there are any detached structures
  • Age and condition of roof
  • Number of people living in the house
  • Whether the house is your primary or secondary residence
  • Claims and insurance history
  • Coverage start date
  • If you protect your home with safety features such as deadbolts, burglar alarms or sprinkler systems

Step 3: Research and Contact Insurance Companies

Now you'll need to contact each homeowners insurance company you're considering for a quote. Many companies offer the option to generate online quotes through their website, while others may require you to speak with a live agent. In either case, you'll typically need to provide the necessary information outlined in the last step to obtain your homeowners insurance quote.

While cost is certainly important, it should not be the sole determining factor when deciding on a carrier. Customer reviews about an insurance company’s service and their financial stability ratings are also important to consider or you might select a provider that offers lower rates but has a poor claims process.

Once you've decided on an insurance company, you'll need to contact them and ask them about the next steps on buying the policy, such as choosing your policy’s start date and how to make your first payment.

The SmartFinancial Way To Compare Homeowners Insurance

Imagine shopping around the traditional way and having to call each insurance company individually and providing your information each time. This can be time-consuming and you’re already busy enough.

Good news for you: Getting a free quote using SmartFinancial is fast and simple.

With SmartFinancial, you complete just a single form and then we use this information to match you with a policy based on your coverage needs and budget. No more looking up insurance company numbers or waiting to get transferred. And better yet: This service is completely free.

How SmartFinancial Works

Complete a Quick Questionnaire

We’ll ask you some questions about yourself, details about your home and the insurance coverage you want.

Compare Rates

We’ll look through offers from over 200 insurance companies large and small so you don’t have to.

Find Coverage

Choose the policy that best fits your coverage needs and budget. Quick and easy, right? Oh, and 100% free, of course.


Factors That Affect How Much You Pay for Homeowners Insurance

Several factors influence the cost of homeowners insurance. Here's a list of key factors that have an impact on your rate:

  • Location: Homes in areas prone to natural disasters, crime or extreme weather conditions may have higher premiums.
  • Coverage limits: Opting for higher coverage limits provides more protection but can result in higher premiums.
  • Deductible: Your chosen deductible is the amount you'll pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in. A higher deductible can lower your premiums but may increase your out-of-pocket cost in the event of a claim.
  • Home safety features: Safety features like smoke detectors, security systems and fire-resistant materials can lead to safety-related discounts.
  • Claims history: A history of frequent claims may lead to higher premiums.
  • Credit score: In some states, a higher credit score can result in lower insurance costs.
  • Add-ons: Basic policies cost less but offer limited coverage, while comprehensive policies that fully insure your jewelry, antiques and other valuables provide broader protection at a higher cost.
  • Bundling: Many insurers offer discounts if you bundle your homeowners insurance with other policies, such as auto insurance.
  • Age and condition of home: Older homes or homes in poor condition may have higher premiums due to increased risk of damage or maintenance issues.
  • Proximity to emergency services: Living near a fire station, police station and other emergency services may lower your rate.
  • Discounts: Inquire about available discounts, such as loyalty discounts, new customer discounts or discounts for home improvements that enhance safety and security.

The Basics of Home Insurance

Featured Guide

How Does Homeowners Insurance Work? 6 Coverage Types Explained

Homeowners insurance works provides for your property if it’s damaged by a covered peril and for liability if you’re responsible for another person’s injury or property damage.

Key Terms to Know

Key Term


Homeowners Insurance is a contract between the insured and an insurance company. If the insured suffers a covered loss, the insurance company will help pay for expenses to repair or rebuild the home and for damaged belongings. A policy lists all coverages, exclusions, limits as well as a deductible amount.

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Key Term

Actual Cash Value (ACV)

An actual cash value home insurance policy covers damaged or destroyed personal property minus the depreciated cost.

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Key Term

Replacement Cost Value Insurance (RCV)

A replacement cost value insurance policy covers damaged or destroyed personal property at today’s prices. It costs more than an ACV policy but covers more.

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Key Term


Catastrophe insurance refers to an insurance endorsement or ride or a standalone policy that covers your home against certain natural disasters not covered with a home insurance policy, such as earthquake and flood insurance.

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Key Term


Every policyholder must pay a deductible which is deducted from the payout after a claim is filed. The deductible is of your choosing and can be changed at any time. If your deductible is $1,000 and your $5,000 claim is accepted, you will receive $4,000 towards repairs.

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Key Term


Over time, our belongings and a home’s components lose value due to wear-and-tear. For instance, if you file a claim for a faulty roof when it’s three years old, you’ll receive a much bigger payout than filing a claim for a 10 year old roof, which will need to be replaced in another 10 to 15 years.

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Key Term


Also known as a rider, an endorsement is an add-on supplemental insurance. There are endorsements for bed bugs, expensive jewelry or furs and more.

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Key Term


Everything that you own and renovations you have made should be photographed or videotaped. It’s also important to keep receipts and pricing information. An inventory will be helpful if you ever have to file a claim. It’ll also help you determine how much coverage you need.

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Key Term

Named Peril

Every insurance policy lists perils that are covered, like fire or theft. It’s equally important to look at exclusions to see what’s specifically not covered so you can determine whether or not you need to add on a rider or two.

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Key Term


To keep your homeowners insurance policy active, you must pay your monthly premium unless you pay for the year upfront.

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Key Term

Hazard Coverage

As a component of your home insurance policy, hazard coverage extends only to your home’s structure, while a home policy also includes your personal property and liability.

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Key Term


lso called an endorsement, a rider is add-on supplemental insurance that enhances your home insurance policy. You may need a rider if you have very expensive watches or paintings. Otherwise, you may not get the full value back if they are stolen or destroyed.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the four main types of homeowners insurance?

HO-1 and HO-2 policies provide the most limited type of coverage but are not commonly sold. These days HO-3 policies are standard but homeowners can upgrade to an HO-5 policy if they want replacement cost coverage for their personal belongings.

What kind of home insurance should I get?

HO-3 insurance is standard homeowners insurance and is what most insurance companies sell these days. Beyond this, you can customize your policy by increasing your coverage limits or purchasing additional coverage like service line insurance or equipment breakdown insurance for your appliances.

What is not covered by homeowners Insurance?

Homeowners insurance typically does not cover damage caused by floods, earthquakes, routine wear and tear or intentional acts of damage. Additionally, it may not cover or limit coverage for certain high-value items, such as expensive jewelry, without additional endorsements or riders.

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