Home Insurance Basics And Questions For Your Agent
By Sydni Ellis
Home insurance is one of those things you hope you never have to use. But when it comes to your house and belongings, being covered by the right home insurance policy is vital. If you selected your policy long ago, then you might not remember exactly what it covers, and that’s OK. It just takes a few minutes to brush up on the basics to make sure you’re adequately covered in case of an emergency. If you’re a new homeowner, take the time upfront with your insurance agent to understand the coverage you need and what they recommend.
WHAT IS HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE?
Most home insurance policies insure your home’s structure, the items inside up to a certain amount depending on your policy and provides certain liabilitycoverage. Liability coverage pays for bodily injury claims and property damage sustained by others for which you or covered household residents are legallyresponsible. Sometimes special coverage is included for jewelry and other valuables.
WHAT OTHER THINGS DOES IT COVER?
If your home is damaged to the point, it’s temporarily unsafe to live in due to a covered disaster, your policy should provide additional living expenses (ALS) coverage to help with things like hotel stays. It can also cover theft, vandalism, and wind and hail damage, but typically not floods or earthquakes. You’ll require separate policies for those. Sometimes, you can get a policy that covers structures on your property, such as fences, sheds, gazebos, and detached garages.
HOW DO I SEE WHAT MY CURRENT POLICY COVERS?
Check your copy of the policy, log in to your account to review your policy online, or reach out to your agent to send you a copy. Start your review with the policy declaration page, which summarizes your coverage and provides the valuable information you need in case of a disaster or injury. This page also provides your policy number, effective and expiration date, list of coverage types and limits, and any extra coverage you have purchased. It will also include what you’re paying for the coverage, how much deductibles will be, and any applied discounts that save you money.
IS THIS STILL WHAT I NEED?
It’s a good idea to review your home insurance policy annually to see if it still provides adequate coverage. Often, we sign up for policies in the middle of closing on a new house and then don’t think about them again until we need them. Maybe you want to increase your liability protection or switch to a lower deductible, so you don’t have to come up with as much cash to start repairs. Perhaps you have a new outdoor structure that hasn’t been added to the policy. These are all big decisions that could make a huge impact in the aftermath of a damaging storm. Your agent can help you make the right choices that fit your family and situation.
HOW CAN MY AGENT HELP?
Your insurance agent is there to guide you along this journey. If you have questions or concerns about your policy, your agent can explain it and work with you to get the right coverage at a rate for your unique situation and budget. Your home is special. It deserves to be well-protected, and you deserve the financial protection your home insurance policy provides.