Homeowners insurance isn't like auto insurance. You can legally own a home without homeowners insurance, although this isn't advisable. Your lender will probably require you to have some type of homeowners insurance. This protects their investment in your mortgage. And while we hope we never have to use auto or homeowners insurance, it's better to have coverage. My family lives in Southwestern Pennsylvania. In 1985, tornadoes, which were not something we would have ever imagined here, plowed through the area, causing catastrophic damage. Fortunately, my parents had Guaranteed Replacement Cost coverage. Because of their decision years before to pay a little extra for that, the insurance company reimbursed them for all of the costs to replace and repair the structures and property the tornado decided they didn't need. They made an excellent decision in carrying a homeowners policy.
What is homeowners insurance? It's a policy you purchase to protect you from liability in your home or on your property. It will help to pay expenses, or even cover expenses completely, depending on the policy you choose, if your home or property gets damaged or a theft occurs. Remember, insurance coverage varies from company to company, and even from policy to policy. Discuss the coverage in the policy you're considering before signing the contract and purchasing the policy. Understand exactly what it covers. Here are some of the options insurance companies may provide.
Structure coverage - In the event that your home is destroyed, structure coverage will pay for part or all of the cost to rebuild.
Water backup and sump overflow - This offers coverage for backups through drains, sewers, or sump pumps.
Flood insurance - Flooding is NOT covered in your home insurance. However, if your home's in a flood zone, it's important to have. Talk to your insurance agent about flood insurance to find the right policy for you.
Earthquake insurance - Earthquakes are happening in areas they didn't before. In traditional earthquake areas, having this coverage is sensible. But talk to your agent about it even if you aren't in one of the known zones.
Service line protection - Service providers only cover damage or issues with their lines to a certain point. For anything that is your responsibility, service line protection covers that part of the line.
Jewelry and high end valuables - Should you insure your engagement and wedding rings? What about those heirloom pieces you have? Is there a Dali hanging in your living room? Talk to your agent about insuring these items and others.
Firearm insurance - If you own firearms, it's in your best interest to insure them. Not only will you have help if they're, but if they're stolen (which we all hope will never happen), the serial numbers are all on file with the insurance company. It's a backup to your personal list of serial numbers.
Computer and equipment - Do you have computers or other electronic equipment in your home? If you buy computer and equipment coverage, you will have some peace of mind should you need to replace it. Remember, talk to your agent about what constitutes coverage. The damage might not count if your cat knocks over your vanilla latte and spills it on your computer.
Other structures - Detached garages, sheds, barns, and other structures on your property might need their own coverage in your policy. Be sure to ask about this.
Personal liability - This protects you in case you hurt someone or their property. Did you knock someone else's Dali off the wall in their living room? Let's say it landed on the homeowner's head, causing a concussion, and putting a hole in the painting. Personal liability insurance will be very helpful.
Identity recovery - Identity theft is rampant. The 2017 Identity Fraud Study, released by Javelin Strategy & Research, found that $16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S. consumers in 2016. (Google) Everyone is at risk. Ask your agent about coverage.
Home business protection - If you run a business out of your home, this is extremely important coverage. Talk to your agent about details.
Rental income protection - Do you own rental properties? Talk to your agent about rental income protection. This is obvious, but a reminder never hurts.
Remember, many insurance agencies offer multiple-policy discounts. For example, you have your homeowners, auto, and life insurance policies all with the same agency. This might help you save money.
Thanks to Erie Insurance for providing information for this blog.
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