If you’re a homeowner moving to New York — or just thinking about it — naturally, you’re going to look at how much it’s going to cost. Although home prices are down a bit from last year, buying a home in New York might still be expensive, especially when it comes to homeowners insurance.
Buying Homeowners Insurance in New York
So how much does homeowners insurance cost in New York? The short answer is “it depends.” Which zip code you live in can make a substantial difference in your monthly premiums. But on the average, New York homeowners pay around $107 a month for home insurance — a little higher than the national average of $97 a month.
Premiums vary widely by city — in Buffalo, you’ll pay about $56 a month for your home insurance, while in Yonkers you’ll pay $57. In New York City’s Upper West Side, you’ll pay about $171 a month — which is considerably higher than the national average, but about commensurate with what you’d see in New York City.
Why Shop Around?
So once you’ve found cheap new york home insurance, you’re pretty much done, right? Not really. Even if you find the lowest price right away, there are still some good reasons to shop around:
- Different insurance companies may use different actuarial models to determine their rates. There are a lot of factors that determine how much you pay in premiums: for example, if you live in an area with high crime rates, frequent natural disasters, or extreme weather, that’s likely to bring your premiums up as well. Things like your claims history, credit rating, and marital status can also play a part. Companies may differ in how they interpret these conditions and set their premiums quite differently.
- The value of your property may have changed. For instance, after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the areas affected by floods saw a significant dip in property values, but not much of an increase in insurance rates.
- You’ll often (but not always) find better rates from smaller, regional insurers rather than big companies like State Farm or Allstate.
Don’t “Set and Forget”
When it comes right down to it, insurance isn’t all that fun to think about — which is why many of us tend toward a “set it and forget it” attitude. We make sure we have all the coverage we need at the time, sign the agreement, and call it a day.
But life changes, and oftentimes your insurance needs may change with it. You may find better employment, or move to a new area, or get married and have children. All of this will affect your insurance needs, which is why it’s important to periodically review your coverage and see if changes need to be made.
On a yearly basis (at least), talk to your insurer and review your coverage. Find out if you might be eligible for certain discounts, or if you might need more (or less!) coverage for your home, car, possessions, and family.
Another reason not to “set and forget”? New insurance companies may enter the market and have different premiums or offerings that could be to your benefit.
How to Compare Home Insurance Rates
One of the first steps to take is to know what kind of insurance requirements New York has. For instance, as Kristine Lee at The Zebra points out, the state doesn’t officially require homeowners insurance in New York, but unless you own your home outright, your lender will most likely require coverage. Also, New York homeowners insurance does not cover certain natural disasters (such as hurricanes) by default. That means it’s a good idea to take out a separate policy for hurricanes, so you’re properly covered.
Once you have a handle on that, it’s time to get some quotes and compare them. There are several ways to do this: you can visit a local agent, talk to an insurer online or over the phone, or use an online comparison tool like The Zebra. One of the major advantages to using online comparison tools is you can see different quotes from multiple companies side by side, all at once. That will save you time, note-taking, and possibly money.
The next step is to compare costs, which is naturally the first thing you’ll look at most of the time. Maintaining your budget is important, it helps to remember the cheapest policy might not be the best one for you. It’s important to make sure you have enough coverage for both your home and belongings, and that you have a deductible you can live with in case there is an accident or disaster. It’s also a good idea to compare the reputations of the companies you’re looking at, especially in your state or area. Not every branch office is the same, so take a moment to look at the reviews.
Shopping around for the best cheap home insurance in New York doesn’t have to be a chore. With a little footwork, it shouldn’t be hard to find the right fit for you.
This advice applies to Renter Insurance as well. Here’s a question, for both types. How do you find a reliable evaluation for home contents, especially if art and/or antiques are present? Any recommendations welcome.