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Virginia may just happen to be the place that you choose to buy a property to rent to others, live in, or some mixture of the two. The purchase could be an extremely strategic one, particularly if the location chosen was based on achieving an objective that you set.

As the old saying goes, however, "you never know what the future holds." The road of homeownership is certainly one of the places in which this applies the most, considering the twists and turns that things can take out of nowhere.

For example, an earthquake could happen and you could lose your home as you know it, along with your valuables. Homeowner insurance companies in Virginia are set up to allow their clients to take out policies to protect themselves from these exact kinds of incidents.

Sure, it won't stop the earthquake from striking, but the after-effect with and without insurance at play is like night and day. You aren't legally required to work with an insurance company, but if you don't, you'll have to bear the full costs associated with getting back on your feet as far as rebuilding is concerned.

Should you have the right coverage, then you'll be able to get access to benefits, such as guaranteed replacement cost coverage, which take much of the strain off you as the homeowner.

Today is all about ensuring you understand how to navigate choosing both your insurance company and the kind of coverage that is best suited to your needs. It's not an easy process, but with the right insights, you can hit the nail right on the head!

Understanding Virginia Homeowners Insurance

We decided to put this whole thing together because one of the easiest ways to shortchange yourself is to have no idea how the insurance equation works. Remember that this is supposed to be your way out when the unexpected and somewhat unknown happens and creates financial challenges.

With that said, let's dive into a couple of the essential elements to have an idea of as some trying to secure homeowners insurance in Virginia.

Average Cost of Homeowners Insurance in Virginia

This is a common question, and understandably so. Who doesn't want to be able to get an idea of what they may be expected to pay before getting involved with any insurance company? The good news though is that you can get quotes with no obligation, allowing you to compare what different options will offer from a value-based perspective.

On average, a home with a policy of say $250,000 in dwelling coverage will require a premium payment of $887 per year. For reference, the national average in the United States is $1,428, which means that this falls way below that bar.

Note, however, that those who live closer to the coast will likely experience higher charges than those who live inland considering the greater likelihood of hazards such as flooding, which increases their risk factor.

Sure, the average can give you an idea of the landscape of things in Virginia, but we would advise you not to take it as gospel. Why is that? Well, there are a collection of different variables that will ultimately determine what you pay and there is no way for you to account for all of them and what they mean for your policy on your own.

The insurance company is the one that is going to do the evaluation of your circumstances and come to a decision on what your premium should be. With that said, if you want to understand what some of these factors are, you can refer to this list:

  • Location
  • Security features
  • Claims history
  • Property condition
  • Types of coverage requested
  • Home age
  • Construction time
  • Property value

Bear in mind that you're not looking at an exhaustive list. Therefore, there may be other factors that are general or specific to you that are not represented here, but will still impact what your charge will be.

Homeowners Insurance Vs. Landlord Insurance

This is another essential principle we think you need to understand. Since there are so many homeowners who are also landlords, they may erroneously interchangeably use the terms "homeowners insurance" and "landlord insurance." Sure, it's understandable why that would happen, but these are actually two completely different things.

Homeowners insurance in Virginia is the focus of today and it speaks to the standard form of coverage that is meant to protect your structure, potentially other structures on the property, as well as some level of coverage for the possessions that you may have on the said property. If you notice, there's nothing about business use of the property mentioned here, and that is for good reason.

That's because if you want that extra set of coverage elements, what you'll need is landlord insurance. As the name implies, it's specifically designed for situations involving engagements with tenants since landlords will need to have some measure of protection if certain scenarios should occur.

For example, imagine that there's some level of property destruction caused by the actions of your tenants. What about losses that relate to rental income? How would you get protection if these things were to happen to you? That's what landlord insurance is for.

What you'll find is that based on how you intend to use your property, you will need either consistently, or you may switch from one to the other at different times. How can this be?

Imagine a situation in which you buy a house in Virginia that you plan to use as a rental property. Before you get there, however, you may choose to live in it for some time. Since there is no tenant involved, why would you want to incur the additional costs that come with landlord insurance? In such a case, standard homeowners insurance in Virginia would be recommended.

Of course, when the time comes for you to switch to the state of renting the home out, then you would want to retain a landlord insurance policy instead of the homeowner one.

