Homeowners insurance provides financial protection against disasters.
A standard policy insures the home itself and the things you keep in
Homeowners insurance is a package policy. This means that it 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 includes damage caused by household pets.
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 homeowners’ responsibility.
The Right Coverage. The Right Price. The Right Value
The amount you pay for your home owners insurance depends on many
factors. Think of your personal housing situation, and the assets you
want to protect.
- Protection for Your Home
Property or Dwelling Coverage typically pays to repair or rebuild your home if it’s damaged or destroyed by an insured event like a kitchen fire or windstorm.
- Protection for You and Others
Personal Liability Coverage applies if someone is injured or their property is damaged and you are to blame. The coverage generally applies anywhere in the world. When choosing your liability coverage limits, consider things like how much money you make and the assets you own. Your personal liability coverage should be high enough to protect your assets if you are sued.
- Medical Coverage
This covers medical expenses for guests if they are injured on your property, and in certain cases covers people who are injured off of your property. It does not cover health care costs for you or other members of your household.
- Additional Living Expenses
If you can’t live in your home because of a covered loss, your home insurance policy will pay additional living expenses (commonly for up to 24 months) while damage is assessed and your home is repaired or rebuilt.
- Protection for Your Belongings
Your home is filled with furniture, clothes, electronics and other items that mean a lot to you. Personal Property Insurance helps replace these items if they are lost, stolen or destroyed as a result of a covered loss.
- Scheduled Personal Property Coverage
If you have special possessions such as jewelry, art, antiques or collectibles you may want to talk to your agent about this additional coverage. It provides broader coverage for specific items.
- If You Rent Out Your Home
Landlords may have the option to buy optional liability coverage for the risks posed by tenant-occupied dwellings.
Things to consider and questions to ask your agent
Here are few things to discuss with your agent that will influence your decisions.
- How much will it cost to rebuild my house and replace my belongings
if they are damaged or destroyed? (Ask your agent to talk you through
your home’s features and the things you own so you can make an informed
decision about coverage.)
- Does the insurance company have a good reputation for customer service? Is it known for paying claims fairly and promptly?
- What discounts are available? (Ask about multiple policy, security system and fire resistance discounts.)
- What’s the process for filing and settling a claim? (Ask who to call and what happens after you file a claim.)