When you make the decision to buy or build a new home, we realize it is, not only a monumental decision, but an exciting one, as well. Maybe you’ve selected a three bedroom brick ranch home that the kids will love or a cape cod style house with four bedrooms and a kitchen you can’t wait to start cooking in. Whatever the house style or size, we know it takes a lot of effort before that perfect house is discovered. Your house means a lot to you, and we know, it’s not just a house, it’s your home – the place you can be “you”. So, it’s no wonder, you want to be sure to get the homeowner’s insurance coverage and amount you need to protect the valuable things in your life. But, if you are like most people, you may be wondering, what is actually covered with insurance and how much do you need? This post will help you understand the finer details of homeowner’s insurance.
What does homeowner’s insurance cover?
This is an important first question to answer, because you probably want to ensure that the essential things will be taken care of in the event of an unfortunate occurrence. Homeowner’s insurance is quite thorough in what it encompasses; however, the amount you decide on can vary. There are three main areas of coverage discussed below:
Your structure is your house, including all the individual parts that make up the whole, such as the roof, walls, beams, insulation, and so on. The coverage does not stop at just your house but all free-standing buildings on your property, like poll buildings, a garage, and etc.
What kind of damage would be covered under a general homeowner’s policy? It generally takes care of such things like fire, hail, water damage, disaster, and falling items. Here are a few examples of the types of accidents covered:
- A wall becomes damaged in the kitchen due to a small fire.
- Several roof shingles blow off during a tumultuous storm.
- A window is broken by a falling tree limb.
It should be noted here, however, that if you desire flood and earthquake coverage, then an additional policy can be added to the main insurance. The water damage that is covered in the general homeowner’s insurance involves water from such things like a burst pipe, but would not be adequate for flooding. In addition, there is no coverage from damage resulting from termites or pests.
All of the items contained within your home and other structures are your belongings. At first thought, it may not seem to be as valuable as the home itself, but you may be surprised at just how much your things are worth once you start taking a closer look at them and going over the figures. Many people may not really have a good idea of what they own if it were to be lost in a fire. It is crucial to have an inventory list to give your insurance agent. It may seem like a daunting task, but it is necessary nonetheless. Use technology to make the process simpler (unless, of course, you prefer to write it all down). A video recording of your home as you proceed through each room explaining the items will be an accurate inventory plus a time-saver too. Even taking still pictures of each room will work fine. Click here for more detailed tips to assist you in creating your own inventory list.
If you have any costly items, speak to your agent about acquiring added insurance coverage. You want to ensure there is enough to replace any valuables if they are lost.
What type of damage is covered for your belongings? It is similar to the coverage described in the structure coverage (fire, water damage, theft, and so on). Since your belongings do not always stay where they “belong” and sometimes travel with you, it is good to know those items will be protected in the event of an occurrence or loss. For example, if you take your brand new camera to a family vacation and during the course of your time gone, the camera is stolen or damaged (in a way described in your policy), then it is covered.
In the event that a person becomes injured in your home, then liability insurance ensures you are protected. Certain things in your home can increase the risk of needing this insurance and may make your premium higher. If you have an aggressive pet, trampoline, or swimming pool, then your risk factor is somewhat higher than those without these items.
How much homeowner’s insurance coverage do you need?
While everyone’s needs are going to be different, there is a formula you can utilize to make the decision easier so that it’s not just a guessing game. When it comes to that place you call your very own home, you want to ensure it is thoroughly protected. One simple way to ensure you will never be on the short end of things is to get enough coverage to be able to rebuild in the event that you would lose everything. Keep in mind that when computing this figure, looking at the price of houses and using that as a guide will not be accurate because the housing costs rise and fall. When you calculate for rebuilding your home, the amount will be adequate because the cost of labor and materials is always going up.
At Oyer, Macoviak and Associates we have been serving Florida homeowners for decades. Our experience and service can guide you in obtaining just the right type and amount of insurance for your home. If you would like to discuss your homeowner’s insurance option, please contact us today! If you are thinking about renting your home check our article “Thinking of Turning Your House or Condo into a Vacation Rental? Consider Insurance Needs”.
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Rob Macoviak is the President of Oyer, Macoviak and Associates. Oyer, Macoviak and Associates is the oldest independent insurance agency in Boynton Beach and has been in business since 1953.