The same could apply in a situation in which the rental property is vacant and you expect it to be for some time. Maybe you plan to keep it empty for a year while you renovate and carry out other planned actions. Again, having a landlord insurance policy during this time may not be the recommended course of action.

Note that while these would seem to be straightforward decisions, you still want to talk to your insurance company before you make any decisions. Be open about what you intend to do with the property and listen to the recommendations that you are offered. After all, these are the people who would know how you can ensure you are covered based on your use case, so who better to talk to about it?

How to Choose from the Homeowners Insurance Companies in Virginia

Unique Policy Needs in Virginia

Now that we have covered a couple of the fundamental insurance principles for homeowners, it's time to turn your attention to how exactly you should go about choosing the company you're going to be working with. Regardless of your location, it's always a good idea to start with the specific types of coverage that you want to have based on where you are.

To that end, we're going to zoom in on the coverage elements that someone who owns a home in Virginia will want to pay attention to for their own good.

Water Backup Coverage

The good news is that in many cases, your standard insurance policy will cover different types of water damage. Be that as it may, when the damage comes from backed-up drains or sewer lines, that may not be a part of the package.

For this, you'll need a separate endorsement to get the financial protection you need from these kinds of occurrences.

Extended Replacement Cost Value

Virginia is a place that is known to experience storms pretty frequently. While your basic policy will likely have some form of coverage for your dwelling, in some cases it's not enough to stand up to the extent of damage that these storms can cause.

If the reconstruction costs are higher than the insured value of your home, then you find yourself in a situation where you need to make up the difference, which is often easier said than done. Getting extended replacement cost coverage can help to ensure that you are taken care of when these costs are high.

Windstorm Insurance

You will typically find hurricane damage bundled in standard policies around the country. However, the rules can be a little different for coastal states such as Virginia, where the deductible for a windstorm is separate from the dwelling deductible.

Flood Insurance

This is a form of coverage that will not typically be featured in the standard policies, but that makes it no less important, considering the possibility of disaster striking out of nowhere and causing flooding.

That means that your best course of action here is to take the additional step of getting flood coverage. You will usually have two options here. Your insurance company will offer this coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program or it will be offered privately.

The former is cheaper but less flexible, making the latter option better for those who want a more comprehensive coverage option.

Earthquake Insurance

This is also a component that's not necessarily a part of your standard coverage suite, but is so important to have. No one knows when an earthquake will come, but what we do know is that seismic activity rarely stops.

To be on the safe side, it's an excellent idea to have an earthquake protection component in your insurance agreement, though it will attract an additional charge,

Other Factors to Consider When Going Through Virginia Homeowners Insurance Companies

Now that we have spoken to the specifics having to do with Virginia homeowners insurance, it's time to look at a few of the more general concerns that you'll want to have in the back of your head.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) will tell you that home insurance ratings are based on a lot of things such as complaint data, and it stands to reason since this is a reflection of the extent to which customers are being satisfied by a given insurance company.

With that said, you want to have a look at the ratings of an insurance company to get a feel for the customer service responsiveness and how efficiently claims are handled since you need both these elements to be at their very best.

Financial strength is another big one since this will speak to the extent to which the company can meet its obligation to cover claims. Independent organizations such as AM are great resources that you can use to get an idea of where a company stands in this regard.

Pay attention to cost too. Ensure that you get different quotes from different companies and compare the value that you're getting from each so you can make an informed decision.

Best Home Insurance Companies in Virginia

With everything else out of the way, this is an excellent time to look at some of the best insurance companies for those looking to get a homeowners policy in Virginia.

1) Lemonade

Lemonade

Lemonade offers a series of comprehensive policies to its customers which makes it one of the best you can get in Virginia. The company only operates in 24 states, and thankfully, this is one of them.

If nothing else, you'll appreciate the extent to which you can interact with everything online, which makes it that much easier for you to navigate. In fact, you kind of don't have a choice considering that local agents are not a thing in the company.

So, if you prefer that in-person type of service, then you may want to look to another provider entirely.

Coverage and Features

What kinds of coverage can you expect within a standard policy from Lemonade?

