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Beginner’s Guide to Choosing Your First Homeowners Insurance

As a first-time homebuyer, you probably have a lot of questions about your first homeowners insurance. This guide details what you need to know about California insurance options for new home buyers.

What Is Homeowners Insurance?

Homeowners insurance is financial protection for your residence. If an accident or disaster happens at your new home, your insurance policy will help cover the damages. Homeowners insurance covers your house itself, but it may also cover your belongings, your landscape, and other structures. Additionally, it may cover damages done to someone else (or their stuff) while on your property.

How Much Will Your First Home Insurance Cost?

Premiums for homeowners insurance vary. When calculating them, insurance companies consider a variety of factors, including:

  • Home value
  • Coverage options
  • Location
  • The age of the home
  • Specific features of the home
  • Additional structures on the property
  • Condition of the property
  • Liability risks (pools, trampolines, etc.)

In 2020, the average annual premium for a $250,000 home was $1,477. Bankrate provides a list of average annual premiums per state, which can give you a better idea of what you can expect to pay in your area. Most homeowners pay an annual premium, but you may be able to spread out your payments.

What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover in California?

There are many coverage options when you’re buying your first homeowners insurance. When you’re shopping for insurance for your first home, read through the policy information carefully to ensure you understand everything that it includes.

Here are the most common first home insurance coverage options in California:


Dwelling insurance covers the home’s structure.

Personal Property

Personal property coverage protects the items inside your home (i.e. your belongings).

Additional Structures

Other structures on your property, such as a shed or garage, require separate coverage.

Liability Protection

If harm comes to a person or their belongings while on your property, you may be liable for damages—regardless of whether you invited them onto your property. Liability protection helps cover these damages.

Medical Expenses

This covers the medical expenses of someone who gets injured on your property.

Loss of Use

If damages to your home are so bad that it’s deemed uninhabitable, your first home insurance policy may cover additional living expenses (e.g. rent or a hotel room) until you can move back in.

Things to Consider When Buying Your First Homeowners Insurance

When you’re buying your first home insurance in Southern California, keep in mind the following:

Liability Risks

Most insurance companies consider pools, trampolines, and fireplaces an additional risk. You don’t necessarily need to avoid these items if they’re on your wish list, but be aware that they may increase your annual insurance premium.

Dog Breeds

Many insurance companies require higher premiums if you own a dog that is statistically likely to bite someone. And some providers won’t even cover a home with such a dog. Many include the following, among others, on their list of restricted breeds:

  • Pit Bull
  • Rottweiler
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Chow Chow
  • German Shepherd

If you’re looking forward to getting a new pup once you move into your home, you may want to avoid these breeds—or at least ask your insurance company what it will cover before you decide on a breed.

Home-Based Business

Most homeowners insurance policies offer limited or no protection for a home-based business. In fact, some companies won’t insure a property with business equipment on-site. So if you work from home, you may need to shop for separate business coverage or add this type of coverage to your first homeowners insurance policy.

Questions About Your First Homeowners Insurance?

If you would like more information about home insurance in Southern California or want to request a quote, Bethany Insurance Company is here to help. Use our online form or call us at (909) 414-2276 to get started.