December 2015 - Susman
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Homeowners Insurance

What is Homeowners Insurance?
Homeowners Insurance provides you with the coverage in case of a disaster. In the event of a disaster your homeowners insurance will provide you with financial protection. A homeowners insurance policy insures the home in which you live along with the possessions you keep in it.

Home Insurance is a Package Policy
Homeowners insurance is purchased in a package policy. A package policy means that it covers both damage to your property and your liability or legal responsibility for any injuries and property damage you or a member of your household cause to other people. Homeowners insurance also covers damage caused by household pets.

A homeowner’s insurance policy covers most disasters, however there are some exceptions such as floods, earthquakes and poor maintenance (Also known as wear and tear). If you want coverage for floods or earthquakes, you will have to purchase separate policies. However, maintenance related problems are the homeowner’s responsibility to take care of. In fact, keeping up with the maintenance of your home will help to reduce the likelihood of a loss in the future. A good example of this is the replacement of a roof that is showing signs of wear.

Overall it is very important to have homeowners insurance coverage that suits your specific needs. You never know when a loss is going to occur and you are going to need the money to fix it. Take Hurricane Katrina for example; there were many of people that were without homes because they didn’t have flood insurance. That is why it is very important that you get the proper coverage.

Remember that standard homeowner’s policies do not cover flooding so you will have to purchase that separate through your homeowner’s insurance agent. Discuss all of the possible exposures with your agent, broker, or insurance company.

Replacement Cost
Replacement cost coverage is available for the structure of your home; This allows you to repair the home to the state that it was before the damage took place. Actual cash value coverage is replacement cost less depreciation. The older your possessions are, the less you will recover from the homeowners insurance company.

Renters Insurance
Not only is insurance coverage available for homeowners it is also available for the people who rent apartments or houses. If you rent a house and you have a renters insurance policy, you will be covered in the event of a loss. The coverage for a renter is relatively inexpensive and will cover your property, your liability, and loss of use of the home due to a covered loss.

Coverage Types
The standard homeowner’s insurance policy includes four different types of coverage.
1) The coverage for the structure of your home is offered by the homeowner’s insurance company. This means that they will repair or rebuild your home in the event of a covered loss.
2) The coverage for your personal belongings that you have in your home is also covered by the homeowner’s insurance company. This means in the event of a claim that is covered by your insurance policy, your personal belongings will be able to be replaced. Note: It is a good idea to carry replacement cost coverage for your contents. This way, your items are not depreciated if there is a loss. With replacement cost coverage, your property can be replaced with items of like kind and quality.
3) Liability protection covers you in case of a law suit against bodily injury or property damage that you are your family members caused to another party.
4) Additional living expenses if you are temporarily unable to live in your home because of an insured disaster.

There can be more to a home insurance policy and there are limitations for certain types of property. It is best to discuss these options with a representative at the time your are applying for coverage.

Homeowner Insurance Policy – What Does It Look Like?

The homeowner insurance policy is divided into sections. Each section has benefits and features. The home policy is divided into two main parts. When you see the declarations page on a home policy then you will see its structure very clearly.

Section I – provides property coverage for the dwelling, other structures, personal property and additional living expense.

A.The Dwelling – provides coverage to the dwelling and the structures attached to the dwelling.

B.Other Structures – Provides coverage for other structures other than the dwelling that set a part from the dwelling.

C.Personal Property – provides personal property coverage for the insured anywhere in the world.

D.Additional Living Expense – provides additional living expenses to the insured if their dwelling becomes uninhabitable.

Section II – provides liability insurance and medical payments to third parties.

A.Personal Liability- provides coverage in the event a claim or law suit is brought against the insured for damages because of bodily injury or property damage.

B.Medical Payments – provides medical payments to others in the event the individual is injured and requires medical treatment.

There are many more additional benefits and endorsements to these two sections. The home policy will list the perils that are covered under the policy. The homeowner policy has a wide range of protection. Homeowner insurance policies are sold on either a replacement cost or actual cash value basis. The replacement cost homeowner policy is more appropriate for newer homes built within the last 40 years. The actual cash value policy is better for older homes that have depreciated in market value.

