A significant portion of our lives are spent in and around our homes, be it owned or rented. For most of us it is the largest investment we ever make. We fill it with the belongings we amass during our lifetime. Any loss, therefore, is devastating, and so it is important that you protect it. The best way to do this is with homeowners insurance.
What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?
Dwelling – This covers the physical structure of your home, like the walls, floors and roof.
Other Structures – This can help protect the physical structure of buildings on your property that are separate from your home, such as a shed or a detached garage.
Personal Property – Personal property insures the belongings inside your home, w like furniture, computers, clothing and more. And if these belongings are stolen or damaged away from your home, personal property coverage could also kick in.
Personal Liability – Liability insurance can help pay the legal costs if someone makes a claim against you or sues you after being injured on your property. Think dog bites, slips etc.
Guest Medical Protection – This type of coverage can help cover the cost of medical expenses for a person who’s injured on your property.
Loss of Use: If a fire or other insured loss damages your house, you might need somewhere else to stay. Loss of use can cover the increase in cost to live until you can move back in.
What Homeowners Insurance Doesn't Cover
- Intentional damage to property (like arson) or harm to another person (like punching your neighbor in the face because they won’t turn down their music).
- Business activities or professional services offered in your place (you will need commercial insurance for those situations like). Check out landlord insurance vs homeowners insurance.
How Much Does Homeowners Insurance Cost?
- Location – The more dangerous your location is, for both natural and human risks, the higher premiums you will pay as there is a higher probability for claims.
- Home Size – The more square footage your home is, the more the premium will be.
- Credit – The better credit you have, the lower your rates. Most insurers look at credit and weight it heavily.
- Deductible – The deductible is your out of pocket cost before your policy kick in. Lower deductible = higher premium, and higher deductible = lower premium.
- Your Belongings – The more of your things you insure the higher your premium will be.
- Security Precautions – Having a security system, or a deadbolt lock can lower your premiums.
- Claims History – If you have made claims in the last 5 years your homeowners insurance will cost more.
How Much Should I Insure My House For?
Market Value vs. Replacement Cost When it comes to home insurance, you need to make an important distinction: Market value is the amount you could sell your home for, including the land, regardless of how much it would cost to rebuild the home. It is depending on the real estate and other markets that are not tied to the actual physical value of your house.
- The market value of the home.
- The purchase price or the land cost.
- The outstanding balance on a mortgage loan.
Ways To Lower Homeowners Insurance Premiums
- Install a smoke detector that is UL-approved on every floor of your home. Make sure that the batteries are working properly, so replace them on a regular basis. Try scheduling battery changes on your birthday so that you don’t forget this important task.
- Have a UL-approved fire extinguisher nearby in case of grease fires in the kitchen. Regularly check that its fully charged. A carbon monoxide detector is also a good investment for homeowners.
- Secure access doors with dead-bolt locks. At the same time, install a motion-detector alarm. This will guard against any trespasser with criminal intent.
- You get huge savings on your Pennsylvania home insurance if you install a central burglar and fire alarm.
- To guard against chimney fires, have your chimney, fireplace, and flues cleaned regularly as the damage from this sort of accident can be horrible and messy.
- If your keys are stolen, change your locks immediately. You don’t want to make life easier for a burglar by being careless.
- Virtually every home insurance policy excludes damage from groundwater and flooding. Guard against this by buying a sump-pump system.
- To prevent damage in case of hurricane or tornado, trim your trees regularly. You should also keep your walkways safe and clear of any obstacles that can cause accidents.
- While a home with a swimming pool is attractive, you have to take some steps to prevent accidents. For one, don’t install a diving board. Many of the accidents happen here. Surround the pool with an approved fence, and install a locking pool cover for good measure. Pools are considered an attractive nuisance, and kids are strongly attracted to them.
- Instead of buying your own trampoline, just enroll in a health club with access to trampoline. You and your children would better enjoy this activity and avoid injuries at the same time.
Homeowners Risks & Exposures
Property exposure includes the dwelling, its contents, and any related non-business structures and their contents located on the premises. The most significant controllable hazards are fire and theft. The major uncontrollable hazards are windstorm, hail, snow and ice, flood and earthquake. The age of the structure and its maintenance are primary concerns since both can contribute to losses. Fire hazards include electrical wiring, heating, cooling, and cooking equipment. The location of the property, type of contents, adequacy of locks and alarm systems are important when evaluating theft exposures.
The property’s location is the key to assessing its vulnerability to natural disasters such as wind, hail, snow and ice, flood, or earthquake. The premises should be built to current code. Vegetation should be trimmed and away from the structures.
Inland marine exposure includes any antiques, collectibles, electronics, fine arts, firearms, furs, jewelry, silverware, and other types of property subject to sublimits and exclusions within the homeowners policy. As these items are often attractive theft targets, security features such as locks, alarms, off-premise/transit exposures and storage arrangements should be reviewed.
Personal liability exposure arises from conditions at the premises and the actions of the members of the household (including pets). The age of any children, the social and civic organizations, and sports that the family participates in can all impact the loss potential. In addition, the type and breed of any pet(s) should be considered. Pools, trampolines, tree houses, playground equipment, non-licensed motorized vehicles, and similar attractions must be secured to prevent young children from gaining unsupervised access.
Auto exposures are from household members driving owned, rented, or borrowed vehicles or from loaning their vehicles to others outside the household. All drivers must be identified, licensed, and have acceptable MVRs. The type of vehicle, ownership, the principle driver, garaging location, miles driven, and type of driving must be considered when evaluating the exposure. Age and experience of each driver must be evaluated. Driving courses can assist drivers of any age.
The exposure of household residents temporarily living away from the household exposures such as students away at college is important to explore because of potential vehicle ownership, state compliance, garaging, and usage changes.
These coverage extensions are for additional amounts of insurance:
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Different States Homeowners Insurance
If you are looking for state specific Homeowners Insurance quotes, costs and information: