Purchasing home insurance is one of the best ways to protect your home and belongings from damage and theft. But home insurance is also among the most expensive purchases you will make in your lifetime – with so many home insurance companies and plans to choose from, finding the right home insurance for your needs can be daunting. What rates can you expect, and what kind of policies are there? What hazards should you look for coverage on, and what factors can alter the price of your premiums? Understanding more about average home policies in Wyoming can help you answer these questions, and provide a baseline as you decide on home insurance.
- Fun Fact: Wyoming is nicknamed The Equality State, and you might be surprised to find out why: women over the age of 21 have had the legal right to vote since 1869, and the state started electing female representatives as early as 1925!
Average Rates in Wyoming
Home insurance rates in Wyoming are middling – when the Insurance Information Institute published rankings of states’ average home insurance premium prices from least to most expensive, Wyoming placed in the exact center. Its $1,156 average premiums fall just $55 under the national average of $1,211. States with similar home insurance pricing include Montana ($1,174 average premiums) and Kentucky ($1,109 average premiums).
There isn’t much variation in renters’ insurance premiums across the nation. Despite how Wyoming’s $188 premiums are considered the 12th most expensive in the country, this is just $8 above the national average for renters’ insurance. Not only that, but three other states share the exact same average premiums – West Virginia, Florida, and South Carolina.
Wyoming Legal Insurance Requirements
No law in Wyoming mandates that you buy home insurance. However, should you get a mortgage for a home, you will nearly always be asked to buy home insurance by your lender. In fact, mortgage companies can even put you on their preferred home insurance if you do not buy your own. This is often more expensive than buying home insurance on your own.
The Wyoming Insurance Department works with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, who maintain uniform standards for home insurance across the country. Because of these standards, you can expect Wyoming Insurance to cover the following:
- Dwellings, meaning that damage sustained to the home or an attached structure (or even internal systems like plumbing and electrical wiring) will be insured, usually for around 80% of your home’s replacement value.
- Other structures coverage has a lower coverage limit than the main dwelling, but will protect from the same kinds of damages sustained to structures unattached to the main residence. This can include guest houses, work sheds, fencing, and occasionally driveways and sidewalks.
- Personal Property. This insurance – usually set at 50% of the amount of your dwelling coverage – will replace lost or damaged items in the home. This includes furniture, clothing, and appliances. Much lower limits will be set for certain types of luxury items, like furs, coin collections, gun collections, jewelry, artwork and antiques. A home inventory can help you find out if you need to purchase additional insurance for these items.
- Loss of Use. There are situations where damage to your residence can be so extensive you are forced to live outside of it for a time during repairs. In these cases, loss of use coverage will help you maintain your normal standard of living by paying for “extra costs” associated with your new temporary living situation. This can include motel costs, or storage for items in your home.
- Personal Liability and Medical Payments. If someone or their property is injured, these types of insurances come into play. Personal liability will help pay for legal costs should you be sued for negligence resulting in injury or damage to a person’s property. Medical payments, on the other hand, pay for medical bills to a limited extent when someone is accidentally injured on your property.
Wyoming has these insurance types embedded in “forms” that cover different types of perils, or damaging events. The general types of insurance forms you will see are the following:
- The Dwelling Fire Form is the cheapest form, which also covers the fewest perils: fire, smoke, windstorm, hail, lightning, explosions, vehicles, and civil unrest.
- The Basic Form covers the same perils as the Dwelling Fire Form, plus theft and vandalism. The Modified Coverage Form provides the same coverage as a Basic Form, but insures based on actual cash value rather than replacement cost. The Modified Coverage Form is relatively rare, and offered to older homes.
- The Broad Form covers the same perils as the Basic Form, along with: falling trees, the weight of ice or snow, and insurance for the sudden accidental rupturing, overflow, or freezing of plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and fire sprinkler systems
- The Special Form, the most popular type of home insurance, insures for every peril, save for exceptions that are listed on your insurance policy. Common exclusions include flood, earthquake, war, and nuclear accidents
- The Tenant’s Form and Condominium Unit Owners Form give Broad Form coverage to personal property, but NOT the complete external structure of the property. That insurance is the responsibility of your landlord! Condominium owners, in addition to personal property coverage can insure the walls and floors that they personally own (rather than insuring the entire condominium complex).