  • Dwelling coverage
  • Other
  • Personal property
  • Loss of use
  • Liability coverage
  • Medical expenses

Apart from the basic package, you can also opt for any of the following extended options:

  • Water backup
  • Foundation water backup
  • Buried utility
  • Equipment breakdown
  • Extra coverage
  • Equipment breakdown
  • Extended reconstruction cost
  • Swimming pool coverage

Discounts

On the discount side of things, what you get is a bit limited:

  • Annual payment plan
  • Protective devices
  • Bundling

2) State Farm

State Farm

State Farm is next and is a very well-known name for insurance in the USA. With an A++ AM rating, the highest attainable, there will be no issues honoring your claims. The standard offerings are very well put together, but customers can also customize and expand policies to their liking.

Flood insurance is offered by the National Flood Insurance Program, which means that while it will be on the less costly side of the fence, the level of flexibility that you may want will not be there.

In any case, State Farm has some of the lowest costs overall, which is an attractive prospect to those who may be looking to save while getting good value.

Coverage and Features

Your typical State Farm policies will include:

  • Dwelling coverage
  • Other structures
  • Personal belongings
  • Additional living expenses (ALE)
  • Personal liability
  • Medical expenses

You can also get access to the following additional coverage options:

  • Ordinance or law
  • Inflation guard
  • Valuable possessions
  • Cyber Event, Identity, Restoration, and Fraud Loss (CEIDR)
  • Identity restoration coverage

Discounts

As far as discounts go, you can get the following with State Farm:

  • Multi-policy (such as home and auto insurance)
  • Home security
  • Roofing
  • Automatic sprinkler systems
  • Claims free
  • Utility rating plan

3) Allstate

Allstate

Allstate is another well-known option and comes in with an A+ rating from AM, which means it has no issues honoring claims from a financial perspective. It has a range of insurance coverage options available, and you'll find that some of them are on the less common side of the spectrum. Of course, you can expand the basic coverage, which means tailoring things to your needs.

The ability to add HostAdvantage is also notable since this is a dedicated home-sharing insurance. If there should be renters that steal or damage the property, you would be covered for these incidents.

Coverage and Features

If you should take out a standard policy from Allstate, expect to get access to the following:

  • Dwelling coverage
  • Liability protection
  • Personal property coverage
  • Guest medical protection

Additional insurance coverage options include:

  • Personal umbrella policy
  • Flood insurance
  • HostAdvantage
  • Identity theft restoration
  • Water backup
  • Scheduled personal property
  • Business property
  • Sports equipment
  • Yard and garden
  • Electronic data recovery
  • Musical instruments
  • Green improvement reimbursement

Discounts

What about discounts? You'll get access to:

  • Multi-policy (such as home and auto policies)
  • Easy pay plan
  • Claim free discount
  • Protective device discount
  • Early signing discount
  • Welcome and loyalty discount
  • Home buyer discount
  • Responsible payment discount

4) Erie

Erie

Erie is the final contender on the list and it is known for its generous insurance coverage options. What you may notice though is that what is offered will differ by state. For example, some places will get access to guaranteed replacement cost coverage for their homes while others will not.

While Virginia is supported, the availability of Erie is one of the lowest here, being only accessible in 13 states.

Coverage and Features

Here is the typical coverage that comes with Erie:

  • Dwelling
  • Other structures
  • Personal property
  • Loss of use
  • Personal liability
  • Medical payments

Additionally, you can get:

  • Guaranteed replacement cost coverage
  • Replacement cost coverage for personal property
  • Animals
  • Theft or loss
  • Hard-to-replace items
  • Gift card and certificate
  • Cash and precious metals

Discounts

The discounts available are:

  • Smoke alarm
  • Burglar alarm
  • Automatic sprinklers
  • Muti-policy
  • Full/auto payment
  • New home

Conclusion

As you can see, the insurance equation, while not necessarily complicated, takes a lot of thought to get right. We want to ensure that you make the right choices before an unexpected occurrence sets you back with no recourse.

Consider the different companies and your specific risks, then choose wherever you get the best value.

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!

Legal Disclaimer

The information on this website is from public sources, for informational purposes only and not intended for legal or accounting advice. DoorLoop does not guarantee its accuracy and is not liable for any damages or inaccuracies.

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