Thursday, November 14, 2019

Home Insurance Basics

Back to Basics-Homeowners Insurance

   Have you tried to read your insurance policy and just given up? It can be very confusing! Our goal is to help you understand your insurance policy.
    Every policy (regardless of type) should have a Declarations Page, commonly referred to as the “Dec Page”. This page “declares” who you are, what property you have insured, your coverage choices and how much you are paying for this policy period. You will get a new one for each policy period.

There are 2 basic types of coverage on your Home insurance policy: Coverage that protects you and coverage that protects the other party.

Coverage that protects you:

Coverage A- Dwelling Value:  The dwelling value is set at or above the estimated replacement cost of the home. This includes the cost to haul away debris, the materials and contractor’s overhead & profits. This coverage can be written at Actual Cash Value (the value to rebuild the home minus depreciation based on the age of the home) or at Replacement Cost (value to rebuild the home at today’s quality and price). I suggest Replacement Cost policies. Many people ask us to match the coverage to what they bought the house for. Remember- Insurance is meant to make you whole again after a loss. The Dwelling Value isn't isn't based on how much it would cost to buy your home again. It is based on what your carrier is willing to pay out if you had to build your house from the ground up.

Coverage B- Other Structures: This covers buildings SEPARATE from the house, such as a pool, fence, storage shed, detached garage, etc. This usually defaults at 10% dwelling value. It can be lowered to save money or raised to increase coverage.

Coverage C- Personal Property:  Covers your contents of the home. This can also be written at ACV or Replacement cost coverage. If you have a total loss to the home, the carrier will write you a check for the total personal property, regardless of whether you have RC or ACV coverage. If you have a partial loss such as a small fire or theft, they will only give you the coverage you have paid for; meaning if you have ACV coverage, your 8 year old TV will only be covered for the value of an 8 year old TV. If you have Replacement Cost, your coverage will cover the cost of a new TV.

Loss of Use:  This provides reimbursement for reasonable increases in living expenses (such as a hotel room or apt) due to a covered loss, if your home is uninhabitable. There is usually a set amount as well as a set time period. Once the home is inhabitable again, you are expected to move back in (Regardless of how much you are enjoying the hotel!)

Deductibles:  This is the amount you pay out of pocket when you file a claim for a covered loss. There are 2 main types of deductibles;

            Wind/Hail Deductible: This covers your home in the case of high winds or hails, usually seen during severe storms. 

            All Other Perils Deductible: This covers your home for the remaining perils listed in your policy, such as fire or theft. Keep in mind, home insurance policies do not cover floods. You will have to buy a separate policy for flood insurance.

Coverage that protects the other party:

Personal Liability: This covers you if someone is injured on your property due to your negligence.  It can help pay for their injuries and any legal costs. We had a neighbors dog bite a visiting child once. The child is fine, but there were some medical costs and their Liability on their Home Insurance policy paid it in full.

Medical Payments: This will provide reasonable and necessary medical expenses to a guest on your property injured in an accident. If the UPS guy trips and falls and needs medical attention, this would cover minor needs, like ER and stitches.

Insurance coverage can be confusing, but it doesn't have to be!

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