There are discounts available for things like smoke detectors, dead bolt locks, and fire extinguishers. Burglar alarms and fire alarms that transmit to the police station and fire departments will qualify for even larger discounts. There are retirement discounts for the senior citizen as well as multi-policy discounts when you purchase auto and home insurance from the same company.

Homeowner Insurance Online Quote – Things To Consider

The homeowner policy has so many benefits and features. The online shopper can get confused in all the details when trying to compare policies. There are some basic benefits and there are a variety supplemental benefits and riders. The rates are calculated based on two different methods of claim settlement. The homeowner needs to understand these two methods in order to select the appropriate policy.

Two Types of Claim Settlement

1.Actual Cash Value – This type of claim settlement uses depreciation when determining the amount paid after a loss. For example: If a property has a current replacement value of $100,000 and has depreciated by 30% due to age and use, the actual cash value of the property would be $70,000. Actual cash value policies are usually written on older homes that depreciate.

2.Replacement Cost – This type of claim settlement does not use depreciation. Replacement cost is defined as the cost to replace with like kind and quality at today’s replacement cost without any depreciation. Replacement cost policies are generally purchased on newer homes.

The next thing to consider is how to determine the proper value of your home. Insurance companies use a calculator to find the appropriate amount of insurance. It will make your online experience a lot easier if you can have some of these details available.

1.Square Footage – Insurance companies always use square footage to calculate replacement cost. The square footage is available on your appraisal.

2.Finished Basement – This adds to the replacement cost value of your home. What percentage of your basement is finished?

3.Detached Structures – The homeowner policy has protection for other structures. The amount of protection is 10% of the dwelling amount. You may need more added to this 10% if you have some larger detached structures.

There are other things to consider like air conditioning, decks, and fireplaces. These all add into the final calculation. There are discounts for smoke detectors, fire and burglar alarm systems. Please view our recommended insurers for details.

Homeowner Insurance Company – Is One Better Than The Other?

The homeowner policy is an automatic purchase for most families who own their own home. There are hundreds of insurance companies that sell homeowner insurance. Is one better than the other? That is a very difficult question to answer. There are a lot of good insurance companies. Insurance companies are regulated by state insurance departments. They always have to prove their strength to these departments in order to operate within the state. That eliminates a lot of problems for the consumer. You very rarely hear about an insurance company becoming insolvent.

The real issue in most cases is the kind of service that you prefer. Insurance companies have a variety of distribution systems. The agent based system has been around for a long time. If you want on-going professional service and like dealing with a person rather than by telephone then you should search for companies that have agents. The online shopper can receive a quote online and then form a relationship with an agent when it is time to make the purchase. Some people prefer to purchase insurance online and be serviced online or over the telephone. Once you have determined how you want to be serviced then you can narrow down the number of companies that you need to contact.

The AM Best Company is a rating bureau for insurance companies. The AM Best Company gives a company rating based on the financial strength. Most libraries have this resource guide.

Most insurance companies have a multi-policy discount and so shopping for a home policy alone would be a disadvantage. The best company for you is usually the one that gives you the best rate and service for both your auto and home insurance. Don’t get bogged down trying to find the best company because there are too many variables from company to company. Choose your company based on your service needs and the combined rates for your auto and home insurance. Be sure to view our recommended list of insurance companies.

Homeowner And Auto Insurance Quote – What To Know About Personal Property Insurance

Did you know that if you buy your auto insurance from the same company as your homeowners insurance, you could get a discount? Many companies offer what is called a multi- discount.

Here are a few other tips for saving money when buying insurance:

1.Shop, shop, shop: Always shop around. Different underwriting guidelines may cause one company to charge more for your homeowners and/or auto policy where another company may be able to offer discounts. Get a couple of quotes and compare not only the premiums, but compare overages.

2.Deductibles: Rule of thumb, the higher the deductible, the lower the premium. Remember, however, the purpose of insurance is to make you whole in the event of an insured loss. Don’t raise your deductibles to the point where you’re spending more out of pocket than you can afford. If you currently have a $250 deductible and can live with a $500 deductible, then raise it accordingly. However, if you raise your deductible to $5,000 to save money on your premium and then suffer a loss, that first $5,000 comes out of your pocket. So, raise them only as far as you can afford.

