WHEN IT’S TIME to renew your home insurance or look for a new policy, make sure
you’re not forgetting something that should be
taken into consideration. Your insurance agent
may ask the following questions, so be prepared. And if he or she fails to ask, don’t be
afraid to offer up the information.
• Do you have custom features in your
home, such as a chef’s kitchen with granite
countertops and stainless steel appliances?
What about a steam shower and soaking
tub in a high-end master bathroom? Make
sure your policy covers them all.
• Do you own any high-value items, such as
jewelry, collectibles, electronics, musical
instruments or sporting equipment? These
may require additional coverage.
• What is the construction of your home:
brick or frame, stucco or siding, attached
garage or carport? How old is the home?
IS HOME OWNERSHIP still a part of the
American dream? A few years ago, the answer
might have been no. But now, various factors
are pointing to a reversal. For many, this is
actually a good time to buy a new home or refinance your current one. According to Costco’s
mortgage service provider, First Choice Loan
Services Inc., here’s why.
Interest rates remain near a historical
low. In 2015, we find ourselves holding close
to historically low interest rates. And, while
it’s virtually impossible to predict what the
year will bring, expectations are for them to
remain close to the same.
Home values have leveled off. This has
been great news for homeowners who were
unable to refinance in 2012 and 2013 because
of their home values. According to the 2014
Housing Review from
realtor.com, last year’s
slowdown in price escalations will continue
into 2015 but reach a more sustainable growth
rate of 4. 5 percent.
More buyers are entering the market.
The improving job market and wage increases
have been particularly helpful to younger professionals looking to achieve homeownership.
The last couple of years have been difficult for
many mature homeowners trying to sell; however, as the economy improves for those in the
25- to 30-year-old age bracket, opportunities
for everyone improve.
Low down payments are
back. Many loan programs now
have reintroduced low down payment options to help home buyers.
The rental market is still
outpacing home purchase
costs. The cost to rent is likely to
continue to increase in 2015, and
all indications are that renting
will continue to exceed the cost
of purchasing a home.
All of these factors
are paving the way for
competitive mortgage rates. A great place
to start is
costcofinance.com. First Choice’s
Preferred Lender Network offers competitive
lending fees, and could save up to $4,900 over
the life of the loan. Disclaimers apply, such as
your savings may vary, depending on your
particular circumstances and financial factors.
Visit the website to see all terms and conditions, get more information or get started on
your new mortgage. You can also email costco
firstname.lastname@example.org or call
Keep pursuing the American dream!
• What material is your roof made of, and
how old is it?
• Is there a basement? Water-backup coverage may be additional for homes that have
• Do you have a swimming pool or trampoline? If so, is your backyard fenced in?
• Do you have other buildings on the property, such as sheds or outbuildings?
• Do you have a home-based business that
requires insurance coverage?
• Where is your home located? What’s the
crime rate? Is a fire station nearby? Yes,
these all matter.
• What is your credit score? Almost all
insurance companies consider credit as
part of their rating in states that allow it.
Your credit could affect your premiums.
While you’re checking those options, look
at Ameriprise Auto & Home Insurance for
Costco members. Insurance coverage varies
by region. Certain restrictions and limitations apply. To get a free, no-obligation quote,
call 1-888-404-5365 or visit Costco.com and
• What if someone is injured while at your
home? Do you have the liability insurance
• How much are your belongings worth?
This should be factored into your personal
property coverage, which is usually based
on 50 to 70 percent of your dwelling’s value.
• Do you need coverage for earthquakes or
floods? Additional coverage is typically
required for these types of losses.
• Do you qualify for any discounts? You
could receive a discount for purchasing
multiple policies, being claims-free or having certain safety features in your home,
such as an alarm system, deadbolt locks,
smoke detectors and a sprinkler system.
• What deductible amount is the best for you?
Your premium will be affected by the deductible you choose. If you are comparing quotes
from multiple insurance companies, choose
the same deductible for each quote, as that
can help in narrowing down your options.
for the right
home insurance coverage