Buying homeowners insurance may intimidate potential policyholders. You may not know what coverage you need, or what items to insure. You may also wonder what exclusions apply to your policy.
An insurance agent can often help you compare policy options to get the best coverage. However, the policyholder also has to do their homework. Before buying a policy, take time to understand the parts of your property that need coverage. Consider how you might determine the coverage you need, and watch out for any policy exclusions that may need extra coverage.
Look Around Your Property: Determining What to Insure
Homeowners insurance covers much more than just your four walls. You can usually extend protection to various aspects of your property. Therefore, before you occupy a home, walk around the property. Doing so can help you explain to your agent what items may need coverage. Pay attention to:
- The Home’s Structure: Each home is unique, and they pose one-of-a-kind risks to their occupants. For example, a home with two floors faces different structural risks than a home with one floor. On another note, a home with a working fireplace may pose a higher fire risk than homes without such a feature. Tell your agent about the home’s unique characteristics. Your agent can then help you determine coverage levels appropriate to you.
- The Property’s Design and Structures: Many homeowners policies provide more than dwelling coverage. They usually extend coverage to the property line. Therefore, policies can often protect outlying buildings, garages, pools and certain other structures. These items need insurance often as much as the house itself.
- Personal Property: You may own a home, but you also own most of the items inside that home. Most homeowners insurance comes with a degree of personal property protection. It can help you obtain funds to replace certain items like furniture, electronics and other valuables following a covered loss.
- Guests: Not only do you need to protect your property, you need to protect the people who visit. Most homeowners policies contain a degree of liability coverage. This coverage may help you in case a third party sustains injuries or property damage in your home. Let’s say one of your children’s friends falls off a play set and breaks their arm. Liability coverage may help you settle medical costs or lawsuits if the visitor sues you.
It is important to keep in mind that you often can tailor your home insurance to address your unique risks. However, you also have a responsibility to select the limits that will most protect your home.
Determining Home Insurance Coverage Values
Home insurance policies come with dollar limits. Homeowners may be able to manipulate these limits to better meet their policy needs. Some policies have limit maximums. But, many owners can often find the coverage they need to adequately protect their home. Consider these aspects of property values when determining your coverage levels:
- The Property’s Value: The home’s structure, outlying buildings and various other construction on the property need coverage for their specific value. Homeowners will likely want to repair or replace these items in the event of losses. They can often choose between full replacement cost coverage and market-value coverage. Replacement cost coverage may give you the funds to replace the property up to its original value. Market-value coverage may provide you with compensation for the home based on its current, often depreciated, market value.
- Characteristics of the Property: Certain properties may have higher risks of certain losses. For example, homes in certain areas may have higher theft risks. Or, a home built in a wooded area may have a higher risk of a tree falling on the home. Each unique risk may change the value of homeowners insurance you need.
- Value of Personal Property: You often have the ability to set a value on the personal property coverage you want. However, some policies may maximize this coverage at $100,000, for example. Therefore, make a careful appraisal of the personal items in your home. Keep receipts and photographs of these items to help you better prove their value. If you have items of exceptional value, like jewelry or art, keep in mind that some home policies may not cover these items. You may have to insure them separately.
- Common Local Claims: Take some time to investigate your local area. Research the crime rates and local hazards that are likely to affect your area. You may be able to obtain an analysis of the average types of home insurance claims in your area. These statistics may help you better determine your coverage levels.
Every insurance customer should realize that your homeowners policy is unique. Your insurance agent can help you find the policy coverage you need, usually at a price you can afford. Never cut corners when obtaining your homeowners insurance. It can protect you from a lot of financial harm in the long run.
Do you need homeowners insurance? We can help you get a Tampa homeowners insurance policy that meets your unique needs. Call us at 800.966.6481 for a free quote on coverage.