Buying a home is often the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. Not only is there expense involved, but you’ve chosen this place for your chill time, as a place to raise your children, and possibly as a place to retire. It’s the place you feel safe. Homeowners insurance is designed to pay for damages to your home and its contents, and also to protect you from financial liability if someone is injured and pursues you for compensation.
What losses are covered?
Causes of losses are called “perils” in the insurance industry. Depending on what type of property policy you have, these are some of the perils that may be covered:
- Fire or lightning
- Windstorm or hail
- Riot or civil commotion
- Damage caused by aircraft
- Damage caused by vehicles
- Vandalism or malicious mischief
- Volcanic eruption
- Falling objects
- Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
- Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from within a plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or automatic fire-protective sprinkler system, or from a household appliance.
- Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning, or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system, an air conditioning or automatic fire-protective system.
- Freezing of a plumbing, heating, air conditioning or automatic, fire-protective sprinkler system, or of a household appliance.
- Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current.
CREATIVE INSURANCE SOLUTIONS
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Flood is not covered by any homeowner’s insurance policy.
Flood coverage is provided by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and while it’s not included in your homeowner policy, Creative Insurance Solutions can write a separate flood policy for you. We can tailor it to cover your dwelling and your personal property or just your personal property, whichever you prefer!
What kind of property is covered?
1. Your Dwelling – This is your house itself.
2. Other Structures – These are structures that are separate from the house, or connected to the house by a fence, wire or other form of connection, but not otherwise attached to the dwelling. It can include a tool shed, detached garage, decks, swimming pools, and gazebos.
3. Personal Property – Your “stuff.” This includes furniture, appliances, electronics, clothing, dishes, and linens among other things. A nice thing to know is that your personal property is also covered when it’s not in your house. You’ll want to read your policy or ask your agent for details. There may be limits or exclusions on some items like jewelry, firearms, antiques, and currency.
Help make your insurance claim experience better by:
Doing a Home Inventory now
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has tips, a PDF checklist you can use, as well as apps you can download on their website at http://www.insureuonline.org/home_inventory_page.htm
At the very least, stand in each room of your house and take pictures or make a video of the room. Make sure you zoom for close-ups to show details like pictures, decorations, dishes, dolls, toys, clothing, and shoes. Open drawers to show contents like silverware, tools, and jewelry. Lay jewelry on a piece of light colored fabric to make it easier to remember items stolen or lost in a fire. Store these pictures, the video, CD, or flash-drive in a safety deposit box at the bank or safe place other than your home. When a fire occurs, it doesn’t help to have the pictures in an album that’s been burnt.
Make a list of electronics and tools including manufacturer names, model numbers, and serial numbers. Store any user manuals in a safe place to be used as proof of purchase and ownership if necessary.
“Scheduling” valuable items
Sentimental jewelry pieces or items of value beyond your policy limits should be scheduled using a bill of sale or appraisal to extend coverage beyond the limits and to cover things like losing a stone from a ring, having a Rolex stolen, and mysterious disappearances.
There are two ways Personal Property can be covered:
Replacement Cost – Settlements are paid at a depreciated value initially. When the item is replaced, additional money is paid for the loss. Replacement of the items has to be of like kind and quality. A denim sofa cannot be replaced with a leather sofa without additional out of pocket expense on your part for upgrade.
Actual Cash Value – Item values are depreciated in consideration of their age and extent of use.
4. Loss of Use (or Additional Living Expenses) – When a loss occurs due to a covered peril and the dwelling becomes uninhabitable, the cost of additional living expenses is covered. Reimbursement of additional living expenses covers the cost to the insured for maintaining a normal standard of living.
How am I covered if someone is injured?
Homeowners insurance provides basic Liability Coverage that protects you, and family members who are part of your household if someone finds you legally responsible for injuries or damages, either on or off your property. You can be held legally liable for such events even though you didn’t intend for them to happen. Liability coverage generally includes the following:
· Legal defense costs
· Payments for first aid to others at the scene of an accident
· Payments for damage to someone else’s property caused by you or your family (e.g., your child hits a baseball through your neighbor’s window, your dog bites someone, or your sliced golf ball finds the windshield of a car).
· Payments for loss assessments resulting from your membership in a property association.
We will make sure you’re covered well, but will also make sure we’re saving you as much money as possible. Many of our insurance carriers offer discounts such as:
· Over 55 / Retired Discount
· Centralized Alarm System Discount
· New Home
· Multi-policy Discount
· Renovation Discount
· Dead bolt locks, Smoke Detectors, Fire Extinguishers
Call or email us today to review your current policy or to start a new policy for a property you’re planning to move into!