Homeowners Insurance: What's Covered, What's Not?
By Keith Loria
Homeowners insurance is a great way to protect your home and belongings, however, with many policies, some common occurrences might not be covered. While policies differ from state to state, it’s crucial that you understand what’s included in your policy before signing the dotted line.
Typically, a homeowners insurance policy will cover the actual dwelling and some of the other structures on the property, like a fence, garage and driveway. Personal property is usually covered as well. This includes the contents inside the home, although you may need to pay a bit more in premiums for high-value items like jewelry or antique furniture. When getting a policy, it’s important to be sure that these items are covered. The last thing you want is to find out you weren’t covered if your house is robbed or destroyed by fire.
Policies also normally include coverage for injuries incurred by those on your property where you are liable. For instance, if someone slips on your driveway or falls while making repairs to the roof, you’re covered. However, this coverage is usually limited to a certain dollar value, so you need to know how much coverage you have and exactly what’s included.
One area that often confuses people when it comes to homeowners insurance has to do with natural disasters. It’s important to remember that not everything is covered and you often have to buy separate flood, hurricane or earthquake insurance—especially if you live in an area that is highly susceptible to these disasters. You may be able to save on these premiums by better protecting yourself against damage by adding storm shutters, reinforcing your roof or buying stronger roofing materials.
If items are stolen from your vehicle while it sits on your property, this may or may not be covered by your insurance. Normally, this is covered by auto insurance, but there are some homeowner policies that will include these items, so it’s good to know if yours does.
Additionally, many first-time buyers think they need insurance to cover the entire cost of the house sale. However, since the land under your house isn’t at risk from theft, windstorm, fire or other perils covered in your homeowners policy, it’s not necessary to include these when deciding how much insurance you should buy. Before choosing a policy, talk with your agent and determine the best number so that you have enough coverage, but not too much that you’re paying premiums for what you don’t need.
To learn more about homeowners insurance, contact our office today.
Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.