When it comes to securing your home, knowing the right home insurance tips is crucial, especially for specific needs like home insurance for unoccupied property. At Old Harbor, an independent insurance agent in California, we’re dedicated to guiding you toward the best protection for your home. 

We understand that your home is more than just a structure; it’s a space where memories are made. That’s why we’re here to assist you in finding the ideal coverage, ensuring you’re safeguarded against unforeseen events.

In this article, we’ll provide eight essential tips to help you make well-informed decisions and give you the peace of mind you deserve. Join us on this journey, with your best interests at heart.

1. Understand Your Coverage Needs:

Before diving into the details of home insurance, it’s crucial to grasp the core components of a typical policy. These include:

  • Dwelling Coverage: This is the foundation of your home insurance policy. It covers the physical structure of your home, including walls, roof, and other structural elements. Ensure that your policy covers the replacement cost, which is the amount needed to rebuild your home in its entirety, not just its market value​​​​.
  • Personal Property Coverage: Your belongings, from furniture to electronics, are covered under this section. It’s typically set at a percentage of your dwelling coverage. To determine if this is sufficient, consider creating a home inventory to tally up the value of your possessions​​​​.
  • Liability Coverage: This protects you if you’re found responsible for someone else’s injuries or property damage. It’s wise to have enough liability coverage to safeguard all your assets, including your home, car, and savings​​.
  • Additional Living Expenses (ALE): If a covered peril forces you out of your home, ALE helps cover temporary housing and living costs. It’s usually a percentage of your dwelling coverage​​.

Understanding these basics will help you evaluate whether your current policy provides adequate protection for your home and belongings.

2. Consider Add-Ons and Endorsements:

Standard home insurance policies provide a solid foundation of coverage, but they might not cover everything. To ensure comprehensive protection, explore these additional options:

  • Extended Replacement Cost Coverage: This add-on is a safety net if rebuilding costs exceed your policy limits, often due to inflation or unexpected increases in construction costs. It typically provides an extra 10% to 50% above your dwelling coverage limit​​.
  • Scheduled Personal Property: For high-value items like jewelry, art, or electronics, standard policies may have limited coverage. Scheduling these items separately ensures they’re fully covered for their appraised value, providing peace of mind for your most precious possessions​​.
  • Equipment Breakdown Coverage: This endorsement covers sudden and accidental breakdowns of home systems and appliances, like HVAC units or refrigerators. It’s a cost-effective alternative to warranties and can save you from unexpected repair or replacement costs​​.

By adding these endorsements to your policy, you can tailor your coverage to fit your unique needs and protect against specific risks that standard policies might overlook.

3. Protect Against Natural Disasters:

While standard home insurance policies cover a range of perils, they typically exclude damage from natural disasters like floods and earthquakes. To ensure you’re fully protected, consider the following:

  • Flood Insurance: If you live in a flood-prone area, a separate flood insurance policy is essential. This coverage protects against damage caused by rising waters, storm surges, and other flood-related events. It’s available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and private insurers​​​​.
  • Earthquake Insurance: In earthquake-prone regions, such as California, a standard policy won’t cover earthquake damage. You can either add an endorsement to your existing policy or purchase a separate earthquake insurance policy. This coverage is crucial for rebuilding and repairs after seismic events​​​​.

By assessing your risk and obtaining the necessary additional coverage, you can safeguard your home and finances against these natural disasters.

4. Shop Around and Compare Quotes:

Finding the best home insurance coverage at a competitive price requires some research. Follow these steps to ensure you get the best deal:

  • Get Multiple Quotes: Reach out to at least three different insurance companies to compare coverage options and prices. This will give you a clearer picture of what’s available and help you find the most cost-effective policy for your needs​​.
  • Use Independent Agents: Consider working with an independent insurance agent like Old Harbor. They can shop around on your behalf, comparing policies from various insurers to find the best match for your specific requirements.
  • Review Annually: Your insurance needs may change over time. Make it a habit to review and compare quotes annually to ensure you’re still getting the best coverage at the best price.

By taking the time to shop around and compare quotes, you can secure comprehensive coverage that fits your budget and provides the protection you need.

