A guide to homeowners insurance for senior citizens.
Many people set aside the years after retirement for traveling, taking up new hobbies, or enjoying the company of loved ones. The last thing you want to do is to spend your golden years worrying about whether or not your home is properly insured. The right homeowners insurance policy can provide peace of mind, allowing you to focus on the things that matter.
So what do senior citizens need to consider when searching for homeowners insurance? Is home insurance for elderly homeowners any different for homeowners in other age brackets? In this guide, we assess some specific factors that make senior citizen homeowners insurance unique and furnish advice on how to cover your home and valuables affordably and effectively.
Homeowners insurance for senior citizens is not much different than standard home insurance. However, many senior citizens may have special insurance needs that should be taken into account when looking for a policy.
For instance, if you’ve made modifications to your home — such as mobility ramps or stairlifts — you will need to inform your insurance company so these modifications are listed as a part of your insured property.
Standard homeowners insurance features apply to seniors, including coverage for your primary dwelling, personal property, liability, no-fault medical coverage, and additional living expenses. Depending on your situation, you can up your coverage levels at an additional cost.
|Coverage Type||Typical Coverage Limit|
|Other structures||10% of dwelling coverage|
|Personal Property||50% of dwelling coverage limit|
|Loss of Use||20% of dwelling coverage limit|
Insurance underwriters use a variety of factors to determine insurance rates. These considerations include the age and size of the home as well as its location. Personal factors such as credit score and claims history can also contribute to your premium. In most cases, factors relating to the house itself are more influential than the policyholder’s age. In some cases, older homeowners can even receive homeowners insurance discounts.
If you’re looking for cheap homeowners insurance for senior citizens, consider discounts offered by many insurance companies. Most homeowners insurance companies offer some form of discount to eligible policyholders.
Home insurance discounts may be available through:
Some insurers offer discounts specifically for senior citizens. If you are retired, your homeowners insurance policy may assume you will be home more often, therefore decreasing the risk of a break-in. Many insurers offer retirement discounts based on this logic.
While these discounts can lead to lower premiums, one of the best ways to find great homeowners rates is to compare insurance companies.
Many insurance companies that offer policies with senior citizens in mind. The Hartford, for example, offers insurance policies tailored to the elderly. Though AARP does not sell home insurance, AARP members may be eligible for special benefits and discounts through affiliated insurers.
For elderly citizens with high-value homes, specialty insurers such as Chubb and AIG may represent good options. These insurers offer higher coverage limits for homes, personal property, and liability, ensuring your home can be restored to the same standard that it was previously in the event of a covered loss.
Finding an insurance policy that offers the right coverage for your home and lifestyle is key. Make sure that your policy limits are high enough to properly cover your home. In many cases, the amount for which your home is insured might not cover the costs of rebuilding the structure to the same standard as before. Considering a policy with extended replacement cost coverage is a great idea. This added coverage goes above and beyond your policy limits — usually by 10 to 25% — to account for rising construction costs.
Maintaining higher liability limits could be helpful. Elevated liability limits can offer protection in the event you are found liable for damages or injuries sustained by others.
This is especially true if you have an attractive nuisance on your property. Examples of attractive nuisances are swimming pools, playground equipment, trampolines, or yard fixtures. Homeowners may be found liable for injuries caused by these items, even if those injured were on the property without permission.
An umbrella policy can be a good idea for some policyholders, especially high-net-worth individuals. Umbrella policies extend your personal liability limits to ensure you remain properly protected. Limits are usually extended in $1 million increments.
Many people don’t know homeowners insurance policies often provide coverage for cemetery monuments and plots. While it’s never easy to think about, ensuring that the monuments of loved ones are covered is very important. This coverage typically covers damage from vandalism and other perils. Monument and burial plot coverage typically covers up to $5,000 in damages, though the limits can be increased.
Homeowners liability coverage also applies to such plots. Many policyholders don’t realize that they are liable for accidents occurring on cemetery plots. This covers you in the event that someone is injured on a monument while visiting the cemetery.
Protecting your valuables is important, especially if you own high-value items such as antiques or jewelry. Homeowners insurance policies typically provide coverage for such items up to a certain amount.
Typical insurance limits for common items are as follows:
These limits are not always adequate. If you own high-value items you want to protect, you can increase these limits through a scheduled endorsement. This is commonly done for wedding rings or other high-value items via an appraisal.
Many senior citizens live in condominiums, avoiding the worry of building maintenance or routine lawn care. Plus, condos can have shared meeting spaces that can build community and connections. However, condos come with some special insurance considerations.
Just like homeowners insurance, condo insurance protects your home and valuables. It is, however, different in what it covers. For instance, a condo insurance policy applies only to a particular unit, not to shared amenities such as lawns or shared hallways. These are typically covered by a homeowners association policy.
A condo insurance policy provides many of the same coverages as a homeowners policy. These include protections for personal property, liability, loss of use, and medical payments to others. One coverage unique to condo insurance is loss assessment. Loss assessment complements your master policy in the event of a loss affecting multiple units, such as a fire. This coverage kicks in when damages exceed your own policy’s limits.
For more information about what's covered by a condo insurance policy, see the chart below.
What is covered by condo insurance?
What isn’t covered by condo insurance?
|Fire and smoke damage||Earthquake damage|
|Explosion damage||Flood damage|
|Wind and hail||Intentional damage|
|Theft or malicious theft||Nuclear hazards|
|Vandalism||Routine wear and tear|
|Riots, civil commotion|
|Vehicles not owned or operated by a resident|
Renters insurance is vital for elderly renters. Like homeowners insurance, renters insurance provides coverage for your personal property as well as personal liability coverage. As it does not insure the actual building itself, it is often quite affordable.
Renters insurance is especially important if you reside in — or plan to live in — a retirement home or assisted living facility. While retirement homes or assisted living centers typically provide some furniture, many inhabitants choose to supply their own belongings. For high-value items, the same basic sub-limits usually apply to both renters and homeowners policies.
Renters policies also provide personal liability coverage to help protect you against damages or injuries occurring in your home. This comes in handy if you often have visitors, as it’s possible you could be held liable if damages or injury occur during their visits.
There are many things for senior citizens to consider when looking for a homeowners policy. Your lifestyle, home type, and the value of your home and possessions can all impact the company and policy that you choose. It’s best to compare home insurance quotes from a variety of companies to get a good sense of what is available.