What does Homeowners Insurance cover?
A homeowners policy bundles many exposures into one policy. A typical policy covers the structure of your dwelling, other structures on your property, your personal property, and personal liability. In addition, Loss of Use coverage helps pay for additional expenses you may incur, such as having to live elsewhere temporarily, if you have a covered loss that makes your home uninhabitable.
While there are different forms of homeowners, common coverages for the dwelling and personal property include fire, lightning, explosion, wind, theft, vandalism and a host of other causes of loss or damage. There is a deductible that applies to losses on your dwelling and personal property. Personal liability coverage protects you if someone sues you for occurrences that may happen in and around your home, plus other personal incidents that cause property damage or bodily injury to others.
Additionally, a homeowners policy can be customized to meet your individual needs. First, there are different forms of homeowners to choose from, and then there are additional optional coverages, increased limits for certain exposures, and the ability to obtain higher liability limits. Your Evans representative will ask you questions to determine what best meets your particular situation.
How much coverage should I carry on my house?
It is important to carry the correct amount of insurance on your dwelling. If you do not have adequate protection and you have a loss, you may not be entitled to receive the full amount of the damages. In most cases, you should insure your home for its “replacement cost.” This is the cost to rebuild your home, which is not necessarily its market value. By providing us accurate information about your house we can estimate the proper amount of insurance on your dwelling to give you adequate coverage.
What factors affect the cost of my homeowners insurance?
A number of factors go into determining your homeowners premium, including the type of homeowners policy you buy, the amount of coverage you carry, the size of your deductible, the construction of your house, the age of your house and where you live. Another factor that can affect your price is your past loss record, as insurance companies have access to public records that keep track of everyone’s claim experience. Your credit rating can affect the price of your policy. Also, the optional coverages that you purchase will contribute to your premium.
I don’t own a home, I rent. Do I need insurance?
Many people think that they might be covered under their landlord’s insurance, however, this is not the case. Your landlord can not cover your personal belongings, such as clothes, electronic equipment, furniture, jewelry, artwork, etc. against loss or destruction. In addition, your landlord cannot protect you for your liability if you are sued for an occurrence that is your responsibility. A renter’s policy, or tenant’s homeowners, is very similar to a homeowners policy except that it does not cover a dwelling and does offer coverage for the above items. Typically, the premiums are very reasonable as well.
What are practical things I can do to reduce the cost of my homeowners insurance premium?
One way to decrease your premium is to increase the deductible on your policy. Sometimes this can make a significant difference. Another way is through protective devices, such as smoke alarms, deadbolt locks, and fire and burglar alarms. Also, many companies offer discounts on both the auto and the home policies if the company writes both policies.
Are there additional coverages I should consider, and what are some of them?
Although a standard homeowners policy is very comprehensive, there may be important coverages that can be obtained that are not included in the policy, or the coverage amounts are limited and can be increased. Therefore, it is worthwhile to review your options with your Evans representative. A couple of increasingly popular additional coverages that are either not included or can be increased are water back-up from sewer and drains, and identity fraud. Certain items are included in the policy, but the amount of coverage is limited, such as jewelry, furs, silver, guns, money, and on and off premises business property. Usually these limits can be increased, or a scheduled floater can be added or purchased separately to adequately protect you. Many companies can offer coverage for some in-home businesses that are not covered under a standard homeowners. Earthquake coverage is also available to add to your policy. Flood coverage is NOT available under a homeowners policy, but can be purchased separately.
Contact one of our conveniently located Insurance offices, or call (716) 549-3500 for more information on any of our insurance products and services, or to set up an appointment to discuss your own unique situation.