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Homeowners insurance for senior citizens

Senior man helping wife with coat
MoMo Productions/Getty Images

Once you have wrapped up your working life and have your retirement future to look forward to, evaluating your homeowners insurance might not be at the forefront of your goals. While you’ll likely be looking forward to well-deserved time with friends and family, maintaining the right homeowners insurance could be an important part of your ongoing financial success, especially during your retirement years. Bankrate’s team of insurance experts put together relevant considerations and insight to ensure retired homeowners are making educated decisions about their homeowners insurance and policy needs.

Homeowners insurance policy considerations for seniors

Home insurance coverage for senior citizens is not much different from coverage for other age groups. But some seniors may have modifications done to their home that require additional coverage, like having a stairlift or wheelchair ramp. These home modifications should be discussed with your insurance agent to determine if you need to increase dwelling or other structure coverage.

Seniors may also want to consider higher limits for guest medical payments and personal liability coverage. A standard home insurance policy provides limited guest medical payments, but can be increased if needed to cover visitor injuries on your property. If you are sued because of injuries or damage you cause or happens on your property, having higher limits for personal liability can help you navigate a settlement or court case.

Common coverage limits for home insurance

Most standard homeowners insurance policies offer the same coverage types, but limits can vary. Some coverage types can be increased or added to personalize your home insurance policy to meet your needs as a senior.

  • Dwelling coverage: This is the amount that would be paid out to repair or rebuild your home in the event of a total loss. Having the appropriate amount of dwelling coverage is especially important, especially as building and labor costs continue to rise. It’s recommended to review your policy with your agent annually to see if any adjustments need to be made.

  • Other structures: This limit is generally 10% of the dwelling coverage but can be increased if needed. If you are planning to build separate structures on your land, you may need to adjust this coverage to insure them.

  • Personal property: Coverage amounts vary, but are typically between 50% to 80% of dwelling coverage and can be increased if needed. If you are purchasing new furniture or taking up collecting high-value items, you may want to discuss the appropriate amount of personal property coverage with your agent. You can even consider adding scheduled personal property for specific high-value items.

  • Personal liability: The minimum amount of liability on a home policy is usually $100,000, but this can be increased as needed and many policies are sold with $300,000 as a standard limit. If you are hosting more events at your home, you may want to consider higher limits or an umbrella policy.

  • Loss of use: The coverage limit for this varies but is usually a percentage of the dwelling coverage. This option will pay for temporary housing if you are displaced after a covered claim. Your limit can be increased if needed. You may want to consider more coverage, especially if you are living in a high-cost city.

  • Medical payments: The lowest limit is usually $1,000, but coverage can be increased, usually with a cap of $5,000 or $10,000. This coverage pays injuries to guests regardless if you are found at fault. If you frequently have people over, a higher limit might be prudent.

Is homeowners insurance more expensive for seniors?

The cost of homeowners insurance is determined by a number of factors. Characteristics like your claims history, home’s location, the age of the home, square footage, roof and how much coverage you need will determine your rate. Each insurance company sets its own rating structure, so you will get different rates from different carriers.

However, your age is not a rating factor when it comes to homeowners insurance. When looking for homeowners insurance for seniors, it is best to consider companies that offer the coverage you need at a price that fits your budget. Some insurance companies may offer a senior citizens discount on insurance policies, though, so it is important to check if the discount option exists when getting quotes.

Homeowners insurance discounts for seniors

Seniors can take advantage of discounts to keep homeowners insurance rates low. Consider these discounts when shopping for home insurance or reviewing your renewal policy:

  • Claims free

  • Bundling home and auto insurance

  • Legacy or loyalty discount

  • Home improvements (new roof, impact resistant roof materials, storm shutters, upgraded HVAC or plumbing, etc.)

  • Monitored burglar and fire alarms

  • Smart home devices

Considerations when searching for the best homeowners insurance for seniors

The best homeowners insurance for seniors will depend on your specific coverage needs. To find the best homeowners insurance company, consider getting quotes from multiple companies to find the one that offers the coverages you need at the best price.

Home type

There are several types of homeowners insurance, but an HO-3 home insurance policy is the most common for homeowners. Seniors with a high-value home, or with high-value items like jewelry, furs or fine arts may have or want to consider an HO-5 policy, which provides additional coverage limits. If you are a senior citizen with a much older home or one not easily replaced, an HO-8 may be a better policy. Not all insurance companies offer each type of home insurance policy and not all homeowners will qualify, so it’s worth speaking with a licensed agent to determine what kind of policy fits your needs.

Coverage limits

When shopping for home insurance or reviewing your renewal policy, it is important to know what coverage types can be adjusted to cover your home and personal belongings. If you have antique or heirloom items, you may be able to get special coverage or higher limits on standard coverage to protect them. A standard HO-3 policy has specified limits for select items, which could mean if something is damaged or stolen, you will not get the full value or it may not be covered.

Because insurance companies and policies differ, seniors should compare coverage types and quotes to find the best options to cover their home and personal property. You may consider working with an independent insurance agent. The independent agent can shop with multiple insurance companies for you after learning your unique needs to find the best home insurance policy for you.

Tailored coverage

Having coverage tailored to your needs as a senior citizen can help ensure your home insurance will protect you when you need it most. An option to consider for senior citizen home insurance is The Hartford, which is known for providing home insurance coverage to AARP members. In addition to tailored home insurance coverage, it also offers a unique retiree discount for those who work fewer than 24 hours per week.

Renters insurance

Perhaps you are not a homeowner and instead are renting a home or apartment. No matter what type of building you are living in, renters insurance can help financially protect your personal contents when you do not own your home. This type of coverage also applies to assisted living facilities for seniors who want to make sure their belongings are still appropriately covered by an insurance plan.