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A Beginner’s Guide To Homeowners Insurance

A Beginner’s Guide to Homeowners Insurance

Living in the west region of the United States means getting a dose of nature almost anytime you want. But while residing in the area may make you feel like you’re in a vacation every day, it does not exclude you from the wrath of nature and other misfortunes. Since there’s no telling when a calamity will strike, it’s always better to protect yourself and your property from unforeseen circumstances.

Every homeowner should consider getting home insurance no matter what type of dwelling they live in. Things may have been going well for you for the past years, but remember that one bad day can put all that you’ve worked for at stake. Home damage, accidents, injuries, and theft can put a massive strain on your family budget and set you back financially.

The insurance industry, however, can feel like a labyrinth for beginners. There are usually too many suggestions, but rarely any proper information on the topic, which leaves new homeowners overwhelmed and confused.

And so, to help you make a better and more informed decisions, we’ve broken down the basics of home insurance for you!

Home Insurance in A Nutshell

As with most insurance policies, home insurance is in place to help protect or safeguard your property and belongings should something unexpected happen in the future. Insurance companies have a range of policies to offer, depending on the extent of coverage you are looking for. 

Your insurer can tailor your policy to your needs and requirements. This means that the cost of your insurance can vary depending on the specifics you want to include.

Home Insurance Coverage – What is included?

Your homeowner’s insurance provides coverage for the various aspects of your home and property, but policies can differ according to the perils and extras you choose to add. As a package, your policy may provide coverage for any or all of the following:

Dwelling

The dwelling coverage of your policy insures your home’s physical structure. Your homeowner’s insurance will pay for the repairs in case of vandalism, fire, wind, or hail damage. It does not, however, include flood and earthquake coverages. You need to purchase separate coverage to protect your home from these disasters.

Suffice it to say; your insurance will only take effect when you experience a loss that is caused by a covered peril. Most policies include the following:

  • Damages caused by fire, smoke, hail, snow, wind, lightning, and explosions
  • Damages due to fallen trees and falling objects
  • Damages inflicted by aircraft, cars, and other vehicles
  • Water damage due to ruptured pipes
  • Losses and damages due to theft or vandalism

Perils that are excluded from most homeowners insurance policies include:

  • Water damage due to flooding 
  • Earthquake damage or any other damage caused by land movement
  • Damage inflicted by pets, rodents, and insects
  • Wear and tear
  • Intentional damage to the home

Other Structures

“Other structures” refer to other buildings in your property not attached to the main house. It may be a shed, a workshop, your garage, even your fence. The coverage for these structures is around 10% of your dwelling coverage, though you may discuss the possibility of increasing that with your insurance agent.

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Personal Belongings

Your home insurance may also include a “property coverage,” which is basically an insurance for the more valuable contents of your home. These may be artworks, furniture, appliance, and other precious possessions.

To ensure that you have enough personal property insurance for the stuff you want to cover, make a thorough inventory of your belongings, and how much they cost.

Loss of Use

Loss of use pertains to any costs accrued from being displaced from your home. If your property is heavily damaged and deemed unlivable for a time, your insurance policy may pay for your living and accommodation expenses.

Liability

Liability insurance, on the other hand, has nothing to do with your home or belongings. Instead, it protects your (or your family) from losses and damages inflicted onto others or their property due to your negligence.

While your liability coverage cannot keep you from getting sued, it will help you pay for the settlement and legal expenses should you find yourself facing a lawsuit.

Medical Responsibilities

If liability coverage pays for legal expenses and ensuing payouts, the medical payment coverage provides financial assistance for medical bills resulting from accidents and injuries within your property.

This part of your insurance, however, only applies to 3rd-party injuries and does not cover you or any of your household members.

Working with The Right Insurance Provider

The excitement of owning their first home can lead many homeowners to make a rushed decision when choosing home insurance. Before you take the plunge, remember that your home insurance plays an integral role in the protection of one of your most significant investments – your home. 

Residents of Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Idaho and other areas in the western region shouldn’t have any problems looking for homeowner’s insurance providers. However, you should immediately go with the first one you find. Look for at least three reliable insurance firms near you to choose from.

If you’re taking out a mortgage to finance your home, ask the mortgage company or your agent for a recommendation. Compare their offers and pick the one that gives you the best bang for your buck.

About The Author

Rachel Harper is the Content Marketing Strategist of Bennett & Porter, a wealth management and insurance firm based in Scottsdale, Arizona. When not writing, she makes use of her time reading books and playing bowling with her family and friends.

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