In the search for home insurance, getting an idea of what to expect from the average policy in your region can be a great help. After all, home insurance can be one of the most expensive purchases of a lifetime. Vermont is known as the Green Mountain State – mountains that unfortunately make properties in the state vulnerable to landslides, in addition to flooding and ice damage. Vermont has some of the lowest home insurance rates in the country, possibly influenced by Vermont’s low property crime rates and high rates of college education. However, coverage for the perils most damaging to property, like landslides and floods, are either absent or offer incomplete coverage across the state.
- Fun fact: Vermont produces the most maple syrup of any state in the U.S.
Average Rates in Vermont
Vermont home insurance is low cost – according to 2017 data from the Insurance Information Institute, Vermont is among the ten most affordable states for home insurance in the country. Its average premiums of $918 fall several hundred below the national average of $1,211. Vermont keeps company with other states where home insurance is cheap – including Pennsylvania ($931 average premiums) and Maine ($882 average premiums).
Renters’ insurance also falls on the cheaper end in Vermont. With average premiums of $155, insurance is cheaper than 76% of states in the nation. Even so, it’s just $25 below the national average of $180. States like North Carolina and Idaho have similar renters’ insurance prices, with $157 and $153 average premiums respectively.
Vermont Legal Insurance Requirements
The state of Vermont doesn’t require you to purchase home insurance. If you take out a mortgage, though, you will most likely be asked to choose a home insurance. Not only that, but if you don’t choose home insurance yourself, your mortgage company can place you onto their own preferred insurance – which tends to be more expensive.
You can expect Vermont home insurance to cover the following:
- Coverage A: Dwelling. This will protect you from damage costs to your home and attached structures for any “peril,” or damaging event covered by your insurance.
- Coverage B: Other Structures. Typically, somewhat lower coverage limits are available to buildings or structures that are separate from the main residence – like tool sheds, unattached garages, and guest homes.
- Coverage C: Personal Property. This insurance applies to the belongings of the insured. For belongings that are not kept within the residence, there are lower coverage limits. In addition, there are specialized limits set lower than ordinary property insurance for luxury items like furs, coin collections, firearms, jewelry, and more
- Coverage D: Loss of Use. Whether you rent or own a house, if damage to your residence prevents you from living at home, this will help pay for additional living expenses.
- Personal Liability and Medical Payments. You may need this insurance if someone is injured on your property, or if you, a family member, or pet damage another person’s property. Should you be held legally liable due to negligence, personal liability insurance will assist in paying for legal fees. Medical payments can be made to guests who are injured by accident on your property.
In Vermont, these coverage types are offered in insurance packages called “forms.” These differ primarily based on how many perils insurance will cover – the more perils, the more expensive the insurance plan. These are the main types:
- The Basic Coverage Form (HO-1) protects your home from: fire, lightning, vandalism and malicious mischief. You will need extended coverage to pay for insuring your home against damages from riot, explosion, vehicles, civil commotion, smoke, hail, aircraft, windstorm, and glass breakage.
- The Broad Coverage Form (HO-2), besides the coverage of the HO-1 form also insures the following perils: falling objects, weight of snow/sleet/ice, volcanic eruption, freezing of plumbing and appliances, and sudden accidental damage to water heating systems or electrical shorts. If you are a renter, you get this coverage only for your personal belongings with the Tenants Form (HO-4)
- Special Coverage Form (HO-3) covers against “open perils” for your dwelling: any peril there are not listed exceptions for in your policy will be insured. Common exclusions include flood, earthquake, war, and nuclear accidents. However, personal property only retains Broad Form coverage. The most popular type of home insurance, insures for every peril, save for exceptions that are listed on your insurance policy.
- The Condominium Form (HO-6) offers Broad Form coverage for personal belongings, as well as for the portions of the condo’s structure that the insured owns (walls, ceiling, floors).
Common Risk Factors in Vermont
In 2018, the Vermont Department of Emergency Management put out a Hazard State Mitigation Plan to describe the natural hazards most dangerous to infrastructure and properties. They measured both probability and impact. The most dangerous three hazards in Vermont have probabilities and impacts ranked at three or above.
