When insuring your home, the coverage will most often cover two primary components:

INSURING THE STRUCTURE


When determining the amount of coverage one should have, some factors, like the age and size of the house, are import for determining the replacement value.  However, to have proper coverage, the replacement value of your home should not take into account the price of the land it sits on. The land usually would not need to be rebuilt after a catastrophic event. 

 

INSURING THE CONTENTS


The contents of your home are insured as part of your homeowner’s insurance. Depending on your policy, they are typically insured for 50 to 75 percent of the value of your structure. While listing every item that you own may be a bit excessive, it is important to document and get extra coverage for the unique and valuable items. A standard policy often only provides a maximum coverage of somewhere from $1,000 to $2,000 for theft or damage of jewelry or other expensive items. If you have possessions worth a lot more, you should purchase higher limits or look into adding endorsements to your policy to cover more expensive or valuable items.

PROPERLY INSURING YOUR HOME

ADDITIONAL COVERAGE A STANDARD INSURANCE PLAN PROVIDES

Often, a policy will pay the medical expenses, legal costs and damages if a neighbor or guest is injured on your property even if the fall or accident is determined the result of negligence.  You should check to see how much liability protection you have. The standard amount is $100,000. If you feel you need more, consider purchasing higher limits or an umbrella policy.

COVERAGE NOT PROVIDED BY A STANDARD POLICY

It is important to note that unless specifically added at a higher cost, most standard homeowner’s insurance will not cover your property from damage caused by earthquakes, floods, landslides or sinkholes. 

ONCE YOU HAVE ADEQUATE COVERAGE, HERE ARE A FEW WAYS TO LOWER YOUR PREMIUM:

  • Raise your deductible: Like health insurance or car insurance, the higher the deductibles you choose, the lower the annual premium. However, when selecting a higher deductible, keep in mind that smaller claims/problems such as a broken window or damaged sheetrock from a leaky pipe, which typically will only cost a few hundred dollars to fix, will most likely be absorbed by you.
  • Look for multiple policy discounts: Many insurance companies give a discount of 10% or more to their customers who maintain other insurance contracts under the same roof (such as auto or health insurance). Consider obtaining a quote for other types of insurance from the same company that provides your homeowner’s insurance. You may end up saving on two annual policy premiums.
  • Improve security and safety: Items such as dead bolt locks and burglar alarms can sometimes bring discounts depending on the insurance company. If you're thinking about adding this, check with your insurer to see what qualifies.
  • Switching to actual cash value vs. replacement cost: Actual cash value coverage reimburses you for the value of your property at the time of damage or loss, minus your deductible. If you choose this option, you need to account for depreciation of your property, which will result in a lower claim payment than you expect. Replacement cost coverage reimburses the full value of the item lost after you purchase the new item and submit your receipts. The up-front premium is higher, but you receive full compensation for your possessions.
There is no one-size-fits-all way to insure a home. Depending on your location, preferences and level of risk tolerance, only you, with your insurance agent’s guidance, can determine the proper insurance coverage needed for you and your family.
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