Homeowners insurance provides financial protection against disasters. A standard
policy insures the home itself and the personal property you keep in it. A standard
policy may have categories of personal property that cap the coverage amount, such
as jewelry, furs, antiques, and firearms.
Insure your home to replacement cost value. Buy enough coverage to rebuild your
home if the worst were to happen. Talk to a professional agent and determine how
much it would cost to duplicate the size and style of the home you are currently
in. Our agents have a computer program designed to determine the cost of replacing
your home. Better to pay a little more in premiums than a lot more for a new house.
It is important to know that homeowners insurance is meant to cover unexpected damage,
not routine maintenance. Ask your agent to talk about what is covered and be sure
to read your policy so you know exactly what's included and what is not.
Homeowners insurance covers both damage to your property and your liability or legal
responsibility for any injuries and property damage you or members of your family
cause to other people. This usually includes damage caused by household pets. Check
with your agent to see if your policy provides coverage for your type of pet.
Damage caused by most disasters is covered but there are exceptions. The most significant
are damage caused by floods, earthquakes and poor maintenance. You must buy two separate
policies for flood and earthquake coverage. Maintenance-related problems are the
NO homeowner’s insurance policy covers damage from a flood.
Know the financial strength of the insurance company that you are doing business
with. You can find this information out at www.ambest.com. Be cautious doing business
with insurance companies that are not admitted carriers in your State. You can verify
if an insurance company is an admitted carrier by checking with the Department of
insurance in your State.
Avoid actual cash value policies. This means that if you have a loss, you may not
get the money that you need to fix your house or buy new furniture. In this type
of policy depreciation is taken into account when a claim occurs. To receive full
value of what it would cost to replace your items, you'll need replacement cost insurance.
Know that some carriers add a wind or hurricane damage deductible on top of the standard
deductible to policies for houses in areas prone to such damage. In some places
earthquake deductibles apply. Places that are deemed high risk to wind and hail
damage may even exclude it from the policy all together. Those cases require a separate
wind and hail or “hurricane” insurance policy.
If you live in a high risk area there are unique costs associated with this. We
try our best to explain the options available so you can make a sound decision.