Homeowners Insurance: What You Need to Know
Whether you own or rent, you need home insurance designed to protect your home and personal property from all sorts of accidental damage. From fires to floods, grapefruit-sized hail to tornadoes, ice storms to earthquakes, we have seen it all affect our customers, and we have the insurance products and services to give them peace of mind. Beyond weather damage, homeowners insurance is designed to protect you against other losses too. These include the replacement cost of your possessions, loss of use of your home, and even medical and liability coverage should something happen to others in your home.
In this article, you will learn more about homeowners insurance coverage options and how this type of property insurance can help you recover from property damage. You’ll also learn more about the type of property damage that homeowners insurance covers and how to understand the declarations page of your homeowners insurance policy. Finally, you’ll learn how to get a good deal on this important property insurance.
What Is Homeowners Insurance?
Homeowners insurance is an insurance policy designed to provide insurance coverage for your home as well as the items within your home in the event of property damage. The property damage that occurs must be from a covered event. You would file a claim and pay your required deductible. Once that occurs, the insurance company covers the loss.
The policy also protects you, as the policy owners, if someone is hurt on your property. For example, you’re having a backyard barbecue and someone trips over a broken sprinkler head. You didn’t know that the sprinkler head was broken and a hazard. The person who tripped fell and broke their ankle. Your property insurance can pay for the medical expenses they incurred from their accident if they file a claim with your policy.
Coverage Options for Homeowners Insurance
Similar to an auto policy, you have coverage options when purchasing homeowners insurance. Generally, there are two basic types of coverage options. The coverage options are an HO-3 policy and an HO-5 policy. The HO-3 policy is the most common and it covers you from any property damage except for whatever is specifically excluded within your property. The HO-5 is generally more expensive. It covers all of your personal property except whatever items you specifically want to exclude.
There are also additional endorsements you can have added to your policy. Endorsements can be very useful if you own specific items that are particularly valuable that you want to ensure are covered for their full value. You can also include special limits as well as purchase additional types of coverage to supplement your homeowners insurance. A special limit is used to place a limit on the amount of money that will be reimbursed on certain items. Additional coverage is used to fill in the gaps of your homeowners coverage. For example, homeowners insurance does not cover property damage caused by earthquakes. You would need a separate earthquake insurance policy.
What Doesn’t Homeowners Insurance Cover?
Homeowners insurance is designed to cover property damage that occurs to your home or something that is attached to your home; other structures on your property; and your personal property.
In addition to property damage, your homeowners insurance also provides you with additional living expenses. This is very beneficial when your home is undergoing repairs. For example, if your home is damaged by a tornado, the additional living expenses provided by your policy can be used to pay for the cost of a hotel. If Oklahoma were to be hit with another freak ice storm like we saw in October 2020 and you lost all of your food because of an ongoing power outage, the additional living expenses could be used for a hotel stay or to replace your groceries (or both!).
Your homeowners policy also provides both liability coverage and medical payment, too. Liability coverage provides generally between $100,000 and $500,000 of coverage if you unintentionally or negligently injure someone or cause property damage to someone who is on your property. Medical payments generally provide between $1,000 and $5,000 of coverage to someone who is hurt on your property by you, a family member, or your pet regardless of fault.
What Doesn’t Homeowners Insurance Cover?
You must read your homeowners insurance policy to know specifically what is not covered. While there are some items, referred to as perils, that are generally not covered, each policy can be different and exclude certain items. The most commonly excluded perils include termites and other similar animal damage, an act of war, nuclear disaster, failure to complete routine home maintenance or repairs, mold, actions taken by the government, normal wear and tear, loss of power, corrosion, rotting material, or deterioration. Additionally, most homeowners insurance policies will not cover property damage from floods, earthquakes, and certain types of natural disasters. You may need specific types of insurance properties to fill the gap.
What Information Is Found on the Declarations Page?
The declarations page of your homeowners insurance policy is a bit of a cheat sheet. It also acts as proof of insurance that you can provide to your mortgage company. Your declarations page provides you with:
· The name of your insurance company
· The length of the insurance contract (i.e., 12 months)
· The effective date of your homeowners policy
· The name of the insured
· The birthdate of the insured
· The address of the home that is insured, including the city, state, and zip code
· The type of residence that is insured (i.e., the primary residence)
· The year that the home was built
· The year that the roof was last replaced
· The phone number for the fire department that would respond in the event of an emergency
· The occupancy size of the home
· The construction type of the home
· The roof type
· The protection class
· The primary source of heat for the home (i.e., central heat and whether the heat is electric, gas, or propane)
· The deductible amount
· The policy coverage for the dwelling
· The policy coverage for other structures
· The policy coverage for personal property
· The policy coverage for loss of use
· The policy coverage for personal liability and medical payments
· The down payment amount
· The monthly premium amount
· The total premium cost
· The discounts provided
· Underwriting information
How to Get a Good Deal on Homeowners Insurance
When it comes to buying insurance for your home, how do you know what a good deal looks like? It can be frustrating and confusing trying to find a “good deal” on insurance rates. A good deal can mean different things to different people. For some, it means the lowest price. For others, it means securing comprehensive coverage from a highly rated company at a fair price.
However you define it, here are some things to consider when comparing home insurance companies:
· Is the insurance agent you are working with independent or captive? The difference is that independent agencies like us can offer insurance from many companies, while captive agents work with just one insurance company?
· What discounts can you qualify for?
· When was the last time the insurance company raised the premium on insurance policies?
· What is the quality rating of the insurance company? (Do they have the financial resources to pay your claim?)
· How does the insurance company handle claims?
· How does the insurance company respond to catastrophes?
· How much are the deductibles (the amount you pay out-of-pocket) for a covered loss?
· Are you paying for replacement coverage for your roof and personal possessions, or actual cash value (after depreciation)?
· How does the insurance company determine the value to replace your home? (It’s not always what you paid for it!)
· Does the agent take the time to ask questions to understand your circumstances or do they just give you a quote?
· Does the agent take the time to answer your questions thoroughly? Do they help you understand the coverages?
· Based on where you live, do you need to add Flood Insurance or Earthquake coverage?
Get a Homeowners Insurance Quote Today!
When it comes to getting the right insurance to protect your home and property, the professional Comma Insurance team is ready to help you. As an independent agency, Comma Insurance can work with many insurance companies to find you the best homeowner’s insurance coverage at the best price. Get your free homeowners insurance quote today! Call now: 405-225-2820