It’s not something most of us like to think about, or spend money on, but having the right home insurance really does make a difference when the worst-case scenario happens. Why wait until after a disaster to discover your homeowners insurance doesn’t really have you covered? Here are 10 things you should know so you can have peace of mind — and full protection — right now:
1. What’s covered
Most homeowners insurance policies will cover damage caused by such perils as fire, windstorms, hail, lightning, theft or vandalism. There are other homeowners policies that cover additional perils as well. Typically, floods and earthquakes are excluded.
2. Safety pays
Safety features such as deadbolts, smoke alarms, burglar alarms and fire distinguishers can reduce your insurance premiums.
3. Replacement cost versus market value
Replacement cost covers repairing or replacing your entire home. Market value is how much someone would pay to buy your home and accompanying land in its current condition.
4. Multi policy discounts
Buying multiple policies (such as Home, Auto and Personal Umbrella Insurance) may qualify you for an additional discount.
5. Deductible options
By selecting a higher deductible, you may qualify for an additional savings in your annual premium.
6. High value items
If you own valuables such as jewelry, antiques or collectables, then these may not be covered under the basic terms of your homeowners insurance. You may need to purchase a separate floater.
7. Read your policy carefully
A home insurance policy is a legal contract. It is written so that your rights and responsibilities (as well as those of the insurance company) are clearly stated.
8. Consider an umbrella
Umbrella insurance is extra liability insurance. It is designed to help protect you from major claims and lawsuits and as a result it helps protect your assets and your future.
9. Homeowners insurance for condos and coops
When you own a condo or coop, you — not your association — are responsible for what’s inside your home. That’s why having a personal homeowners insurance policy is important.
10. Home inventory
Conduct a home inventory (with receipts) to make sure you have an accurate estimate of the value of your belongings. If you ever have to make a claim, you’ll be prepared.