Home insurance may be optional, but it remains an excellent purchase for protecting your home from a wide range of accidents and disasters. Delaware is a wonderful state for purchasing home insurance, offering good coverage for some of the lowest average prices in the country, even with middling home values and rates of property damage. Delaware homes are at high risk of flooding, however, with flood insurance that must be purchased separately from home insurance. Understanding more about the rates of home insurance policies in Delaware and what policies cover can help you select the best home insurance for you.
- Fun fact: Delaware is sometimes called the “First State,” because it was the first of the states to ratify the Constitution in 1787 – a full five days before any other!
Average Rates in Delaware
Delaware is one of the top ten cheapest states for home insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Its $833 premiums are far below the national average of $1,211, and similar in price to other states with cheaper health insurance – like Arizona, with $825 premiums, and Washington, with $854 premiums.
Renter’s insurance isn’t quite as much of a bargain as homeowner’s insurance in Delaware, but is still relatively low-cost. Renter’s insurance premiums average at $159, the same as in Colorado.
Overall, Delaware is a good state for home insurance that won’t break the bank. Bear in mind though, that average prices may not match up with what you will be asked to pay for your home. The price of insurance varies not only by state but by county and city/ Rating structures may also change based on factors including but not limited to the age of the insured home, installed protections like fire alarms and locks, and the flammability of the materials used to build your home.
Delaware Legal Insurance Requirements
Your mortgage or lender will likely ask you to purchase home insurance, although the state of Delaware doesn’t require you to have it. Below is some information on what Delaware home insurance policies typically cover:
- Damage or destruction of structures, such as residences, garages and sheds. In Delaware, landscaping is also insured, for up to 5% of the value of your policy.
- Personal property, such as furniture, appliances, electronics, tools, and jewelry. Most policies insure for 50-70% of the cost of your policy, and these possessions are insured whether they’re on your property or elsewhere.
- Temporary living expenses: this insurance will pay for cost of living should you need to live somewhere else after your home has been damaged or destroyed.
- Liability: this is usually included in medical coverage and personal liability. Your insurance will help you pay medical bills for injuries or accidents that occur on your property (or by possessions such as bikes). It can also help pay for legal bills should you be sued for damages to a person’s body or property.
In Delaware, these kinds of insurance are usually offered in the following forms:
- Broad HO-2 form: this protects your home and possessions from 17 named perils, including fire and lightning, smoke, windstorms and hail, explosion, riot, damage from vehicles or aircraft, theft or vandalism, broken glass, the weight of snow, sleet or ice, building collapse, falling objects, electricity surges or shorts, and accidents with plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and appliances.
- Special HO-3 form: in addition to the coverage offered by the HO-2 form, this will cover for damages caused by everything save named exclusions in your policy. Commonly excluded items for insurance include intentional damage (like arson), floods, earthquakes, infestations from insects or vermin, war, mud slides, landslides, sewage problems, sinkholes, nuclear accidents, and normal wear and tear. For even more comprehensive coverage, there is the HO-5 form, although this is more rarely offered as an insurance policy
- HO-4 forms are offered to renters, and protect the possessions of the home (although not the dwelling structure). For condominium residents there is the HO-6 form, which protects both possessions and the specific portion of the condominium complex owned by the insured.
- HO-8 form: In Delaware, these policies are offered to older homes, such as those built before 1900. It has exclusions so that the insurance will not cover damage from bursting pipes or electrical shorts, as there is a high risk of these happening in an older home. These policies also tend to be on an actual cash value basis, rather than based on replacement cost.
Common Risk Factors in Delaware
Though Delaware is rarely ever directly hit by a hurricane, it remains vulnerable to nearby hurricanes and tropical storms. The state is surrounded by water on three sides and has an extremely low elevation – on average only 60 feet above sea level, with lower elevations past the canal. Because of this, a nearby hurricane or tropical storm can wreak havoc on Delaware properties through storm surge, flooding, high winds, and even tornadoes. Standard Delaware home insurance does not include flood insurance. This must be purchased separately from the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program, through an insurance agent.
Delaware is also frequently victim to the “Nor’easters,” or winter storms that travel up the East Coast of the United States. Characteristics of winter storms are heavy snowfall, severe cold, and high winds. When it comes to property damage this usually manifests in plumbing problems as pipes burst, or in damage to the outside structures of the home from severe winds and heavy snowfall. Luckily, these are perils that are covered for in standard home insurance – though it’s a good idea to plan ahead to mitigate the risk that these damages will occur for your home.
Insurance Demographics/Statistics in Delaware
Your insurance premiums are often priced according to the value of your home, but that’s not the only factor that’s considered when setting insurance costs and limits. Living in an area with high property crime, for example, may affect the cost of protection against theft or the limits that your insurance company will set for property crime-related perils. When buying home insurance, it can be helpful to consider the following demographic information:
Your Home’s Value
Insurance companies take into account the value of your home in terms of replacement cost and actual cash value. Replacement cost is how much it would take to rebuild your home using similar materials and with current labor costs. Most insurers require insuring for at least 80% of your home’s replacement cost, though the exact limit of your insurance can vary. Insuring for actual cash value means you’re insuring for the actual market value of your home, which means that wear and tear as well as current market conditions can affect the value.
Delaware’s average home value is $257,521, hovering just above the national average of $248,857. It’s important to understand that the market value of your home does not equate to the replacement cost value of your home. That’s because factored into the market value of a home is the value of your land, which doesn’t need to be repaired or replaced and is therefore not covered by insurance. A house that would cost $200,000 to rebuild on six acres of land would have a higher market value than a house that would cost $200,000 to rebuild on one acre of land, but to insurance companies, both would be insured the same on the basis of replacement cost.
Local Crime Rates
Those who live in areas with high property crime can be considered at higher risk of filing an insurance claim – this can affect the price of a home insurance policy. The FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program provides annual information on property crime rates. Their most recent report shows that, subtracting auto theft, Delaware experiences a property crime rate of 2.17%. This exceeds the 1.97% national property crime rate, and is something to consider when you’re looking for adequate coverage for vandalism and theft.
Your Income and Education
Having good credit and a college education can sometimes help you qualify for discounts when you buy insurance, as some members of alumni and fraternal organizations in Delaware qualify for insurance discounts. Aside from this though, a higher income definitely tends to make paying for home insurance easier on the wallet. Data from the Census Bureau reports the average household income of Delaware to be $64,805 – close to the national average of $63,179. Educational attainment in Delaware also hovers close to the national average, with 31.4% of people above the age of 25 having earned a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 32.06% nationally.
Where To Purchase Home Insurance in Delaware
The best way to find your ideal home insurance is to compare the rates and policies of many different insurance companies. Agilerates.com can assist you in your search, giving you accurate quotes by a comprehensive list of insurers in your area. Even if you aren’t a new homeowner, every year as your home insurance policy renews you have the chance to switch plans that will better meet your current needs. According to the Pulse Whitepaper from iii.org, only 44% of homeowners compare prices of different insurers at renewal time, and only 17% do so online. That means more than half of all homeowners are leaving money on the table at renewal time. Use Agilerates.com online form to get matched with a local agent, get free quotes, and shop around!