Tips For Seniors Buying Home Insurance


Homeowners insurance is a vast and confusing topic, so it’s difficult to know where to begin with finding a plan.

If you are hunting for the best home insurance for seniors, there are some key factors to consider. We’ll walk you through homeowners insurance benefits and help you figure out where to begin.

What does homeowners insurance cover?

Homeowners insurance has some significant benefits that you may not realize. Here’s a broad look at what most plans cover as well as some details from AARP’s program, The Hartford.

Let’s look at what these policies cover and don’t cover.

Seniors Home Insurance

Homeowner’s insurance covers:

  • Damage to your home from fire, lightning, theft, freezing pipes, hail, and more
  • Damage to other structures on your property
  • Water damage from rainstorms or leaking pipes within the home
  • Personal property damage or theft, even if this occurs outside of the house (for example, in your car)
  • The cost of relocation and hotel bills if you can’t stay in your home during repairs
  • The cost of moving companies if you need to move furniture during repairs
  • Liability protection if someone gets injured in your home

Homeowner’s insurance often does not cover:

  • Damage from the earth shifting, such as sinkholes and earthquakes
  • Water damage from floods, backup from sewer lines, or a maintenance problem that the homeowner did not address
  • Bird, rodent, and insect damage
  • Wear and tear and normal aging of the home
  • Poor quality or defective craftsmanship

While this list may seem daunting, just make sure to clarify the policy details with your insurance company before signing. Also, think about the common natural disasters in your area, such as flooding, tornadoes, hail, or earthquakes, and make sure the plan has that covered or add on specific coverage for that event.

Factors That Go Into a Home Insurance Premium

Many companies offer senior discounts for those over 65, so when you get quotes from companies, make sure to ask. There are various other factors to consider when choosing a plan, and companies look at more than just age when determining your premium.

As far as premiums go, companies look at many factors, such as:

  • Age of the home
  • How close the house is to a fire station
  • Whether the home is in a floodplain or a high-crime area
  • Whether you are retired. If you’re retired, you are more likely to be at home and notice a home issue sooner to get lower rates.
  • The quality of the home and the material. For example, wood siding is a higher risk than metal.
  • Your history of filing home insurance claims. Some companies offer discounts if you haven’t filed any claims recently.
  • Whether you have locks and a security system
  • Where you park your car
  • Whether you live in a gated community

The list could go on, but the point is that most of these factors are not related to age but the home or location of the house.

Deciding on a Homeowners Insurance Policy

If you are a first-time home-buyer, make sure to price multiple companies. Start early in your home-buying process when you think through all the other home-buying questions, so you have time to find the best rates.

If you currently have a homeowners insurance plan and have turned 65, ask about additional senior discounts. Shop around to other companies, as insurance companies often give new customers lower rates than existing customers.

One great plan for seniors and pensioners is the AARP’s plan called The Hartford, which gives seniors an affordable premium that can be lowered even more if you bundle it with their car insurance. However, you can also find good plans at many other companies and possibly get a senior discount, as well.

How to Save Money on Homeowners Insurance

The most recent data from Bankrate puts the average yearly cost of homeowner’s insurance at $1,312 per year for a plan with a $250,000 dwelling coverage limit. That is a reasonable number, but finding ways to cut down on your costs during retirement is essential.

Another tip for saving money is making sure to have working smoke alarms and locks as well as a home security system. This is not only a critical maintenance aspect of owning a home, but it also can lower insurance premiums. Ask the insurance company what other discounts they give, as these can add up.

Finally, bundle as much as you can. When you bundle home and car insurance with the same company, they will often give a discount on your premiums. However, you need to ensure that the bundled rate is lower than what you’d get from a competitor.

Insuring at Replacement Cost, Not Market Value

When you insure your home, you want to avoid insuring for the amount you’d get if you listed the house today. Insure the home at its replacement cost by talking with the insurance company about the cost it would take to replace your home.

We are talking about lumber and cement and windows, not the inflated price of your home in the current market. By only covering the replacement cost of your home, you can get yourself a less expensive plan.

High or Low: Which Deductible to Choose

Though seniors may opt for lower-deductible health insurance plans if they have chronic conditions, the same logic does not apply to homeowners insurance. Here you want to choose a higher deductible plan.

The reason is that homeowners insurance is meant to cover significant losses like significant hail damage or a fire. It is not meant to fix a dog jumping up and breaking a glass window pane. In the latter case, it’s better just to replace the window pane and not file a claim to your insurance company.

Just choose the plan with a deductible that you could pay if you needed to, but one that is still high. Having a higher deductible plan will allow the monthly premiums to be much lower, and you will still have good coverage for catastrophic events.

What about veterans?

If you are an active-duty military member or a veteran, you may be able to get a military discount from many insurance companies. You can also consider one of the two insurance companies that serve only vets and active military: USAA and Armed Forces Insurance.

Remember to price out the competition to find the cheapest rate, as these companies aren’t necessarily giving you the best deal.

Luke WilliamsAbout the author: The above article on insurance tips for seniors was written by Luke Williams. Luke writes and researches for the insurance comparison site, His passions include writing about personal finance, insurance, and other ways everyday people can spend better.

