By: Blake Wimsey
Special to Guthrie News Page
Blake Wimsey operates Foundation Insurance in downtown Guthrie.
According to a 2015 study done by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Oklahoma was the fourth most expensive state for home insurance. Home insurance premiums have certainly not gone down since then. If you’re a seasoned homeowner, you’re likely getting a better rate than someone whose been renting and is now moving on to purchase their first home. So, what should first time home buyers do to help them with rates?
Don’t wait until the last second
Many first-time home buyers are so excited about the thrill of owning their own place, they start furniture shopping, picking out paint colors for the kitchen (go with accessible beige), maybe even budgeting for their new mortgage payment. But the estimated monthly payment amount given to you by the lender or mortgage broker is exactly that… it’s an estimated payment! They aren’t actually bringing your application to underwriting for a price, so don’t wait until the last second to have an agent do the work for you. Get your price now so you can budget accordingly.
This one should honestly go without saying. You wouldn’t buy a car, a wedding ring or book a vacation without doing a little price shopping, right? Besides your actual mortgage payment, unfortunately, your insurance will be one of your largest expenses each year. It’s worth it to put some time into the purchase. Shop around, ask questions, use an agent you trust. If you’re using an independent agent, they can do the shopping for you. If you’re using a captive agent, it’s wise to at least call more than one captive agent to compare against each other.
Use the home inspection to your advantage
If there are large line items on your home inspection that require immediate attention, you obviously want to either negotiate those repairs prior to the closing, or at least negotiate them in the price so you can do the work yourself. There can be minor items that show up on a home inspection that may not necessarily be a deal-breaker for the purchase of your new home, but they could save you tons on your insurance in the long run. Minor roof damage, peeling paint or small drainage issues may sound like nothing, but it could cost you in the form of a future claim or elevated insurance premiums.
Buy closer to town
For some people, this isn’t an option. Some people just like being out in the sticks and that’s fine. But if you’re on the fence, consider buying a home inside city limits. The closer you are to fire hydrants and a fire station, the lower your protection class will be. The lower your protection class, the lower your insurance premiums, plain and simple.
Bundle your new home with your auto
It’s so unbelievably rare that someone would be better off with their auto insurance separated from their home insurance. It does happen of course, due to different circumstances, but around 98% of my clients have their home combined with their auto. The insurance company wants all your business, and they give massive discounts for doing so.