Homeowners Insurance is important for any homeowner. While you are not required by law to have homeowners in insurance in Virginia, a policy is required if the property is financed through a mortgage company. The mortgage company wants to guarantee its financing of the home. Even if the home is paid-off, however, it’s a good idea to carry an insurance policy. You want to protect the investment from damage or other loss. A home is your most valuable asset, and an insurance policy will pay a claim after a fire or theft.
The national average for homeowners insurance is $1,132 annually, according to Insurance Information Institute. Florida, Louisiana and Hawaii are the most expensive states in the country to purchase homeowners insurance. Homeowners insurance is the least expensive in West Virginia. The cost of homeowners insurance in Virginia is in the middle of rates across the country. That means you have a lot of options when it comes to the best homeowners insurance in Virginia, because numerous companies offer policies in Virginia.
The rates in Virginia vary, however. Rates in the coastal regionals generally run higher than other areas of the state. Insurance companies are worried about a catastrophic hurricane or topical storm. In fact, many insurance companies no longer write policies for houses located along the shoreline. If you own shoreline property in Virginia, you must purchase a special policy.
If you don’t live near the coast, rates in Virginia are relatively reasonable. In Richmond, the average rate is $1,053 annually, according to survey of 25 companies by Virginia Bureau of Insurance. That compares to Alexandria with a cost of $783 a year and $1,351 in Roanoke. These rates can differ slightly, depending on the area of the city where you live.
Factors that contribute to the cost of homeowners insurance
Location — Your home’s location is the most important factor when calculating homeowners insurance. Insurance companies look at a home’s proximity to a fire hydrant and the amount of crime that occurs in your neighborhood. They will also look at weather patterns and other factors that can contribute to potential claims.
Construction and type of home — The size and type of construction of your home also play a role in determining the cost of homeowners insurance. An older home can be more expensive to insurance than a newer home. Brick and concrete are more fire resistant than wood-framed homes. These can all be a factor when determining the cost of homeowners insurance.
Home protection — Insurance companies could consider burglar alarms, smoke detector, fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems and deadbolts when calculating insurance rates. The insurance company might believe these will reduce the chances of a claim.
Personal Factors — Your credit history and lifestyle can also play a role in the cost of homeowners insurance. A smoker might be asked to pay a higher premium, because the risk is greater for fire and other damage. A low credit score could be a red flag for insurance companies.
Claims History — Your history of insurance claims is something insurance companies might consider. If you have a long history of major claims, insurance companies might look to charge a higher rate.
Virginia, Alabama, the District of Columbia, Maryland and North Carolina are the only areas of the country with pure contributory negligence laws. The law traces its roots back to traditional English Common Law and is designed to limit insurance claims.
Under contributory negligence, a property owner must be 100% at fault for an insurance claim to be paid. For example, if a neighbor walks onto your property and breaks his ankle on a lose piece of concrete, the neighbor must prove in court that he or she had no role in the accident. The homeowner must be 100% responsible. The neighbor cannot be 1% responsible for the accident.
Virginia’s contributory negligence law is some of the most restrictive in the country, and that plays a role in keeping homeowners insurance rates low. It is a good defense for the homeowner when a claim is made. The insurance company can claim that the person filing the claim was partially at fault. The rule can be overcome if the defendant can prove willful and wanton acts caused the injury, but that can be difficult to prove.
Trees are a risk
Trees are common in Virginia. The state is literally a sea of trees. That can be a potential problem for you as a homeowner, as you are liable for any damage done by your trees. Fortunately, a homeowner is covered if a tree hits your house or damages your neighbor’s car or other property. Trees can be tall and can easily reach across multiple properties when they fall.
The rules are different, however, in rural versus urban settings, according to a 2007 ruling by the Supreme Court of Virginia. The court said that the original rules were established in “times when the population was far less densely concentrated than at present, and more often engaged in agriculture.” The court wanted to establish rules for dense, urban areas where trees can cause significant property damage.
When filing a claim for tree damage, you must pay a standard deductible. But the claims is most likely significantly less than the $500 or $1,000 deductible. Once the claim is made, a tree company is usually hired. They will remove the trees and make sure it doesn’t do anymore damage. Insurance will then pay for the damage to a house, car or any other property.
When searching for the cost of homeowners insurance in Virginia, you should work with an independent insurance broker to compare several quotes verse coverage options. The rates can differ for each customer as companies differ between their appetites. The best approach is to seek out an insurance broker who can your shop your rate.