Guide to Buy and Hold Real Estate Investing


Buy-and-hold real estate investing is a strategy for wealth building that does not require a large infusion of cash to get started. With a little bit of research — and a lot of elbow grease — it can be a great way for beginners to start investing their money.

Buy-and-hold real estate investing, also known as the BRRRR method, is a strategy in which investors buy properties in need of rehabilitation, rent them out, and refinance them to repeat the process.

It’s a great way for those new to real estate investing to have greater control over short- and long-term investments.

Buy and Hold Real Estate Investing

The Benefits of BRRR

Tax Benefits

A buy-and-hold investment offers tax benefits via a 1031 exchange if you sell a property and invest the proceeds into another like-kind property.

This can be especially profitable if you’re utilizing a 1031 exchange in Florida, a state with few regulations and a white-hot housing market.

Save Money on Property Management

More money will flow back into your pocket if you manage your properties. Some investors may not have the time or expertise to act as property managers, but if you do, it’s a great way to improve your return on investment.

Earn Passive Rental Income

Once you’ve completed the buy-and-hold process, rental income is passive. You’ll need to complete repairs as needed and clean units between tenants, but it can be a low-maintenance way to earn extra income if done correctly.

Utilizing one of the best home rental websites will allow you to quickly and easily find a tenant. This is how you build wealth. Your investments make money for you. 

Investment Appreciation

In addition to passive income, real estate values generally appreciate. In 2021, the average home price rose by nearly 17%. That beats the stock market’s rate of return by 7%.

How To Get Started

There are six steps to a buy-and-hold real estate investment strategy.

Step 1: Work With the Best Realtor

A crucial step is to locate the best property, so you’ll need to start with a great Realtor. You can save money on this step by using an experienced discount broker to save money on commission. 

Step 2: Buy the Right Property

Once you secure a Realtor, you can start looking for the right property. 

  • Look for properties that will provide at least a 1% monthly return on investment. For example, if you buy a property for $200,000, your rental income should be at least $2,000 a month. Have your real estate agent perform a comparative market analysis of similar homes that have sold recently in the area to ensure you don’t overpay for a property.
  • Avoid condos, properties with homeowners associations, and properties in historic districts. These are typically more challenging for new BRRRR investors and can eat into the bottom line.
  • Purchase a “value-add” property. This investment requires a little sweat equity to bring out its true value. If the work’s already been completed, your return on investment will plummet.

Step 3: Be Smart About Remodeling

That “value-add” property is going to need some work. You’ll have to put some money into it upfront, but there are ways to save while you make improvements.

Ensure you always pull permits so there are no building code violations.

  1. Use a cash-back credit card. If you spend $100,000 rehabbing and charge it to a 2% cashback card, you’ll save $2,000.
  2. Use professionals when you need them and DIY the rest. For repairs, such as electrical and plumbing, that are highly technical or require a licensed contractor, let the professionals handle it. Do it yourself if you’re just refreshing the paint or making small cosmetic repairs. Having reliable contractors can be a godsend.

Step 4: Choose Good Tenants

Rental properties are a lot like your children. No one will care for them exactly the same way you do. That said, taking the time to pick the perfect tenants will help you protect your investment. 

  • Start with a solid lease agreement. This might require a conversation with a  lawyer, but it’s worth it to draft a document that is clear, specific, and free of loopholes.
  • Consider a property manager. This can add anywhere from 8–10% in monthly expenses, but if the property is large — or you don’t have time to do the job — it might be worth the cost.
  • Screen tenants carefully. If you choose to manage the property yourself, take time to find excellent tenant screening tools. You’ll want to look specifically for good credit and a rental history free of evictions.
  • Be fair. Treat every tenant exactly the same way, regardless of circumstances. You might be tempted to offer benefits and exemptions to some tenants, but resist that temptation. In the end, the BRRRR method is a business, and a consistent approach is best for you and your tenants.

Step 5: Refinance

You’ve bought, rehabbed, and rented your property. Now it’s time to refinance. 

  • Choose a lender. Credit unions and small community banks tend to have more favorable rates. Online banks are another resource, often with lower — or zero — closing costs. Don’t forget to compare rates and fees.
  • Get an appraisal. This helps you realize the fruits of your labor during the rehabilitation phase.
  • Make sure you can cash out. Your lender should be able to offer a new mortgage that’s higher than the original. Cashing out puts money in your pocket for the final step — building your portfolio. 
  • Mind the seasoning period. Some lenders require you to keep your first mortgage for a set period of time before refinancing. 

Step 6: Start Looking for a New Property

With your refinancing complete and your cash in hand, it’s time to look for your next property.

Before starting your search, take time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t in your first buy-and-hold real estate investment. There’s no sense in making the same mistake twice.

All the investment books in the world don’t replace experience, so figure out what parts of BRRRR worked for you.

Why the Great Resignation is Causing Disruption in the Housing Market


As the world experienced its second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus made its mark on the housing and job markets. In 2021, more than 47 million Americans resigned from their jobs, creating a movement dubbed the Great Resignation.

