1. We know it's confusing.
Replacement Costs, Cash Value, Market Value... We understand that it can get confusing. There's a reason why you have to have a license to sell insurance policies. We want to help you understand your policy, so if you have questions, please ask them.
While we're at it, here's an explanation: Your homeowner's insurance coverage value is different from your home's market value. Insurance covers the cost to rebuild the home completely (replacement cost), but that might be different from what someone would pay for your home if you were to put it on the market (market value). Land and costs of materials are part of why those will be two different.
2. Don't file a claim for every little thing
Your homeowner's insurance is really there for the big problems. We get that small issues come up and you can certainly file claims for those, but at the end of the day your premium will go up if you continually file claims for the small stuff. That's because insurers calculate premiums based on the likelihood that you'll file a claim (And yes, more claims means they have to pay more money to fix it. That's how insurance works!)
3. Cost is a matter of perspective
Homeowner's insurance is really not that expensive when you're looking at the total investment into your home purchase. However, you should factor your homeowner's insurance into your calculations when you're thinking about how much home you can afford. To shop around on price alone is a huge mistake. The good news is that quotes are always free, so it just makes sense to get a quote before you purchase a home to really know how much you will need to account for in your budget.
4. Honesty is the best policy
Be honest with your agent about how you're using your home. If you're renting out a room through AirBnb or have long-term tenants, or you have a pool but didn't tell us, lying about it just to save money on your insurance is a very bad idea. If anything catastrophic were to happen to your home and the insurance company discovered you had lied, your entire policy may be cancelled and your claim completely denied.
In addition, be honest with your agent about any hobbies or if you work from home. That can tip us off to following up with you about any additional coverages (like liability or property) that we can add to make sure everything is covered.
5. Boilerplate policies are a waste of money
We make recommendations for endorsements and extra coverages not because we want to make more money, but because we see them as an actual risk. Homeowner's insurance policies can have a lot of really specific exclusions, but this is so you can add extra coverages that may apply to your specific situation (such as if you live in an earthquake risk zone, or an old house). That also means you aren't paying extra for a boilerplate policy with coverages you don't actually need.
6. Keep us in the loop on renovations
Please let us know about updates you're making to your home. Some may not affect your insurance premium, but others may (such as if you just replaced your roof, installed wood floors or tile over linoleum, or have a new security system.) Not all changes will increase your premium! For example, usually you'll see a large discount if you replace your roof. On the other hand if you've installed a pool, you can expect it to go up quite a bit. We encourage you to call for a quote before making large changes to your property so you can have a better idea of the costs involved.
Our goal is to establish a good relationship with you so you won't hesitate to call us for that free quote for the pool, renovations, or any other changes to your home.
7. We're actually looking out for you
We don't set the prices, we just do the shopping around for you. If you can't afford a coverage we recommend, by all means let us know and we can try to find discounts or look at other ways to fit it into your budget. We speak the language of insurance and are here to make sure you not only have the proper coverages, but aren't paying for anything you don't need.
8. Yes, it can get personal.
We're here to manage your policy, but you need to keep us in the loop about any changes in your life. Things like your kid moving out of the house to college can affect your auto insurance if the car is being parked at a different location or state. A divorce can greatly affect what you might want or need out of your life insurance policy. Putting your house on the market can change your homeowner's insurance needs if the house is sitting vacant (in this instance you will want to be sure you have a vacant home policy in place).
This is part of the value of having an independent agent that has your best interests in mind - you can just tell us about the changes and we will adjust your policies accordingly and appropriately.
9. We love giving discounts... sometimes.
We love saving you money, but not at the expense of vulnerability in your policy. By all means, please ask us about discounts (because they do exist and we love giving them!). There are small things you can do that really add up in discounts, like install a home security system, install a new roof, bundling insurance (like home and auto together), or moving your policy from a 6-month renewal to 12-month renewal (where applicable). However, we may try to dissuade you from significantly reducing essential coverages that will keep your finances protected in the long run.
10. We're not trying to rip you off (honestly!)
We're really not out to get you. Insurance isn't a scam, but we get that it can start to seem that way if you're paying into something you feel like you're not using. Insurance is for disasters and extreme situations so if you've gone years without needing it, that's a good thing! It's there so you don't end up completely devastating your life savings or even losing your house or car because you didn't have the financial safety net in place.
Insurance has been around for hundreds of years as a way for a group of people to pool money for emergencies in order to keep the entire group from falling into financial decline. In modern times insurance has become more of a legal process, and because of that the documents and terminology are more complex. We know it can seem intimidating. We're here to help make sure you have the right coverage and understand what you're paying for. If you really don't understand, just ask!
Do you have more questions about homeowner's insurance in Virginia?
Get in touch with our agency and we'll help you find the best solution to your homeowner's insurance needs. We'll help guide you through your options (there are a lot of options!) and decide what would be a good fit for you, your lifestyle, and your budget. And as always - quotes are free.
Ronnie Shriner Insurance Agency has been the insurance agency of choice in Richmond, VA since 1989. We specialize in tailored insurance plans based on each person’s specific needs, and we’re happy to help you select the best homeowner's insurance option for you.