They say home is where the heart is – it’s also where most of our wealth and possessions are stored, so it only makes sense to want to protect your home from damages and dangers. One of the best ways to do that is through buying home insurance. The good news is that Idaho is one of the least expensive states in the country for home insurance – it provides coverage for wildfires that ravage the state, although depending on the legislature flood insurance through the federal government may or may not be available. The first step to finding great home insurance in Idaho is to arm yourself with information. What kind of policies are offered, and what do they cost? What risks do Idaho homes face?
- Fun fact: Idaho has 3,100 miles of rivers – more than any other state!
Average Rates in Idaho
If you’re an Idaho homeowner, you’re in luck when it comes to finding affordable home insurance! Idaho is among the least expensive states in the country to buy home insurance in. With an average of $730 premiums, only two states average lower premiums – Utah, with $692 premiums, and Oregon, with $677 premiums. Idaho premiums fall on average $481 cheaper than the national average. That’s some good savings!
Idaho renter’s insurance is also less expensive. Its $153 premiums (below the national average of $180) make its average rental insurance cheaper than 76% of the states in the nation. Some states with similar renters’ insurance prices include Vermont, with average premiums at $155, and Virginia, with average premiums at $152.
Idaho Legal Insurance Requirements
There’s no state-level legislation that requires you to buy home insurance, but it is a requirement from most lenders and mortgage companies. Each home insurance policy will cover a certain number of “perils,” or events that damage a property. Below are explained some of the standard insurance policy forms, as well as the perils they insure against
- HO-2 and HO-3 forms insure damages from fire, lightning, windstorms/hail, explosions, riot and civil commotions, aircraft, vehicles, smoke, vandalism and malicious mischief, theft, volcanic eruption, falling objects, weight of ice snow and sleet, discharge of water or steam, sudden accidental rupture or freezing of plumbing and related systems, artificially generated electrical currents. Additional coverage includes debris removal, reasonable repairs, damages from trees and shrubs, fire department service charges, property removal, credit card fraud forgery and counterfeit money, loss assessments, glass collapse, and landlord furnishings. HO-3 forms are considered more comprehensive, as they also insure for any peril that is not explicitly excluded in your insurance policy.
- HO-4 (Renters) and HO-6 (Condominiums) forms insure against all perils in HO-2 and HO-3 forms, save that they do not insure a landlord’s furnishings but do insure building additions and alterations
- HO-8 These forms are typically given to owners of older homes. In Idaho, they insure for all things in an HO-3 form but NOT falling objects, weight of ice snow or sleet, discharge of water or steam, sudden accidental rupture or freezing of plumbing and related systems, artificially generated electrical currents, glass collapse, or landlord’s furnishings. Additionally, vehicle damage insurance doesn’t include losses to property due to the residents’ own vehicle, and damage from smoke is not insured if it’s caused by smoke from a fireplace.
These are the perils Idaho insurance generally gives coverage for, but what exactly is insured?
- Dwellings, including attached structures and permanent outdoor structures
- Other structures, including garages, barns, buildings, and fences physically separated from the main dwelling
- Personal Property, meaning property usual to the use of a dwelling such as furniture, dishes, electrical appliances, and gardening tools, as well as clothing personal articles. Antiques, jewelry, computers and luxury items are not covered or have limited coverage, so additional insurance may need to be purchased for these things.
- Additional living expenses, for cost of living costs while you are unable to live in your home due to any of the perils within your policy
- Personal Liability, for legal fees accrued due to injuries and damages you, a family member, or a pet are held responsible for (not including injuries or damages caused by automobiles)
- Medical payments: to a certain degree is someone besides yourself or your family is injured, this will help pay for medical costs regardless of fault
Common Risk Factors in Idaho
The Idaho Office of Emergency Management has found the most common hazards to Idaho homes to be from wildfires and flooding, although Idaho has historically also suffers from earthquakes, and even a volcanic eruption.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, Idaho is #5 amongst all states in its extreme risks to wildfires – in 2019, an estimated 175,000 properties were at risk of damage or destruction from wildfires. Though fire is an insured peril in Idaho, it can be especially important to find policies that offer the most coverage for this natural disaster.
Flooding, however, is a common hazard that standard home insurance will NOT protect against. Idaho may be located far inland, but spring floods have historically decimated property and infrastructure in the state. About 30% of real estate contracts in Idaho require flood insurance, which must be purchased (in participating communities) through the National Flood Insurance Program. However, in Idaho Congress has had the program lapse on several occasions, leaving people of Idaho without flood insurance.
Insurance Demographics/Statistics in Idaho
How likely is this homeowner to make an insurance claim? How much money would be needed to repair or replace a home after an insurance claim? These are the biggest questions in insurance company’s minds as they set premiums for homeowners. That’s why things that make your house lower-risk for asking for an insurance claim – like installing deadbolts or a sprinkler system – will qualify a home for discounts from most insurance companies. That’s also why considering the following information can be helpful in your search for home insurance:
Your Home’s Value
The primary thing insurance companies need to know when making an insurance policy for you is what your home is – in other words, how much money is needed to repair or replace it should a damaging event occur. Home value can be measured either in terms of replacement cost or actual cash value. Replacement cost is how much money is needed to rebuild the home using similar materials and using current labor costs. Actual cash value, which is more commonly used for older homes, is based instead on the actual market value of an item – how much it would cost to repair after depreciation is taken into consideration.
In Idaho, the average home is valued at $154,727 – quite a bit lower than the national average of $248,857. This can contribute to the lower premiums of the state. Keep in mind however, that the market value of your home may not always precisely indicate the replacement value of the home that insurers will calculate. That is because the market value of the home is based both on the value of the home and on the cost/value of the land that comes with it. Replacing land isn’t a factor in the value of a home according to its replacement cost, which is something to bear in mind.
Local Crime Rates
One important measure of risk for insurers comes from the property crime rates of your homes’ location, since most policies protect against events like theft and vandalism. In Idaho, after subtracting auto theft, the property crime rate as reported by the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program in 2018 was 1.35%, lower than the 1.97% national property crime rate. This may lower the overall cost of Idaho home insurance policies.
Your Income and Education
Insurance companies at times consider personal demographics when determining how likely a person is to file an insurance claim – those with a college education, good credit, and high incomes can be considered “lower risk” in this regard. There’s no denying though that having a high income can help with making home insurance payments! In 2018, the average household income of Idaho was $55,583, according to the Census Bureau – lower than the national average of $64,179. When it comes to education, 26.9% of people over the age of 25 had obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 32.06% nationally.
Where To Purchase Home Insurance in Idaho
So, you’ve taken the first steps and found out the basics of what home insurance looks like in Idaho. What comes next is comparing different companies and policies to find the right fit for you. Agilerates.com will help you do just that, giving you accurate quotes from a comprehensive range of insurers. Even if you’re not a new homeowner, it’s never a bad idea to shop around. 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!