At the same time, the housing market boomed, driving up home prices with more people looking for homes than selling.

Bidding wars have become the norm and not the exception. Buyers have been forced to do out-of-the-ordinary things like pay cash, waive home inspections, or offer appraisal gap coverage in the event house doesn’t appraise.

To say that real estate markets have been different would be an understatement.

A recent study conducted by Real Estate Witch surveyed 1,000 many Americans who were part of the Great Resignation about why they left their jobs and how their priorities in life have shifted.

As more companies seek to hire or retain employees by allowing them to work from home, workers are growing more accustomed to having flexibility in where they live. Working remotely has become far more commonplace.

A home close to work is no longer a top priority, allowing people to purchase houses in less urbanized areas with lower costs of living.

Let’s take a closer look at the study’s findings, including how the Great Resignation and the housing market are affecting each other.  

Great Resignation Disrupts Housing Market

A Change in Culture and Lifestyle

Experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic seems to have shifted the mindset many employees have about their needs in a job and workplace.

The pandemic was at the forefront of employees’ minds as they changed jobs, with 80% of respondents saying it influenced their decision to quit. Of those, 41% said their employers didn’t implement enough health and safety measures and 28% did not want to follow newly established protocols.

Asked to list the main reasons why they left their jobs, the most common answer (31% of respondents) was that workers quit to leave behind toxic work environments that included discrimination, harassment, and a lack of work-life balance.

Early in the pandemic, many jobs shifted to a work-from-home structure. During this time, some employees found they enjoyed working from home because it freed them from stressful workplaces. 

Others enjoyed the extra time that working from home gave them for their personal lives, particularly by cutting down on commuting and after-hours work functions.

The appeal of escaping the office and establishing a better work-life balance has led to increased interest in online jobs that offer more convenience.

With people shifting to work from home, houses are becoming more than a place to live. Homes have to meet more needs, serving as an office, gym, classroom, and more. With the freedom of working from home and the need for more space, many homeowners in 2021 wanted to trade in their smaller homes in more expensive zip codes for larger homes with a lower price per square foot. 

When looking for a home that has multiple functions to meet, it’s important to know how to find a real estate agent who can help you locate properties that fulfill your growing list of needs.

This also became a peak time for real estate investors looking to take advantage of the 1031 exchange and roll over the profits of their investments by buying new properties in places like Texas, which has a lower cost of living than other parts of the country and is in demand for buyers and renters alike. 

Financial Considerations at Stake

With housing prices and inflation on the rise, it may be surprising to find that salary was not the primary consideration for all of the survey respondents.

As they quit their jobs, 80% of employees received a counteroffer from their employer.  

A counteroffer might have persuaded some to stay on board, especially those who did not have a new job already lined up. 

Of the 55% of people who had a job lined up before quitting, 53% left to take a job that had a decrease in salary while 42% reported an increase in pay.

On average, respondents reported an $8,000 annual pay cut, and many said they would’ve taken an even bigger cut to leave their job in exchange for better working conditions or an opportunity to work from home.

For households experiencing a drop in income — either by going from two salaries to one or having an overall reduction — many were looking to trim expenses by moving somewhere with a lower cost of living than their current community.

Employees working from home have more freedom to choose where they live, allowing them to take things like personal and lifestyle goals into account instead of having their options limited to places close to their employer.

As people look to save money when house hunting, it’s important to work with a real estate agent who can not only get you a bargain on your new home but can save you money throughout the process.

One way to do this is by working with a real estate agent who charges a lower commission fee than traditional realtors. While most agents charge 2.5% to 3% of the purchase price, some agents are willing to work for a flat fee or a rate of 1% to 1.5%.

Having commissions set in stone is one of many common real estate myths.

Quick Decisions and Long-term Outcomes

During the height of the housing boom in 2021, homeowners in the process of selling were accepting offers almost as soon as they listed their homes on the market, with buyers making quick decisions to find the home of their dreams. 

Many employees moved equally fast when deciding to leave behind their old workplace. Nearly one in four people resigned after mulling it over for less than a week.

About half of the employees gave one week of notice or less, while one in four gave their employers zero notice, quitting the same day.

Looking back at their decision to quit, respondents had mixed feelings. In their responses, 56% had some regrets about quitting, but 58% also said they wouldn’t return to their old jobs without major improvements. While some were anxious or stressed about leaving their employers, most expressed feelings of relief, happiness, and excitement.

Many people quit on short notice whether they had another job lined up or not. Only 55% of those surveyed had a new job lined up before quitting. However, out of the 1,000 people surveyed who quit in 2021, 35% still do not have jobs. Of that group, 50% of people have been unemployed for at least six months. 

Out of those who quit their job without another gig lined up, 56% said they don’t regret it. 

Of those who left for new jobs, they were 47% more likely to be very satisfied with their new role in comparison to the one they quit. And out of those who quit their jobs for new ones, 44% are considering leaving their new jobs within the next six months.

Where things evolve from here is anyone’s guess but the smart money is trending towards more flexibility on where you work.