5. Raise Your Deductible to Lower Premiums:

One effective way to reduce your home insurance premium is to increase your deductible. The deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in. By choosing a higher deductible, you lower the risk for the insurance company, which can result in a lower premium for you. Here are some considerations:

  • Assess Your Financial Situation: Ensure that you can comfortably afford the higher deductible in case of a claim. It’s important to have enough savings set aside to cover this amount.
  • Weigh the Savings: Compare the potential savings on your premium against the increased financial risk you’re taking on. In some cases, the savings may be significant enough to justify the higher deductible.
  • Consult with Your Agent: Discuss the options with your insurance agent to understand how different deductible levels impact your premium and coverage.

By carefully evaluating your financial ability to handle a higher deductible, you can make an informed decision that balances savings and risk.

6. Make Your Home More Secure:

Enhancing the security of your home can not only provide you with peace of mind but also lead to discounts on your insurance premium. Insurance companies often offer discounts for homes with safety features that reduce the likelihood of theft, fire, or other damages. Consider implementing the following:

  • Smoke Detectors: Install smoke detectors on each floor of your home and test them regularly to ensure they are functioning properly.
  • Burglar Alarms: A monitored burglar alarm system can deter intruders and alert authorities in case of a break-in.
  • Deadbolt Locks: Reinforce your doors with deadbolt locks to make it more difficult for burglars to gain entry.
  • Fire Extinguishers: Keep fire extinguishers in accessible locations, such as the kitchen and near fireplaces, to quickly address small fires.

By taking these steps to make your home more secure, you can not only protect your property but also potentially qualify for insurance discounts.

7. Bundle Policies for Additional Savings:

Combining your home and auto insurance policies with the same insurer can lead to significant savings. Many insurance companies offer multi-policy discounts, which can reduce your premiums by up to 30%​​. Here are some benefits of bundling:

  • Convenience: Managing both policies with one insurer simplifies your insurance needs, making it easier to handle payments and claims.
  • Savings: The discount for bundling can be substantial, providing you with more affordable coverage without compromising on protection.
  • Better Service: Having all your policies with one company can lead to better customer service, as you become a more valuable client.

Before bundling, compare quotes to ensure that the combined policy offers both the coverage you need and a competitive price.

8. Review and Update Your Policy Annually:

Your insurance needs can change over time due to various factor, such as home renovations, acquiring new valuable items, or changes in local building costs. To ensure your coverage remains adequate, it’s essential to review and update your policy annually. Here’s what to consider:

  • Check Your Coverage Limits: Ensure that your dwelling and personal property coverage limits are sufficient to cover the current replacement costs.
  • Review Add-Ons and Endorsements: Assess whether you need additional coverage for new risks or if you can remove endorsements that are no longer necessary.
  • Update Your Inventory: Keep an updated inventory of your belongings, especially after acquiring new items or getting rid of old ones.
  • Discuss Changes with Your Agent: Communicate any significant changes in your life or property with your insurance agent to adjust your coverage accordingly.

By regularly reviewing and updating your policy, you can maintain the right level of protection and avoid being underinsured or overpaying for coverage you no longer need.

Conclusion: Securing Your Home with Confidence

Securing the right home insurance is essential for protecting your home and belongings. By understanding your coverage needs, considering additional endorsements, and regularly reviewing your policy, you can ensure you have the best protection. Remember to shop around for competitive quotes and consider bundling policies for additional savings.

At Old Harbor Insurance, we’re committed to helping you find the ideal coverage at competitive rates. Our team is here to guide you through the process and ensure you have the peace of mind that comes with knowing your home is well-protected. Contact us today to explore your options and secure the coverage you need.


What is the most common home insurance coverage?

The most common home insurance coverage is the HO-3 policy, also known as the Special Form policy. It provides broad coverage for your home and personal property, covering all perils except those specifically excluded.

What is the most important thing in homeowners insurance?

The most important thing in homeowners insurance is ensuring that you have adequate dwelling coverage to rebuild your home in case of a total loss. This is known as replacement cost coverage.

What is the 80/20 rule for home insurance?

The 80/20 rule for home insurance, also known as the coinsurance clause, requires homeowners to insure their property for at least 80% of its replacement cost to receive full coverage for partial losses.

Which homeowners policy provides the most coverage?

The HO-5 policy, also known as the Comprehensive Form policy, provides the most coverage. It offers open peril coverage for both the dwelling and personal property, meaning it covers all perils except those explicitly excluded.

What is the rule 15 in insurance?

Rule 15 in insurance is not a standard term. It might refer to a specific guideline or rule within a particular insurance company or policy. It’s important to consult your policy documents or insurance provider for clarification on any specific rules or clauses.