2019 Spring Home Buying Market: Insurance Tips Before You Buy
Each spring in Fairfield and Westchester Counties, the spring home buying market begins. This is a busy time of year for local realtors, lawyers, mortgage brokers and insurance agents. Clients are moving to the area for the first time, up/downsizing their homes or buying their first home after having rented.
These transitions in life are an ideal time to do an insurance checkup. Daigle & Travers Insurance is an independent insurance agency that represents over 30 reputable A-rated insurance carriers. We take pride in working with first time home buyers as well as people moving to the area from out of state.
When you are in the process of purchasing a home, there are several things to consider before you buy:
Location of your home:
Fairfield County and Westchester County are broken into two regions for insurance purposes. There are coastal towns and non-coastal towns.
Why does this matter? When you are purchasing a home along the coast, wind and flood are facts of life.
Insurance carriers have broken coastal towns down by distance from the tidal water line when it comes to applying a hurricane deductible.
- 0-1000 feet from the water line will result in one size hurricane deductible, usually between 1%-5% of the rebuild value of your home.
- 1000-2500 feet from the water line usually results in a 2% hurricane deductible with most insurance carriers.
- Over 2500 feet from the water line usually results in no hurricane deductible. (That being said, certain insurance carriers will still apply a hurricane deductible regardless of the distance to shore.)
Flood Zones and Flood Insurance
There are three major flood zones X, A and VE.
If you are purchasing a home in an A or VE flood zone, federally backed mortgage companies will require flood insurance. Most home insurance carriers will require flood insurance as well. Reach out to us to find out more about your flood zone.
The nice thing about flood insurance these days is that FEMA isn’t the only game in town. Each year more private flood vendors are entering Connecticut and New York. This allows the consumer (the home buyer in this case) the opportunity to shop their flood rates.
The real thing to be concerned about when buying a home in an A or VE flood zone is Elevation. This is a word that you will hear often. Elevation refers to the base of the home and all mechanics in relation to the base flood elevation.
If you are the listing realtor, make sure you know what you are selling and if you are the buyer’s agent, make sure you do your due diligence and ask the right questions. You’ll need an elevation certificate from a licensed surveyor to document the elevation of the home.
In the Tri-State area we are blessed with many large coastal homes. High net worth carriers such as Chubb, AIG, PURE & Cincinnati are the most appropriate carriers for homes of this size. These carriers insist on only insuring positively elevated homes which means they will not insure negatively elevated properties. Daigle & Travers does represent insurance carriers that will insure homes that are not elevated, but the coverage will be different than what the big 4 can offer.
Buying Inland Homes
We’ve briefly spoken about a few of the concerns about purchasing a home along the coast, but what happens if you purchase a home inland? When moving to a town inland in Fairfield or Westchester County you are most likely looking for good schools and some land. Bedford, Chappaqua, New Canaan and Wilton are all beautiful towns and you won’t need to worry about hurricane deductibles. The concerns with towns like these are the protection classes.
Protection class is how the insurance carriers rate the fire safety of a home. In the simplest terms, ‘protection class’ relates to the proximity of a building to fire hydrants and fire stations.
When you opt to live in a more rural region of the Tri-State there is a good chance that you may not have fire hydrants in your community. When an insurance carrier is generating the rates for your home insurance, one factor they consider is how far are you from a hydrant. If you are within 1000 feet of a hydrant you are most likely in a protection class 4 or 5. This means there is no surcharge on your rates because the local fire department will have a steady flow of water if you were to have a fire at your home.
If your home is located over 1000 feet from a fire hydrant then there is a good chance you are in a protection class 9 or 10. Basically, this means the insurance carriers will surcharge your home insurance due to limited access to water. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule but when it comes to protection classes, this is some baseline information to consider when looking to purchase a home.
For more information reach out to Daigle & Travers Insurance. We have three convenient locations in Connecticut: Wilton, Darien, and Westport. One of our many experienced insurance professionals will be able to guide you through the insurance process. We can be reached at 203-655-6974 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.