Protect Your Assets with Homeowners Insurance
Crime, accidents and severe weather are part of life, and every home experiences loss or damage of some kind, at some point. You can’t predict when you will experience a loss, but you can protect yourself financially. Where do you begin, and how can you compare homeowners insurance quotes when it seems every company offers something different?
Start by getting a free home insurance quote from an independent insurance agent in the Trusted Choice® network. A local agent can compare rates for you so you can get on with enjoying your home and family. Your agent can also answer any questions you may have about how to get the right homeowners insurance for your needs, including personal property coverage, liability and more.
Home and Property Damage Facts
- In an average year, 374,000 residences catch fire, resulting in $7.32 billion in loss
- In 2010, 2,158,878 houses were burglarized, resulting in an estimated $4.6 billion loss
- 1,691 tornadoes occurred in the U.S. in 2011, at a cost of $28 billion
Getting coverage for the risks of owning a home is simply a wise investment. Be sure to talk with a qualified agent who understands your geographic area and can help you make sense of the many options available to you.
What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?
Broadly speaking, insurance covers you for potential loss resulting from risks such as burglary or theft, severe storms, fire and also your personal liability. The specific risks you may face as a home owner could include floods and earthquakes, which you must cover with separate policies, as these disasters are not included in home insurance.
Your home liability coverage protects you in the event that someone is injured on your premises or you are responsible for damage to someone else’s property. You homeowners insurance can even protect you against injury you cause to another person off-premises under certain circumstances. Note that liability insurance will not cover acts of violence or intentional damage.
Your liability insurance would also typically provide coverage if:
- Your child throws a baseball through the neighbor’s window
- Your dog bites a visitor to your home
- A visitor is injured on your backyard swing set or trampoline, or by falling on your icy sidewalk
- A dinner guest gets food poisoning and is hospitalized
If someone files a liability claim against you, your insurance can pay for property repairs, medical or funeral costs or even a lawsuit if the injured party chooses to launch a legal process.
When evaluating the amount of liability coverage that makes the most sense for you, be sure to fully discuss your limits and deductibles with your agent. Take time to understand your risks, and determine whether you will be well covered in various circumstances. In the event of a disaster, the costs of recovering can devastate household finances. Quality home insurance can make a difficult situation bearable and help you get your life back on track.
Is Homeowners Insurance Mandatory?
Homeowners coverage is not required by law. However, if you borrow money to buy a home, your lender will likely require you to buy a homeowners insurance policy in order for you to qualify for a home loan. In this case, your home is collateral and the lender wants the collateral maintained. The lender requires insurance so you can afford repairs if the home suffers an insurable loss.
At a minimum, your lender will want your policy to cover or exceed the amount you owe on the loan. Most home owners, however, want enough coverage to repair or replace the home. A Trusted Choice member agent can help you decide how much insurance is right for you.
Be Sure Your Home Insurance Provides Adequate Coverage
A recent study concluded that 69 percent of home owners are under-insured. Unfortunately, many home owners think they are fully protected and are stunned to find out at the time of loss that their coverage is inadequate.
Getting the right homeowners insurance coverage for your home and belongings depends on many things, from crime rates, tornado risk and wildfire hazards in your area to the specific personal property coverage and deductibles that make the most sense for your household.
Here are a few key strategies you may want to consider to make sure you have adequate home insurance:
- Increase your liability insurance with an umbrella liability policy, which will provide liability coverage up to $1 million or more.
- Get replacement cost home insurance to cover what it would cost to replace your home and personal property, instead of “actual cash value” coverage, which will only cover the current depreciated value.
- Be sure to read over the policy's exclusions carefully and ask your agent if any of these items are a risk, and if you can purchase additional insurance to cover them.
- Add coverage for specific items of value, such as jewelry, art and collectibles, through “endorsements” or “riders” on the policy.
While you may be able to buy online homeowners insurance, consider working directly through an agent who can provide in-depth explanations of each aspect of your policy. When you buy home insurance, you are protecting your financial future. Take time to seek good advice from a knowledgeable independent agent.
Making Sure Your Personal Belongings Are Covered
When choosing the amount of personal property coverage you want for your belongings, consider what it would cost to replace all of your personal items after a total loss from a fire. Many home owners assume that all of their belongings are fully covered until they experience a loss. Depending upon the type and amount of coverage in the policy, personal items may not be covered, or may only be covered up to a depreciated value. In most cases, this amount is far less than what it would cost to replace them.
The following steps can help you determine the value of your items and be prepared in the event that you need to file a claim:
- Compile an inventory of what you own, room by room.
- Take pictures of your belongings, particularly anything of high value.
- Keep receipts for all valuable items you purchase, including appliances.
- Record a replacement value for each item on your inventory.
- Go over this list with your insurance agent and determine whether you need to purchase additional coverage to be protected in the event of a loss.
- Place your inventory list, images and receipts in a secure place such as a fire safe.
These records will help you to complete the claims process more efficiently and accurately if you suffer a loss.
Why Work with an Independent Agent?
Now that you know the many ins and outs of homeowners insurance, you can see why it is so important to work with an insurance agent who can answer all of your questions. A local independent agent in the Trusted Choice network can compare policies and options for you from multiple insurance companies, and provide all of the information you need to make an informed decision.
Additionally, your local agent can look for all available discounts that can help to lower your home insurance costs. When it comes time to file a claim after a loss, your agent will assist you with the claims process so you can recover as quickly as possible. Find an agent in the Trusted Choice network today to get started finding the right homeowners insurance for your needs.
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