Homeowners Insurance, What To Look For
Choosing the right level of insurance cover, or even a reputable provider of homeowners insurance for your home in 2016, is no easy task. There are plenty of US insurance companies that will happily have your business. So where do you start? It’s easy to turn straight to price when looking for a homeowners insurance provider, and understandably so. As the economy tightens and increases the squeeze on the family budget, it’s even more important to consider the cost of homeowner’s insurance before making your final decision, so it’s a logical place to start your search. But there’s more to consider than just price itself.
Once you’ve found options that fit your budget, make sure you look for the following offerings to be sure you’ve got the right product for your needs.
What Does The Home Insurance Cover?
The most important consideration when comparing homeowner’s insurance is the level of coverage it provides. Does your insurance match your requirements? Do you live in a flood-prone area? Are bushfires a regular occurrence? Evaluate your needs then be sure you understand the following options that may be provided by insurance companies:
- Dwelling Coverage: This is the part of your policy devoted to the repair or rebuilding of your home if damage is the result of a covered loss. Many integral components of your home like plumbing, electrical wiring, and your HVAC system are covered under this category.
- Liability: This helps protect your assets and will cover some lawsuit costs should you, a family member, or any person be injured on your property. (For example, if your neighbor twists an ankle on your lawn.) It will also provide coverage if damage is caused to another person’s property.
- Other Structures: Covers the cost of repairing or rebuilding detached structures such as garages, sheds, etc.
- Personal Property: A component that covers your personal effects such as clothing, electronics, furniture, etc. that are damaged or destroyed by a cause covered by your insurance.
- Loss of use: When your home is damaged to the point that you are unable to inhabit it and require temporary housing while it is being repaired, then loss-of-use cover will help pay your housing and living expenses.
- Guest Medical: In an instance where a person is injured on your property and they don’t want to sue, then guest-medical covers medical bills and related expenses.
Do They Offer Additional Protection?
In many cases, homeowner’s insurance providers will offer coverage of items damaged under extenuating circumstances at an additional price to the basic coverage of items listed above. If you live in a particularly susceptible neighborhood, then the level of additional protection provided by your insurer is worth looking for.
Some examples of additional coverage items include:
- Identity theft: Credit card fraud, stolen identification, and recovery of lost documents.
- Optional personal property: Items not covered as standard, and which you can include to your insurance policy.
- Water damage: Caused by sewer or storm-water backup.
- Natural disasters: Flood, earthquake, wind, and fire protection (if not included as standard).
Does The Insurer Offer Discounts?
If price is hot on your list of comparables, then you’ll be looking for the level of discounts and rewards offered by homeowner’s insurance companies. There’s a variety of discounts on offer out there, and failing to take advantage of them is as good as leaving money on the table. Make sure you compare discounts on offer, some of which include:
- Multiple-Policy Discount: Can you combine an auto, life, or other type of insurance policy to get a discount?
- Protective Device Discount: Do you have a security system, fire alarms, or other security devices that can potentially provide you a discount on your homeowners insurance?
- Claim-Free Discount: Do you qualify for a discount if you haven’t filed a claim?
- Group Savings: Some memberships or affiliations with certain businesses make you eligible for a discount. Be sure to ask when speaking to your broker.
- Newly Purchased Home: Discounts if you recently purchased your home.
- New/Renovated Home: Discounts if you recently renovated your home.
Selecting an insurance company that aligns with your discount eligibility can result in major savings, so be sure to consider discounts when looking for a homeowner’s insurance provider.
When looking for homeowner’s insurance in 2016, there’s no one solution that fits all. Competitive pricing is important, but what’s most important is that you’re covered should an incident occur. Would you rather spend an extra $100 on an insurance policy to cover for a loss that isn’t included by a cheaper option? Make sure you look for homeowner’s insurance that covers you adequately, and be prepared to pay a little extra to ensure your peace of mind.