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FAQ'S

Why do I need to have homeowner insurance?

A home is the largest, most important investment most people will make. Basically, homeowner insurance is a way of protecting that investment. It insures your house, your garage, and any other buildings on the property against most major risks. It also protects the contents of your home, your family's household goods and personal belongings from theft and damage, both at home and away from home. Homeowner insurance also provides personal liability coverage that protects you in case of lawsuits that could arise from incidents that happen on or away from your property for which you may be held liable.

I rent; Do I still need insurance?

Yes, you'll want to have coverage for your personal belongings. Insurance policies are available for people who rent, have a co-op or own a condominium. These policies provide insurance for your personal property and personal liability protection.

I'm ready to visit my agent; What do I need to know before I go?

Consider these items as you prepare to meet with your agent regarding your homeowner insurance needs:

  • Value of your home and other structures on the property, such as a pool, unattached garage or shed.
  • Value of your personal property - this includes items such as furniture, clothing, linens, etc. To assist you in determining the value of your personal property, complete our Homeowners Inventory Worksheet and provide a copy to your agent.
  • Use our Homeowners Insurance Checklist to gather general information you will need when you meet with your agent.
  • Ask your agent what is covered by a basic policy and what isn't

What's the difference between "named perils policy" and an "all-risk policy"?

Your named perils policy does just that—it names the perils you are covered for in writing on your policy, such as windstorm, hail and fire. If your property is damaged by something that is not written on your policy, then you are not covered. The all-risk policy takes the opposite approach by listing perils you are not covered for in writing on your policy. Generally, an all-risk policy gives protection in a greater number of situations than a named perils policy.

What is the difference between actual cash value and replacement cost?

When a claim is paid on an actual cash value, the policy owner receives the depreciated value of the item. Therefore the older the item is, the less money will be paid for it. With replacement cost coverage, you are reimbursed with a product of similar value and quality at current prices. Typically, there is an additional cost for replacement cost coverage but it is well worth the investment for the peace of mind it brings.

What type of "extras" or endorsements should I consider adding?

Depending on where you live, you might want to consider adding earthquake or flood coverage, as these are generally excluded in a typical homeowner policy. You also may want to consider an additional endorsement to provide coverage for your computer, jewelry, or collectibles, as these items are usually only covered on a limited basis on most homeowner policies. Ask your agent if you need additional endorsements.

How can I reduce my premiums?

Increasing your deductible is one way to reduce your premium. You may also be eligible for a multi-policy discount if you carry more than one policy with the same insurer. Remember to ask about discounts, such as age of dwelling, nonsmoker, retiree credit and more.

Does inflation affect my coverage?

Inflation drives up the value of your home and contents. That's why it is important to make sure that your homeowner policy keeps pace with inflation. Some insurers offer policies that automatically adjust for inflation; your premium would also be adjusted accordingly.

In the event of a fire, will my hotel expense be covered?

Generally, yes. These are considered to be "additional living expenses." Your homeowner insurance will reimburse you, up to the amounts stated in your policy, for additional living expenses in the event that your home is damaged to the point where it is impossible for you to live there.

My house was a total loss. I had it insured for $100,000; will this be enough to rebuild?

If the cost to rebuild is equal to or less than $100,000, you would have enough coverage. If the cost to rebuild exceeds the policy amount, you will have to use your own funds to make up the difference. If you do not rebuild, you will be reimbursed on an actual cash value basis (replacement cost less depreciation).