6 Helpful Tips for Buying Homeowner’s Insurance

Female hands hovering over a small model house.
Check out these helpful tips for retirees buying homeowner's insurance!

5 minute read

Have you been planning your next move but found there are a few logistics holding you back? Many 55+ adults wonder where homeowner’s insurance fits into the retirement stage of their journey. Coverage is often presented as a stagnant, universal truth of homeownership. But what we prioritize in terms of a good policy shifts dramatically over time. Each stage of life brings a unique set of needs, especially when it comes to our home.

If your goal is to downsize, stress less, and enjoy life more, understanding the best homeowner’s insurance policies for retirees is the first step in finding your own slice of paradise. Check out these 6 helpful tips for buying homeowner’s insurance.

1. Consider Raising Your Deductible

A 55+ woman reviewing her home insurance documents at her kitchen counter.

If you’ve been prioritizing budget policies for your property, it’s time to look into increasing your deductible. USA Today advises 55+ policyholders to consider if a low deductible is worth issuing a claim. For example, would you issue a claim for $250? What about $500?

“If the answer is no, then why pay for the low deductible you don’t plan to utilize?” USA Today quotes Mark Beaver, a financial planner at Keeler & Nadler Financial Planning and Wealth Management. “Another reason to potentially raise the deductible is if you have an adequately funded emergency fund. If so, you have the means to cover a higher deductible, like $1,000, which will reduce your premiums each year.”

Raising your deductible will ensure more reliable, affordable premiums as well as a safety net for out-of-pocket costs.

2. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

A carefree 55+ couple embracing after buying a new house.

One of life’s greatest lessons is not to sweat the small stuff. As first-time homeowners, we might be overly eager to report every little detail to our insurers. Mature policyholders understand there’s a bit more nuance to claims. This tip pertains to remaining in good standing with your current policy and getting the most out of any new policy you might consider switching to.

In general, avoid making small claims. If you can afford to shoulder costs less than $1,000, this is a good benchmark to aim for. Insurance agents share any and all claims data—including harmless phone calls—with underwriters. Relying on your homeowner’s policy for large-scale claims only keeps you in good standing and serves as a prudent strategy for avoiding unexpected rate hikes.

3. Pay Close Attention to Disaster Coverage

Closeup of a hand over a model house preventing water from destroying it.

Retirement properties are often found in some of the most beautiful natural locations around the U.S. Active retirees may have mountains, rivers, and beaches on their bucket lists. However, it’s important not to forget the forest fires, hail damage, and thunderstorms that come with these incredible getaways.  

Standard homeowners insurance policies generally cover destruction and damage to the interior and exterior, the loss or theft of personal property, and personal liability for harm to others in the case of accidents and injuries that occur on property. While that may sound like a broad, sweeping statement, defining the nuances of each policy is a bit more complex.

Take the extra time to identify just what your policy covers in terms of weather and acts of nature. Decide what your risk factors are based on geographic location. We recommend asking neighbors within the 55+ community you’re interested in as well as examining historic trends to get an idea of what you may need from a robust homeowner’s insurance policy. If you find your policy is lacking, consider supplemental coverage options.

4. Consider Supplemental Flood Protection

A sample flood insurance document on a wood desk.

Have you finally found the perfect waterfront property? What about that beautiful cabin tucked away on an alpine flood plane? Before you head off to enjoy a day on the water, make sure your retirement property is protected.

If there’s one form of supplemental coverage we recommend you don’t skimp on, it’s flood insurance. Standard homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover flood damage. It’s worth investing in additional coverage, particularly if you live in a flood-prone area. Even minor flood damage can easily total upwards of $10,000.

Don’t let flood damage take your finances underwater. Plan ahead with a policy that suits your needs.

5. Take Advantage of Multi-Policy Discounts

A 55+ man looking at home insurance discounts on a tablet.

Among the benefits of purchasing insurance as a seasoned homeowner is the establishment of other policies. By now, most homeowners hold a range of other policies such as auto and health insurance. Combining these policies under one roof can help you save on multiple premiums.

If you’re considering buying a new homeowner’s insurance policy but aren’t sure you want to leave behind your current policy, we suggest looking at switching other policies instead to be held by the same carrier. This strategy may end up saving you significant money, which means more funds for hobbies, travel, and relaxation.

6. Renovating? Plan Ahead!

Closeup on the hands and tools of a painter renovating a house.

Some 55+ homeowners prefer a low-maintenance, turn-key property in an age-restricted, planned community. Others enjoy a happy medium with some room for DIY projects and renovations. If you’re in the latter group, consider your long-term plan for renovating your retirement home.

What materials will you be using and how will these materials stand up to the test of time and weather? Are you planning on installing structures such as pools and ponds which drive insurance premiums up by at least 10%? These factors play an important role in determining your budget and homeowner’s policy options once all is said and done. We recommend drafting a preliminary renovation plan prior to purchasing your next policy.

Embarking on a new homebuying journey is an exciting but sometimes daunting process. With so many factors consider prior to purchasing homeowner’s insurance, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Our real estate experts believe your next move should be as stress-free as possible. Get started with these 6 tips for buying homeowner’s insurance and reach out to our team for more guidance with selling your current home.

Looking for more retirement finance tips? Check out Homebuying for Retirees: Should You Pay Cash or Get a Mortgage?

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