What are benefits associated with home insurance and how do I go about choosing the right insurance for me? This common question seems a bit daunting from the start, however, there are certain questions you can ask yourself before choosing an insurance company to help direct you.
When you are shopping for a new home, there are many small and large decisions and details to be worked out in the process. The following information will help you walk through the basic home insurance information so you can protect your investment and make an informed decision that fits your life.
Typical threats to your home include things such as fire, lightning, wind and hail, freezing of plumbing, smoke, theft, explosion, and falling objects. There are certain things you should look for in your coverage to protect you against dangers such as these. Look for coverage for dwelling and other structures. This kind of coverage normally includes repair and rebuilding costs of your home, garage, or shed if it is damaged or destroyed by the above perils.
Contents is the second thing to look for in coverage. This includes your personal belongings, in case of fire, theft or other hazards covered in your policy. Your furniture, clothing, electronics, and other belongings are included in this part of the policy. With some insurance companies you can increase the coverage limits on your belongings to landscaping equipment, personal property, etc. Liability protection coverage will protect you against the legal responsibilities that could be used against you about any personal or property damage that you or your property may cause to others. This coverage typically includes compensation for the party that was injured and the cost of defending you in court, as well as any court awards, depending on the limits of your policy.
Guest medical coverage will pay for accidents that occur in your home that are not covered by your liability protection. Additional living expenses provides coverage for increased living expenses that you may incur if you experience a fire or storm that makes your house uninhabitable. Hotel payments, food, and other expenses may be included.
There are some vital questions to consider before you decide which insurance company is right for you and can provide you with the protection you want for your home.
1. Is the company I’m considering reputable, with high standards and financial stability? Is this company rated well by agencies?
2. What happens if I file a claim? Does my premium immediately increase or will my policy be cancelled? Will I be rewarded if I don’t file any claims?
3. Will I be able to reach the company the way I prefer – either in person, online or over the phone – to manage my policy the way I prefer? Do I have confidence that I will receive support and service from the company when I need it? Will they respond to a claim I make quickly and justly? 4. Are personalized coverage options offered to help me protect my possessions? Is protection for identity theft offered?
There are some frequently asked questions of customers below.
Q: How do I save money on my homeowner’s insurance?
A: A higher deductible is one way to save money. A deductible of at least $500 or $1,000 is a high deductible that will likely save you money in the long run. You could also save yourself money by choosing to insure both your car and your home through the same insurance company and qualifying for discounts.
Q: If my policy includes “replacement cost;” does that mean that my policy will pay to rebuild my home?
A: Replacement cost typically means that the insurance company will cover the cost of rebuilding or repairing your home without charging a deduction for depreciation. However, price increases for labor and supplies may not be included in this. A policy with extended replacement costs, though, may provide better protection by paying a percentage over the limit to rebuild your home.
Q: After filing a claim, is it necessary that I work with the insurance company’s contractors?
A: Selecting a repair company may be a process that varies from insurance company to insurance company. Some insurance companies allow you to choose the repair firm, and a representative from your insurance company will work with your chosen firm to agree to the cost. Some insurance companies offer a vendor referral program which places a workmanship guarantee on behalf of the vendor for up to three years from the date of the repairs.
Q: Is flood insurance included in a homeowner’s policy?
A: Usually, homeowner’s policies do not provide coverage for flood damages. If you live in a community that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, you may be eligible to purchase flood insurance from a local insurance company. A number of factors goes into determining the cost of flood insurance. If you decide not to buy flood insurance and your home is flooded you will only receive federal disaster assistance if the flood passes the US president’s standards for an official disaster. This kind of assistance is normally a loan which is required to be paid back with interest. If you do have flood insurance, however, claims will be paid even if the flood is not declared a national disaster by the US president. Also, there is no payback requirement if you purchase flood insurance.
PS – Susan Hilton is Bryan College Station, Texas’ real estate specialist in foreclosure sales and real estate agent career building so if you need help please call 979-764-2100.