Money Essentials

Why home insurance costs so much

Insurers will not only judge you on your record, but on your demographic as well.


It boils down to one word: risk.

To an insurance company, you are a collection of risks. Your sex, your age, your marital status, and what neighborhood you live in all contribute to an insurer's prediction of whether you'll file a claim.

If, for example, you are a homeowner who lives in a coastal area prone to storms, or a rural region far from fire stations, you are judged to be a higher risk because people in such situations have tended to file more -- and their claims usually are more expensive.

The good news is that all insurers don't price the same risks identically. While insurers are highly regulated in many states, they still operate as competitive businesses, focusing on certain markets and avoiding others. What's more, some operate their businesses more efficiently than others, passing on the savings to consumers.

That means you may be able to save hundreds of dollars a year by shopping regularly, even if your insurer rewards long-time customers. A great quote from a new carrier may trump the loyalty card.

In the following sections, we'll look at some sensible ways to find the best coverage, whether you live in a mansion or studio apartment.

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Updated 7/24/2012 content - aross