Homeowners

What is Homeowners Insurance?

Homeowners Insurance provides financial protection against disasters. A standard policy insures both your home and belongings.

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. Your policy will also cover damage caused by household pets.

Exceptions

Damage caused by most disasters is covered, but there are exceptions. Earthquakes, floods, and poor maintenance are all forms of damage not covered by a standard policy.  You must buy two separate policies for flood and earthquake coverage. Maintenance-related problems are the homeowners’ responsibility.

Why do you need homeowners insurance?

It is really all about protecting yourself financially if something unexpected happens to your home or possessions. That’s important because chances are your home is likely one of your largest investments.

    • If your home was destroyed by fire or damaged by a natural disaster, you’d need money to repair or replace it.
    • Guests in your home could possibly be injured; therefore liability protection and medical coverage help pay expenses.
    • In the case of theft and vandalism, it can reimburse you for your loss or pay for repairs.
  • For those still paying for your home, your lender will require insurance.

Keep In Mind

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.

Frequently Asked QuestionsHere 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?
    • Are any discounts available? (Inquire after multiple-policy, security-system, and fire-resistance discounts.)
  • What’s the process for filing and settling a claim? (Find out who to call and what happens after you file a claim.)

Renters

With Renters Insurance, you will be able to replace what is damaged or stolen.

Your policy covers your possessions against losses from fire or smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm, and water damage from plumbing.

However, like a Homeowner’s policy, it does not cover floods, earthquakes, or routine wear-and-tear. You can, however, buy separate policies for flood and earthquake damage.

If you are forced out of your home because of a disaster, your additional living expenses will be covered. 

Renters Insurance pays the reasonable additional costs of temporarily living away from your home if you can’t live in it due to a fire, severe storm, or other insured disaster. It covers hotel bills, temporary rentals, restaurant meals, and other living expenses incurred while your home is being rebuilt. Coverage for additional living expenses differs from company to company.

If other people are injured at your home or elsewhere by you, a family member, or your pet, and your policy pays legal defense costs if you are taken to court.

Decide How Much Insurance You Need.

Add up the cost of everything you would want to replace if it were damaged or stolen. This could also serve as the basis for an inventory that will make filing a claim easier. For an inventory, also record model numbers, dates, and places of purchase. Take photographs or make a video of these items and place a copy of the inventory in safe place away form your home.

If you rent an apartment or house, you need insurance to protect your belongings. While your landlord might have insurance, it only protects the building. Your belongings are not covered under those policies.

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