Insurance is usually the last thing people worry about when they are buying a new home. According to the Insurance Information Institute, that's a mistake, because it will be an expense a buyer will have as long as they own the property.
Here are some key issues that the institute urges every buyer to consider:
• How far is the home from the fire department? A location close to the station usually means lower insurance costs.
• What is the condition of the plumbing and electrical systems? Older and poorly maintained systems cost more to insure.
• Does the property meet current building codes? Up-to-date properties are safer and also cheaper to insure.
• What about wind damage? If insurance against windstorms is required, is private insurance available or will the buyer have to rely on a state-run program? If there a windstorm deductible, how high is it?
• Is the home vulnerable to flooding? Floods aren’t covered under a standard homeowner policy, although most major insurers will provide it through the National Flood Insurance program. How much the insurance costs depends on where the property is. More information is available at FloodSmart.gov.
• Is there earthquake risk? Earthquake insurance requires an endorsement or a separate policy.
Source: Insurance Information Institute (05/06/2010)