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Buying a home means you’re also buying something else: homeowners insurance. And while it isn’t your biggest expense, how much you pay for insurance will impact your home ownership costs.
The national average cost of home insurance is $1,784 a year, according to NerdWallet’s most recent rate analysis. But the amount you pay can vary substantially depending on several factors. Here’s how to get a better idea of what your home insurance might cost.
How to estimate your home insurance
Use the homeowners insurance calculator below to get an average in your ZIP code, or follow the steps to estimate for yourself.
1. Determine how much coverage you need
A typical homeowners insurance policy includes six parts, and the amount of coverage you want for each type will help determine your premium. The six types are:
Dwelling, which pays for damage to the main structure of your home.
Other structures, which covers unattached structures like sheds and fences.
Personal property, which covers your belongings.
Loss of use, which pays for additional living expenses if you need to temporarily relocate while your home is being repaired.
Personal liability, should you cause property damage or injury to someone else.
Medical payments, which pays for treatment of someone injured on your property, regardless of fault. It also may pay if you, a family member or a pet has injured someone elsewhere.
Typically, you need enough dwelling coverage to pay the costs of completely rebuilding your home.
Several of the others may be calculated as a percentage of your dwelling coverage — generally 10% for other structures, 50% to 70% for personal property and 20% for loss of use. Liability coverage usually starts at $100,000 and can be higher depending on your needs. Medical payments coverage typically has a low limit, between $1,000 and $5,000. Learn more about home insurance coverage.
2. Choose your insurance deductible
Your insurance deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket for a covered claim before insurance kicks in. A typical homeowners insurance deductible ranges from $500 to $2,000.
The higher the deductible you set, the lower your premium.
3. Evaluate other factors
Your house's physical characteristics affect the cost of insurance. Examples include the home's age, the condition of the roof and compliance with current building codes. A swimming pool or other “attractive nuisance” will likely require extra liability coverage.
Similarly, location can play an important role. Insurers may weigh factors such as the quality of local fire safety and the home’s proximity to the coast.
4. Consider extra coverage
Standard home insurance policies do not cover damage from floods or earthquakes, but separate coverage may be available for these and other home insurance exclusions. If your home is at risk, you may want additional coverage. Learn more about flood insurance.
5. Get a quote
Some insurers offer tools for estimating how much their home insurance will cost. These features typically use a limited set of information, but they will at least give a sense of your potential costs. You can also start a quote above.
» MORE: What is hazard insurance?
NerdWallet home insurance calculator methodology
NerdWallet offers a ZIP-code-based calculator to help you estimate your homeowners insurance premium. NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-old homeowners from a variety of insurance companies in every ZIP code across all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Sample homeowners were nonsmokers with good credit living in a single-family, two-story home built in 1997. They had a $1,000 deductible and the following coverage limits:
$300,000 in dwelling coverage.
$30,000 in other structures coverage.
$150,000 in personal property coverage.
$60,000 in loss of use (additional living expenses) coverage.
$300,000 in liability coverage.
$1,000 in medical payments coverage.
These are sample rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.