With the cost of housing in California, shopping
for homeowners insurance is a
little more involved than in other states, but with a
little effort you can still find affordable
We’ve made that process a little easier, first by providing
the information you need to shop wisely, then giving you a fast
way to find the best insurance companies in your area.
Affordable California Home Insurance
The California Department of Insurance recommends shopping
for insurance the same way you shop for any other major
purchase - do your homework, compare prices and coverage, check
out the company, and don’t rush to a decision. Each insurance
company is permitted to set their own rates, so unless you shop
around, you could pay too much!
Homeowners insurance covers things
- Fire or lightning
- Windstorm and hail
- Vandalism and malicious mischief
- Loss of use
Enough California Home Insurance
It’s important to buy enough insurance coverage to rebuild
your home. During the last spate of fires many homeowners
discovered their policy limits were too small to fully replace
their homes; make sure that your policy is big enough to cover
California home Insurance companies have formulas to
determine the replacement cost of your home which doesn’t have
anything to do with the appraised value. It’s based on the cost
of materials and labor, but does not include a value for the
land, since you already own that. To make sure the home value
amount is sufficient:
- Keep track of updates, renovations and improvements to
your dwelling, and notify the insurance company of each
- Consult local builders about current costs to build
- Pay attention to changes in the local building codes,
since any rebuilds must be built to the new standards.
- Review your insurance annually to confirm the coverage
California Earthquake Insurance
Living in the beauty of California also means exposure to
the dangers of things like earthquakes. State code requires all
insurance companies in California to automatically offer
earthquake insurance to all homeowners.
You must specifically accept earthquake coverage and the
associated increase in premiums, usually about 15%, if you want
your policy to cover against this peril. When you receive the
offer of earthquake insurance you have 30 days to accept it or
reject it; a lack of response is interpreted as a
There are several ways to save money on earthquake
insurance, such as:
- Bolting your home to its foundation, especially if it
is a wooden structureBracing sheer walls
- Securing and bracing the water heater
- Bracing the fireplace chimney
- Adding automatic gas shut-valves
- Upgrade your home to meet current building codes
When an earthquake indirectly causes some type of damage,
it’s called “proximate damage.” There are special rules in
California that permit your normal homeowners insurance to not
cover that damage if you don’t have earthquake insurance. The
only exception is fire - if an earthquake causes a fire that
damages your house, your original California home insurance
policy will cover it.
California Condominium Insurance
insurance covers personal property and interior damage to
your unit. The condo association usually purchases insurance
for the building structure and common areas. Double check your
association policy to see the coverage levels in case of an
earthquake. You may need to buy additional coverage to make
sure you have enough protection.
Personal Property Coverage
Normally the limit on content coverage is set at 50% of the
dwelling amount for homes and 40% for condominiums. While this
sounds like a lot of money, make an inventory of all your
personal property (always a good idea for homeowners insurance)
and total up the amount it would be to replace everything,
including the drapes, small appliances, clothing and shoes.
Then you can see if the 50% cap is enough.
If you have high ticket items like expensive computers,
jewelry, collectibles or antiques, know that there’s usually a
cap on the reimbursement amount for those types of items.
Consider buying an extra coverage rider which will provide the
necessary coverage to replace those types of items.
Shopping for California Home
Now that you know the rules and requirements for home
insurance, the next step is comparing quotes. That part is easy
- just enter your zip code in the box below and you’ll be
instantly matched with great insurance companies that sell home
insurance in your area. Request free quotes from three or four
of them, then compare the coverage and rates to find the best
deal. Why wait to start saving on your home insurance policy -
enter your zip code now!