The informed purchase of your homeowners insurance can be the most important minutes you invest into the purchase of a home. panic

So, you've purchased your new home, navigated the rigors of escrow including home inspections, termite tenting, title searches, legal wrangling, paper work, signatures, delays, changes, lost documents, unreachable loan officers, and the dog ate my disclosure!

Then you get the call..."I'll need a copy of your homeowners insurance to close escrow TOMORROW!"

So now what ?

If you've done the following.....YOU WON'T EVEN GET THE CALL! EVER!!!!!

If you're the Realtor or the homeowner, there's a few simple steps you can take to avoid this last minute panic.

1. Tell your buyer you're going ask an insurance professional to contact them. They may have another agent they'd like use and that's fine. This is YOUR backup. Tell your client that you'd like him to just get some information that will help them decide how much insurance they need on their new home (information that they can then take to their agent of choice)
2. Contact YOUR insurance "team member" you trust EARLY in the escrow (like the day you open). (he is a member of your team that helps you avoid ulcers during escrows.)
3. Since you're the "manager" of the escrow, this puts you and the agent in control of the insurance.
4. The agent gets completely ready w/ the information, inspects the house, relays his information (phone, fac, etc) to escrow and waits. (unless the client had their preferred agent then he just files it.) He's all "warmed up" and ready to go just like the pitcher in the bull pen.

Now that's for YOUR sanity..... Let's talk about your client. What should they look for.

They need to primarily consider 3 major points of the insurance. (there's MUCH more to it than this and that's between the agent and the client, but as a REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL, you should at least be aware of these items and take a peek if you can.

1. INSURANCE TO VALUE - HOW MUCH? People need to insure their homes to the COST OF CONSTRUCTION of the home. Not the sales price, not the loan amount, but the amount of money it would take to rebuild in the case of a total loss. Living thru the TWO MAJOR SAN DIEGO FIRES in 2004 and 2007, I can tell you that this can be a PROBLEM. Get insured correctly going in the front door and the renewals should increase to keep pace (but check 'em out anyway...that's why they mail you an annual renewal notice.)
2. Get a good amount of Liability Coverage. This is the , GAWD, I'M GETTIN SUED coverage. Think minimum of $500,000 and maybe even a $$MILLION$$.
3. Don't take too low a deductible. Many clients take $2000 up to $5000 and even $10,000 deductibles for substantial reduction in their premiums. Look at the numbers and decide.

That's just a short view of the INSURANCE portion of your escrow. Most important, get an insurance agent you trust to take good care of your clients and who will get to know them BEFORE he recommends coverage. Everybody's different with different insurance needs.

Find an agent that you can call ONCE.....YES, just ONCE and you know the "insurance thing" is handled.
Dennis Volz
SF Insurance Agent since 1978
Website: Dennis Volz Insurance
Blog: The San Diego Insurance Blog