Brooklyn is somewhat unique among New York boroughs in that the neighborhoods have their own sense of community. You get to know your neighbors, people in your apartment building, and the people who own shops and businesses near your home. It can feel as if you’re living in a utopia where nothing bad will ever happen.
Unfortunately, bad things do happen, even in Brooklyn. Fire, theft, natural disasters, and accidents are just some of the reasons you need homeowners insurance. Many people don’t know how to shop for homeowner’s insurance so we’ve listed some helpful tips to make buying Brooklyn homeowners insurance as easy as can be.
1) Understand the Risks Your Home Faces
Insurance is about protecting your home from the most likely risks it will face. While you may not feel compelled to shell out the extra for earthquake insurance coverage for your Brooklyn home, there are other types of coverage you really can’t afford to live without. With that in mind, make sure your coverage protects against the following at the very least:
- Wind damage
- Accidents and injuries (liability)
Take special note of the last major risk Brooklyn homeowners face. This is because flood coverage is not typically included in a basic homeowners insurance policy. Instead, you’ll need to add on a separate flood policy. This shouldn’t be put off or overlooked because Brooklyn has many high-risk flood zones, including Coney Island, Manhattan Beach, and Red Hook.
The more you understand that all of the above are real risks in Brooklyn, and most other communities of this size throughout the country, the better prepared you will be to find the right kind of Brooklyn home insurance to meet those needs.
2) Make Apples to Apples Price Comparisons
The general rule of thumb is to contact at least three different insurance companies to compare the costs of policies. It’s important, though, that the comparisons are made on a point by point basis. Using an independent insurance agent can help you ensure you are getting comparable quotes. A few extra tips to consider:
- Find out the company rating. Read reviews and make sure the company you’re considering has excellent customer service and great customer experiences.
- Make sure the company understands your unique needs. Working with a company that’s more local and knows the specific risks to your home’s location can help ensure you have complete coverage. A NYC insurance company will know what goes into buying Brooklyn homeowners insurance.
- Don’t forget to compare deductibles. An affordable monthly premium won’t help much if your deductible is out of your budget. Look for a happy medium.
There are wide differences between coverages and costs from one company (and even one policy within the same company) to the next. Make sure you’re comparing comparable policies before going with the lowest cost option that may be less coverage than your home requires.
3) Don’t Skimp on Insurance Coverage
It is quite likely that your home is the largest purchase you’ve made to date. It is more than the place you’ll lay your head at night, though. It is your sanctuary from the world and a place of solace and security. Failing to secure an adequate amount of homeowners insurance in Brooklyn places your ability to repair or replace your home when covered events occur at risk, along with your financial security.
The good news is that Brooklyn homeowners insurance is affordable. The average home value in Brooklyn is $667,000, which is pricier than other NYC real estate markets. But this doesn’t cause monthly costs to soar. Monthly homeowners insurance typically costs an average of $94, or $1132 a year. Brooklyn is also one of the safer areas in NYC with just over one burglary per 1,000 homes, which is a statistic your insurance broker will certainly take into consideration when providing you with a quote.
4) Discuss How Much Coverage You Need with a Professional
Many Brooklyn homeowners don’t take the time to make sure their home is covered in the event of disaster. Simply having homeowners insurance often isn’t enough.
Rebuilding or repairing is different than new construction due to the clean-up, debris removal, materials, and actual construction. So, insuring your $500,000 home for $500,000 won’t get the job done in the event of a fire, windstorm, or severe water damage.
Another situation to consider is if only the second story of your brownstone is damaged during a storm and you need to repair some of the electrical work, you might be required to bring all the electrical work up to code in your home, including in the first floor and basement. You’ll need special coverage to help with those costs.
Finally, you have to think about the costs of all your possessions you might need to replace. Between appliances, furniture, clothing, toiletries, and everything in between, the list and total cost grows quickly. Speak with your insurance broker to determine how much coverage you actually need and what types of clauses or riders might benefit you.
5) Make Security and Other Upgrades to Reduce Costs
Rather than exploring cheaper insurance options, consider making upgrades to your Brooklyn home to reduce your insurance costs. Updating and upgrading a brownstone can have its challenges, the first being securing permits. You may find hidden surprises, like asbestos. While homeowners insurance may cover the removal of asbestos if its exposed during a covered incident, it will most likely not cover the voluntary removal of the material.
You may also need to meet landmark requirements as specified by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The additional assistance you’ll need from a brownstone expert or architect could add up quickly. But as you move through your renovation, make safety changes, like:
- Fire suppression system
- Monitored security system
- Updated roof
- Updated electric
- Updated plumbing
- New furnace
You can greatly reduce your monthly coverage costs and qualify for multiple policy discounts with smart renovations
Getting the right coverage for your Brooklyn home now can save you a lot of money and heartache if and when disaster strikes. Keep these things in mind when buying Brooklyn homeowners insurance.