- Probability Rank 4 means a natural hazard has more than a 75% chance of occurring every year
- Probability Rank 3 means between a 10% to 75% chance of happening any year, but at least 1 chance within the next 10 years
- Major Impact (Rank 4) describes severe property and environmental damage to both communities and regions of the state, severe injuries and deaths, as well as significant monetary loss from property damage
- Moderate Impact (Rank 3) describes severe property damage on a community scale, with more short term negative economic impacts
In Vermont, the top three most dangerous natural hazards to property owners are:
- Flooding (Probability Rank 4, Major Impact Rank 4).
Flooding can cause total destruction of personal property, building collapse, and significant structural damage. In Vermont, market home insurance doesn’t offer flood coverage. If you live in a participating community, you must instead obtain flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.
- Ice damage (Probability Rank 3, Moderate Impact Rank 3)
Ice damage to homes can come in several forms: weight of ice or snow could cause roof collapse, ice on the roads could make an automobile skip into the home, or your plumbing could freeze over. You need Broad Form Coverage or above to insure against all of these ice-related perils.
- Landslides (Probability Rank 3, Moderate Impact Rank 3).
Landslides can tear a home away from its foundations, or even bury and collapse the structure. Nearly all home insurance plans in Vermont do not cover for landslides or earthquakes, even in Special Coverage Forms. Landslides also don’t typically have endorsements that you can purchase to add onto your insurance plan, so to protect yourself it may be wise to avoid properties built on or at the base of slopes in Vermont.
Insurance Demographics/Statistics in Vermont
Insurance premium prices are like snowflakes. From a distance, they might seem similar, but there’s a range of calculations and special considerations that influence each person’s home insurance price, making it unique. But what exactly influences the price you’ll pay, and how?
Your Home’s Value
Vermont home values run just slightly above the national average – $266,474 compared to the national $248,857. In general, home value has some of the largest impacts on your home insurance premiums, as it determines the coverage cost and limits of many factors of your home insurance – from dwelling coverage, to how much your personal possessions will be insured for. Higher home values therefore translate to higher home insurance premiums.
Insurance companies calculate home value in two ways. Replacement cost is based on the value of the materials used to build your home – it’s the dollar amount you get when adding this to the cost of hiring construction workers to completely rebuild your home. Actual cash value is often used to calculate home value for older homes. Like replacement cost, it’s the price of rebuilding your home, save that value subtracted from your home due to wear and tear, aging, and pre existing damage also deduct from the actual cash value. Keep in mind that home value does not mean the sale cost of your home. Sale price includes the value of the land you reside on, which insurance companies don’t factor into replacement cost or actual cash value.
Local Crime Rates
In 2018, the FBI Crime Reporting Program published information on property crime rates – after deducting car thefts, Vermont had a rate of 1.24%, compared to the national 1.97%. This is among the lowest property crime rates in the country and can mean lower home insurance prices for Vermonters as a whole. But, if you live in an area with high property crime, that could mean higher premiums, as insurance companies can charge more to insure “high risk” customers who are more likely to file an insurance claim for property crime.
No matter where you live, you can qualify yourself for home insurance discounts by installing deadbolts in your home, or by installing home security systems approved by your insurer.
Your Income and Education
People with good credit often receive much more favorable insurance rates. Demographics associated with good credit are people with higher incomes and with a college education – Vermonters have incomes just slightly below the national average, but have very high rates of college graduation. The average household income in Vermont is $60,782, compared with the national average of $64,179. And, among those aged 25 and older, a whopping 37.3% have obtained a bachelors’ degree or higher. Nationally, only 32.06% have accomplished the same!
Where to Purchase Home Insurance in Vermont
After learning about how the average policies in Vermont work, the next step is to compare multiple insurance plans and companies to find the right fit. Agilerates.com can tailor that fit to your needs, by offering accurate quotes from a huge range of insurers in your area. These comparisons can benefit you even if you already own different home insurance. According to the Pulse Whitepaper from iii.org, only 44% of homeowners compare prices of different insurers at renewal time, and only 17% do so online. That means more than half of all homeowners are leaving money on the table at their annual renewal time. Use Agilerates.com online form to get matched with a local agent, get free quotes, and shop around!