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Homeowners insurance quotes and rural homes


Sometimes when your eyes scan the countryside as you drive the interstate, you catch sight of lone farmhouses or small communities nestling into valleys and you get caught up in that dream. Urban living may be convenient with all the services in easy reach, but there's a romantic gloss to living somewhere remote. You get that spectacular view of all that peace and quiet, with just the occasional neighbor and some raccoons as company. There's a white picket fence and that picturesque hillside out back that develops a stream running through your cellar every time it rains. And then you suddenly list all the problems about whether you can get hooked up to power and how far away the nearest hospital is if you have an emergency.

So before you get sucked too far into the dream, here are a couple of issues to think about. Some of these rural properties have a lot of wood in their construction. This may look beautiful but it's a fire hazard. Your first question for the realtor is where the nearest fire department is located. Then you need to get into the small print. Looking at your own location, perhaps set back from the road with not the best water pressure in the local pipes, what's the average response time to reach you and, when they arrive, how effective will they be in putting out the fire? This means looking at what equipment the fire department has and how well trained the volunteers are. Yes, that's right. You're not dealing with a team of highly-trained professionals. These are your neighbors who train when they can and hope it's your home they have to save and not their own.

In most rural areas, the state Property Insurance Association will do a visit every two or three years. They issue a points rating for every fire department and that can be the difference between fire coverage that's affordable and quotes that bring a sharp intake of breath. Then there's the question of communications. If you have an emergency, how easy is it to call help, and how quickly can all the volunteers gather together? Live in the wrong place and your house is a pile of cooling ash before any help arrives. Now change fire into all the problems. There's that cellar full of water. Who's going to reinforce the hillside to ensure a wall of mud or worse is not going to wipe you off the map? And what happens when winter snows bring down your power cables? And who said anything about termites?

None of this should stop you from living the dream but, before you let the realtor talk you into signing, you should get some homeowners insurance quotes to see whether you can afford to live there. Literally, the ground can move under you or slide down. Water can flood and fire can burn the forest around you. Rural living is good so long as you are born into it or go into it with your eyes open. If you want to keep that home, pay what it takes to get reliable homeowners insurance for all the obvious hazards.

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