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For Oregon residents, be they from a smaller town like Ontario or larger ones like Portland, the need for a homeowners insurance policy is the same and so is the process by which you can get the best deals.

While different areas have their own nuances, such as higher rate premiums in more appreciated and populated areas, and the requirement of supplemental flood policies in coastal regions - at least by lenders - there is little difference otherwise.

Our goal here is to make sure that when you buy a home it is with the knowledge of how to find the best quotes, understanding the value of a personal relationship with your agent, ways to get discounts without having to sacrifice on quality, and also what to do when insuring a second or vacation home, which can also apply to a rental property.

To start, we are going to discuss quotes, because that is where it all starts, and, for many consumers, it is where it ends, but it should not. Use the FREE comparison tool above to start your search.

Online Quotes vs. Quotes From a Live Agent

When you get ready to make a home purchase, you should give the web a browse on what rates are available. For example, you could go to the state's website and find a list of the top insurers and then get a quote from every one of them, or just a handful. This can all be done within about an hour.

When you find the rate and coverage you like best, you should call a local office for that company and speak with an agent. It would even be a good idea to meet in person so that you have a face with the name.

All of this work is going to take a couple hours, but when it comes to a service you are going to be buying over the course of several decades, a couple hours is the least you can do to protect yourself.

Now, some may read this and think, it's just insurance. What's the big deal? The big deal is that you are going to be making payments for this service during the entire course of your time as a homeowner, and the service agent who is getting paid for it may or may not care about you.

When you need insurance, you need to also have the assurance that you have an agent who is committed to the work he or she does, and that you meet in person at least once.

This is all part of building a relationship with your agent.

Building a Relationship With Your Agent

The relationship with your agent may already be established. For example, it could be your brother-in-law, neighbor, or a college friend. This is great, but sometimes the past relationship, or other relationship, interferes with the type and quality of counsel you can receive from your agent.

This is why you need to think of your agent as a subject matter expert who can help you save money and protect your assets. If you do not carry this opinion of your agent, then you need to get a new one or request evidence from them that they can be.

If you think that insurance agents in general are just worthless fee collectors who could not pass the series of tests to sell stocks and bonds, then maybe a personal relationship should be kept at a distance.

If you can embrace the idea that your agent is person with knowledge you do not have, then you may just find that on top of getting a very high quality insurance policy, you may also find yourself getting discounts that you should be getting, but could be missing out on.

Getting Discounts Through Policy Combinations

One of the easiest ways to save money and build the relationship with your agent is to combine everything you can (within reason) under one roof. The within reason qualifier is because if you have someone you prefer for something, such as a very experienced investment person or financial adviser, then you would not want to move that aspect of your life into the hands of someone who you do not have confidence in just for the sake of saving $20 on your homeowner's policy.

Having said this, though, you may find that, all things being equal, you will save on all of your policies across the board. This includes life insurance and even disaster policies.

Lastly, there are cases where drivers who should have their rates raised for getting tickets or being in an accident may not have it raised for the fact that the agent petitions on behalf of the client so as to keep the rates down.

This is much easier to do if the agent knows and likes you, and it also helps if he has leverage to use, such as stating that you have your whole family covered on more than ten policies, and if they don't work to help you, then you will be seeking rates and quotes elsewhere.

It is for this very reason that you would never move your business elsewhere.

Insuring Your Lake or Vacation Home

Many Oregon residents, and those who live out of state, dream of having a place on Mud Lake or Malheur Lake.

Interestingly enough, in all of the work they do to save up the money to buy this getaway, they fail to research whether or not they need to insure the home properly.

Others fall for certain insurance myths, such as thinking that a classic car parked in a garage is covered by homeowner's insurance - it's not - or believing that a second home is different. It is, but not in terms of protecting the asset.

When you own a lake house you need to take the same steps. Again, it might seem counter intuitive to do something that is the opposite of relaxing when it comes to this house, but just imagine how stressed you will be when your claim is denied, especially when you thought you were covered.

This is especially the case when it comes to insuring yourself against a flood.

A Last Note: You Need Flood Insurance

Oregon is a rainy state that has many mountains. Landslides occur, but not everyone is deemed to be in a flood zone. For this reason, many, understandably, forgo the coverage. After all, it's an added expense that could go toward a nice night out or two, and if you needed it, it would be required, right?

The truth about flood insurance is that it should be part of the cost of your policy, because what qualifies for being a flood, and what doesn't can be quite surprising. For instance, if you have a tree fall onto your home during a storm and a window is broken, allowing water to flood in, then your regular homeowner's policy will cover the damage from the tree, but not what happened as a direct result of the tree coming down.

The water damage will be considered to have been flooding.

Recap - Remember the Basics

This is a lot of information, but you can secure your family's assets by understanding the following:

  1. Online quotes should be the same as those from an agent, unless there is a disparity in what is being looked up
  2. You should build a relationship with your agent, at least to some level
  3. You need to view your insurance agent as someone who is an expert in his or her field. Even if the agent is your little brother who you used to give wedgies to (and still wish you could)
  4. Combining your policies under a single roof will lead to a discount on all of them
  5. A second home may be a place where you exempt yourself from certain things that have to do with the world away from this sanctuary, but it does not exempt you from following the aforementioned rules
  6. You absolutely, without a doubt, need to have flood coverage

There is more that you could know, but beyond this, you should seek the guidance of an expert, your agent.

Be sure to use the FREE search tool below to start your quote comparisons.

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