How to Buy Homeowners Insurance

Planning to buy homeowners insurance for the first time? Here's what you need to know and how to get started.

A senior couple discuss homeowners insurance with an agent.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Are you buying your first home? Congratulations. That's a huge milestone. And with it comes the need to protect this new asset for the years ahead. How to protect it? You're going to need homeowners insurance.

Before you start comparing quotes, you’ll need to decide how much coverage to get. A home’s insurance value is based on the cost to rebuild the house, not the market value. You can get an estimate of the home’s rebuilding cost at which asks a lot of questions about the size of the house and the building materials and details, then uses the same building-cost database that insurers use. Or you can work with an agent or the insurer to come up with an estimate.

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.

With contributions from