Homeowners Insurance

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Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners Insurance Own or Rent, It does not Matter, Buying  Homeowners Insurance.

Do not expect an insurance agent to automatically give you the best rate on a home insurance policy. Insurance agents often receive a percentage of the yearly premium, giving them an incentive to sell you as expensive a policy as possible. However, if you do not renew your policy, they lose a commission, so they will be willing to strike a bargain to sustain a long term relationship with you.

Make sure you do your homework before you meet with your agent to discuss a policy. Check your state government website because every state has an insurance department responsible for monitoring the insurance companies. They have information available to help with your negotiation. For example, in Pennsylvania, the government website publishes an online brochure entitled “Your Guide to Homeowners Insurance” which contains a rate comparison, along with a glossary of insurance terminology. You also want to get accurate competitive home insurance quotes. Identical coverage can vary greatly among companies. Be armed with competitor pricing by asking for quotations using the SAME information each time. When calling other carriers for quotes, have a written list containing the description of your house, distance from the nearest fire department and hydrant, square footage, security devices and coverage and limits you want.

Moreover, check with your mortgage company regarding mandatory home insurance coverage. Most mortgage companies only require that you are covered for the balance of your mortgage. Many insurers try to add the land into the policy, claiming it is mandated by the mortgagor. However, in some states such as Texas and Pennsylvania, legislation has been passed banning this practice. Additionally, check the actual cash value versus the replacement cost coverage. Insurers may require you to be covered for the “replacement cost” of your home. This is not the same as “market value”, which is the actual sale price of a home. Replacement cost is the current cost for labor and materials to rebuild your exact home on your existing lot. Yet, there is no requirement that you rebuild the exact home in the event it is destroyed.

A large number of insurers use the same company, named Marshall and Swift, to calculate these “replacement cost”values. If your current agent refuses to write a policy for actual cash value, and your current market value is substantially less than the replacement value, you may want to look around for another company. But be sure your policy covers the balance on your mortgage at a minimum. It would be wise to consult with an insurance adjuster before purchasing a policy, to interpret exactly what types of incidents the insurance carriers are committing to cover.


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Homeowners Insurance, There are two types,   Guaranteed cost coverage will cover the costs to rebuild your home, even if the amount is greater than what is set in the policy. Straight replacement cost coverage is a cheaper option monthly, but will only cover the cost decided when the policy is written. Whichever choice you make, be sure the policy covers an amount equal to what will be needed to replace your home.

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Companies that offer Homeowners Insurance  also generally offer other insurance policies, such as car insurance, with deductions for multiple accounts with the same company. Talk to agents to find out the best insurance choices available for your budget.

To save a little money on your homeowners insurance, look at a company’s list of deductions to help negotiate the best rate on your policy. Fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and other safety items can lead to possible discounts, while swimming pools and certain breeds of dogs can raise a policy’s cost.

Make Sure You’ve Got Everything Covered

Homeowners Insurance, Ask your agent and be sure that your Home Insurance and Homeowners Insurance can insure their property for natural disasters or other specific circumstances using supplemental insurance. Consider what kinds of events happen in the area when choosing insurance. Is it a low-lying floodplain? Are there ever tornadoes in the area?

For instance, earthquake insurance is recommended for homeowners living close to faults or in certain states such as California, Washington and Oregon. Flood insurance can be bought through a private insurance company or through government programs. If the community is already partnered with the National Flood Insurance Program, homeowners can purchase flood coverage through the NFIP.

When Disaster Strikes

Homeowners Insurance, Even with the most careful planning, the unforeseen can happen at any time. The same fire extinguishers and smoke alarms that can save you money on your policy can also save you thousands of dollars in damage and help save your lives in case of a fire.

Make sure you have a disaster preparedness kit, which should also include items to help you take care of your home in case of natural disaster. Sandbags made out of burlap or plastic, unfilled, can be stored for years in preparation for water and erosion control. You could also keep plastic sheets, plywood for boarding up windows, and cleaning and sanitizing supplies to clean your home following a disastrous event.

Protect Your home Possessions

Homeowners Insurance, It’s not the structure of the house that makes it a home, it’s the possessions inside of it.

Most homeowners insurance policies cover personal property such as art, jewelry and furniture and generally cover 50- 75% of the  home insured value, in the event of damage or theft inside the home.

A good way to keep track of the items inside your home is to take a home inventory. This could mean taking pictures or video of your goods, and storing them through an online cloud storage service, or by keeping photographs inside a safety deposit box.

You can also purchase separate insurance policies for expensive and important items in your home.

Safe and Secure

Homeowners insurance, According to the FBI, a burglary happens every 15 seconds in the United States. A burglar can steal thousands of dollars worth of items in just minutes.

Home security systems are available off the shelf at hardware store, or purchased and maintained through a private company. From shrill alarms, phone calls to the company’s call center, or video coverage, there are a variety of options to suit every budget for the maximum security of the home.

Some companies even offer whole-house systems with smartphone applications that allow you to turn on lights, unlock doors or turn down the heater when you’re away from home.

Policies

The Insurance services office has standardized the following home insurance & homeowners insurance policy forms in general use     (names of the forms are given per the following reference):

HO0 – Dwelling Fire Form

A form that provides coverage on a home against fire, smoke, windstorm, hail, lightning, explosion, vehicles, and civil unrest. It does not cover your personal property, personal liability, or medical expenses. It is the type of policy your mortgage lender will buy for you if you let your homeowner policy lapse.

HO1 – Basic Form

A basic policy form that provides coverage on a home against 11 listed perils; contents are generally included in this type of coverage, but must be explicitly enumerated. The perils include fire or lightning, windstorm or hail, vandalism or malicious mischief, theft, damage from vehicles and aircraft, explosion, riot or civil commotion, glass breakage, smoke, volcanic eruption, and personal liability. Exceptions include floods, earthquakes. Most states no longer offer this type of coverage.

HO2 – Broad Form

A more advanced form that provides coverage on a home against 16 listed perils (including all 11 on the HO1). The coverage is usually a “named perils” policy, which lists the events that would be covered.

HO3 – Special Form

The typical, most comprehensive form used for single-family homes. The policy provides “all risk” coverage on the home with some perils excluded, such as earthquake and flood. Contents are covered on a named peril basis. (Note: “all risk” is poorly termed as it is essentially named exclusions (i.e., if it is not specifically excluded, it is covered).)

HO4 – Contents Broad Form

The Contents Broad, or Tenants, form is for renters. It covers personal property against the same perils as the contents portion of the HO2 or HO3.     An HO4 generally also includes liability coverage for personal injury or property damage inflicted on others.

HO5 – Comprehensive Form

Covers the same as HO3 plus more. On this policy the contents are covered on an open peril basis, therefore as long as the cause of loss is not specifically excluded in the policy it will be covered for that cause of loss.

HO6 – Unit-Owners Form

The form for condominium owners. It insures your personal property, your walls, floors and ceiling against all of the perils in the Broad Form.

HO8 – Modified Coverage Form

The form is for the owner-occupied older home whose replacement cost far exceeds the property’s market value.sterninsurinc