3.Discounts : Ask for discounts. Some companies offer discounts to senior citizens which can amount to as much as 10%. Other companies offer discounts on auto policies to teens who maintain good grades (B or above). Your agent is aware of these discounts so always ask.

4.Longevity: Once you find the right insurance company, stay with them. Insurance companies like loyalty and will offer discounts for remaining with them for several years. Three to five years with the same carrier may earn a 5% discount and six years or more as much as 10%.

5.Credit Score: As unfair as it sounds, your credit score is taken into consideration when determining your premium. Know your credit score and do whatever you can to improve it.

Home Owners Insurance Rates – Get Low Rates And Save Money

Wouldn’t you love to know how insurance companies come up with your home insurance rates? Maybe you wouldn’t after you understand what all is involved. The whole concept of insurance started as a benevolent community partnership. Life insurance was the pioneer. When a member of the community passed away the friends and neighbors of that community would drop some money in a hat to help the deceased family give their loved one a proper burial. All insurance is based on the combined giving of local communities. The communities are bigger today and the hat has now become the insurance company. Home insurance rates are calculated by fiduciaries. These folks will add up all of the premiums remitted to the insurance company from a community and will compare it with the number of claims paid from that particular community. These geographical areas are called territories by most insurance companies. When the claims are less and the cost to recover a claim is stable then your rates will be lower. When claims are high and the cost to rebuild and recover is high then your rates will be higher. That is the simplified explanation of how home insurance rates are derived. There are investment factors and many other variables that raise and lower rates also.

Why Shop for Better Home Insurance Rates?

1. Comparing is Easy – It’s not difficult to get a homeowner’s insurance rate. Make sure that you have your declarations page so that you get the apples to apples quote.

2. Comparing is Smart – The worst thing that you can discover is that you have good rates with your present company.

3. Comparing is Leverage – If you like your present insurance company and your agent then a comparison quote from another company will make them work that much harder to keep your business.

There is no better buy in the insurance market than the home insurance policy. Shopping online for rates is one of the easiest methods for comparing rates. Take the time. You will learn a lot the first time shopping online.

Home Owners Insurance Online – The Internet Proves To Be The Cheapest Source For Insurance

Shopping for home insurance online is easy. There are a ton of websites that make it so easy to enter the proper information in order to give you an accurate quote. The home policy has less required information than the auto policy. Auto insurance depends so much on extensive driver and vehicle information. The homeowner policy depends on some basic information. The most important calculation is the actual square footage of your home. When you shop online they will want this information.

Insurance companies need this because they use various calculators to determine building costs per square footage. The online quote has a questionnaire that needs completed that will ask you some other valuable information that helps determine the replacement value of your home. Air conditioning and fireplaces increase property replacement values. The size of your deck or patio is also considered when determining the insurance amount. There are questions about your garage location. Finished basements increase the replacement value and the online quote will often ask you the percentage of your basement that is finished.

Prior insurance is important when shopping for insurance coverage for a home that you have been residing in for a while. You will be asked about your present insurance. Having insurance is a must when comparison shopping because it is stability and credit factor that will make the risk more acceptable for the insurance company. If you want personal items insured on a rider of some kind then you will most likely need proof of their value. Jewelry riders require recent appraisals and or receipts to prove their worth.

The online quote process may reveal something about your present coverage that you were unaware of. You may find that after you complete a replacement cost estimator with several companies that your home is either under insured or over insured. This is one of the great benefits of shopping online. It enables you to do some of your own research. Shop for homeowner’s insurance online. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Home Owners Insurance – Learn More And Save Money

The family insurance portfolio usually always includes some form of property insurance. The homeowner policy has been around a long time and is purchased every time a family purchases a new home. Homeowner’s insurance is very comprehensive coverage but is very often misunderstood. The typical homeowner always has some kind of maintenance problem. These kinds of problems are sometimes submitted as claims on their homeowner’s insurance. That is where the misunderstanding begins. Homeowner’s policies protect you against losses caused by perils. Maintenance and deterioration problems are never covered by your home policy. Your homeowner’s policy would become unaffordable if that were the case.

Perils Insured Against – Fire or lightning, windstorm or hail, explosion, riot and civil commotion, aircraft, smoke, vandalism, theft, falling objects, the weight of ice sleet and snow, accidental discharge of water or steam, freezing, volcanic eruption, and more. These are the basic perils covered by most home policies.