Common Risk Factors in Wyoming
The Wyoming State Mitigation Plan published by the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security details some of the most significant statewide hazards to Wyoming homes from 1960-2015:
- Hail: Not only is hail a fairly common hazard to Wyoming, it is also responsible for the most net financial loss of any hazard, with $156,198,967 worth of damages between 1960-2015. That’s 39% of the damages accrued from all hazards. Fortunately, even the most basic of Wyoming home insurances cover damage from hail.
- Flooding: Damage from floods accounts for the next greatest amount of monetary loss in Wyoming, with $111,812,405 or 28% of the damage caused from all losses. Flood insurance is not included within home insurance, but must be purchased from the National Flood Insurance Program. In Wyoming, the number of flood insurance policies available is much smaller than most states – possibly because of the low population density of the state. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average number of flood insurance policies in the United States and territories is 88,373. In Wyoming, the number is only 1,715.
- Winter Storm: Damage from winter storms, where freezing temperatures can burst plumbing systems and snow can collapse roofs, cause 20% of the total damages from hazards in Wyoming, or $81,520,032 in damages. Winter storms are also a more common risk in Wyoming, with 808 statewide events of winter storms causing damages over this period. Statewide events for hail and flooding both fell under 500. Broad Form coverage or above is needed to insure from the perils associated with winter storms.
- Wind Damage: Although financial losses from wind damage only accounted for 2% of total financial losses in Wyoming from natural hazards, it is much more common than other hazard types, with 1,357 statewide damaging events in a 55 year period. As with hail damage, however, any home insurance plan in Wyoming should offer coverage for losses related to wind damage.
Insurance Demographics/Statistics in Wyoming
There are a range of calculations that insurers make when setting the price of your home insurance premiums. Generally, insurance companies are interested in two kinds of information: how likely are you to file an insurance claim for damage to your home, and how much would it cost the insurance company to pay out that insurance claim? Let’s look a little deeper into some relevant statistics:
Your Home’s Value
Your home’s value answers the question of how much your insurance company will pay out of an insurance claim. Most of your home coverage and limits are based on a percentage of your home’s value – which is calculated either in terms of replacement cost or actual cash value. Replacement cost is the amount of money needed to buy the materials to completely rebuilt your home, as well as the labor costs to reconstruct it. Actual cash value, on the other hand, refers to replacement value minus the value loss from any depreciation (from age, wear and tear, or pre existing damage).
Home value is NOT the sale price of a home. When you buy a home, included in the price tag is the value of land – something that insurance companies do not consider when calculating home value.
Home values in Wyoming average close to the national average – $256,427, compared to the national average of $248,857. Because of this, the value of a Wyoming home is less likely to significantly skew the price of home insurance.
Local Crime Rates
Local property crime rates are one of the major ways insurance companies evaluate your “risk” of filing an insurance claim. The more crime in your area, the more risk you pose, and the more you may be asked to pay. In Wyoming, the property crime rate (sans auto theft) is below the national average of 1.97% – 1.64% according to the 2018 FBI Uniform Crime Report.
Your Income and Education
Often your income and education isn’t directly relevant to insurance companies, unless you were a member of a college organization that gives you access to special discounts. Indirectly, however, higher incomes and a college degree are markers associated with good credit, which has a huge influence on what rates home insurance companies will give you, as they look at your credit based insurance score. The better your credit, the better the rates you can be offered.
In Wyoming, household incomes and educational attainment rates fall slightly below the national average. 2018 information from the Census Bureau reports the average household income of Wyoming at $61,584, compared to the national $64,179. Also, while the proportion of people over 25 who have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree in Wyoming is 26.9%, nationally 32.06% of people in that age bracket have accomplished the same.
Where to Purchase Home Insurance in Wyoming
Knowing about standard home insurance in Wyoming is a great guide for beginning to search for home insurance. Next, you can compare the prices and policies of many different insurance companies to find the best coverage at the best price. Agilerates.com can make this process easy, giving you accurate quotes from a wide range of insurers in your area. Comparing prices can help you find savings even if you already have home insurance. According to the Pulse Whitepaper from iii.org, only 44% of homeowners compare prices of different insurers at their annual renewal time, and only 17% do so online. That means more than half of all homeowners are leaving money on the table at renewal time. Use Agilerates.com online form to get matched with a local agent, get free quotes, and shop around!