Homeowner Policy Structure

Section A – The Dwelling – This provides coverage for the dwelling and any structures attached to that dwelling.

Section B – Other Structures – This provides coverage for detached structures like garages, storage sheds, flag poles, fences, and swimming pools.

Section C – Personal Property – Personal property provides coverage for personal property owned by the insured anywhere in the world. There are limitations on certain types of personal property

Section D – Loss of Use – This coverage refers to the additional living expense that the insured incurs when the dwelling becomes uninhabitable because of a peril covered in the policy.

The perils and the policy structure are the essentials that you need to study when purchasing a homeowners policy. Replacement cost verses actual cash value is the next consideration. These are the two methods that insurance companies use to settle claims. The actual cash value method will rebuild your dwelling or replace your property by taking the replacement value and subtracting the depreciation. Replacement Cost will replace your dwelling or personal property with material of like kind and quality without depreciation.

Home Owner’s Insurance Policy – Learn More And Save Money

We buy insurance all of our life. We sometimes do it indiscriminately. There are times when people will buy a home and the homeowner’s insurance policy is just something that is needed to make the closing run smooth. The home policy protects the largest asset that most of us will ever purchase and so it makes sense to learn the basics. The Homeowner’s policy has multiple benefits and features and is probably the best and most affordable policy that we will ever purchase. There is clearly a misconception about what homeowner’s insurance covers and what it does not cover. The homeowner’s policy protects us our home against perils. Perils are unforeseen events like fire or explosions. The home policy does not cover maintenance problems. This is where the misunderstanding begins. Deterioration or poor craftsmanship buy a tradesman is not covered under the homeowner’s policy. That kind of blanket coverage would make the homeowner’s policy unaffordable.

The homeowner insurance policy is very comprehensive. It protects all of your personal property along with the dwelling. Most policies are written on a replacement cost basis. That means that in the event of a total loss that your home and all of its contents will be replaced with like kind and quality of materials. Shopping for a homeowner’s policy is so much easier. Make sure that you have your current declarations page. You can either go online or contact a local agent. It is better to combine an auto and home quote to get the multi-policy discounts available.

There are a lot of additional riders that you can purchase on a homeowner’s policy. If you have items like jewelry, fine arts, and collectibles then you can schedule them with an all risk type of coverage. There are a lot of new endorsed benefits like identity theft and home day care coverage. The homeowner insurance policy is one of the most important insurance purchases you will ever make. Don’t sell yourself short. Explore all the possibilities when covering your assets. Use higher deductibles to lower the overall premium so that you can cover some of your most valued assets with scheduled riders.

Home Owner Insurance Coverage – What Are The Basics?

Homeowner insurance has a lot of different benefits and features but the actual coverage is divided into two policy sections. These sections protect you from the perils defined in the policy.

Section I

A – The Dwelling – The dwelling and attached structures

B – Other Structures – structures un-attached

C – Personal Property – contents of the dwelling

D – Loss of Use – additional living expense

The list of perils that a homeowner policy insures against are fire and lightning, windstorm or hail, explosion, riot and civil commotion, aircraft, vehicles, smoke, vandalism and malicious mischief, theft, falling objects, accidental discharge of water and steam, sudden and accidental tearing apart, freezing, and volcanic eruption.

Section II

E – Liability Coverage – Personal Liability provides coverage in the event a claim or lawsuit is brought against the insured because of bodily injury or property damage caused by an occurrence.

F – Medical Payments – medical payments provide coverage to others in the event an individual is injured on the premises and requires medical treatment.

These are the basic coverage benefits on a homeowner policy. The next step in the process is to know how much insurance you should purchase. The actual face amount is usually determined by an insurance replacement cost calculator. The calculator needs several kinds of data in order to give you a quote. It will often require the square footage of your home along with info about items that increase the value of your home like air conditioning and fireplaces. There will probably be a question about the percentage of your basement that is finished.

Homeowner insurance policies have two ways to settle a claim. It will either be settled on an actual cash value basis or a replacement cost basis. The actual cash value settlement will assess the replacement cost and subtract any depreciation because of age or use. The actual cash value policies are usually purchased on older homes. Replacement cost settlements replace the loss with like kind and quality of material without depreciation.