Here are the Top 10 questions we get about homeowners insurance.
1. Is my home covered if I move out?
Homeowners policies are written and priced for the home to be occupied by the owner of the home, known as the “homeowner”. All homeowners policies contain a vacancy clause. If you move out of the house and the house is not occupied by someone for 30-60 continuous days prior to a claim, the home is considered vacant. This allows the insurance company to deny certain claims. To make sure you have proper coverage when the house is vacant, talk with your agent to determine if you will need to purchase a vacant home policy.
2. Does my homeowners policy cover water damage?
Not all policies are created equal when it comes to water damage coverage. Many will have the basic definition of covering water damage resulting from a sudden and accidental discharge of water. Other policies will expand upon this basic coverage and broaden the language to also include water damage that occurs due to seepage or leakage, occurring over a long period of time.
3. If my pet bites someone, am I covered?
Be sure to ask your agent about animal liability coverage if you have a pet. Many home policies exclude any liability due to an animal bite, while other policies will cover certain breeds of animals, while excluding certain breeds. Be sure to check with your agent to make sure you are covered properly. The average dog bite liability cost is in the $20,000 range.
4. What is Replacement Cost coverage?
Home policies allow you to purchase replacement cost coverage. This is the preferred coverage for loss settlement, should you file a claim. If you do not have replacement cost coverage, you could be short several thousands of dollars when trying to replace your contents or repair your house from damage. Example: If you have a roof claim due to hail damage, and you do not have replacement cost coverage, it could cost you an extra $15,000 out of pocket(in addition to your policy deductible) on a roof that costs $30,000 to replace.
5. If I add a pool, what should I change on my home policy?
When you add a pool, you may have visions of a backyard oasis. But have you thought about what liability you are now exposed to? If a child climbs over your fence, and drowns in your pool, you can be sued by the family for the death, and you have no defense. Laws vary by state, but in Texas, the tort laws consider the pool an attractive nuisance. Prior payouts by homeowners have been in the $500,000 and up range for such an event. We recommend you check with your agent to make sure you have adequate liability coverage when you install a pool.
6. Are my jewelry, watches, and firearms covered against theft?
Unfortunately, most consumers do not think about coverage details when considering a purchase for home insurance. Rate seems to be the primary motive. However, if you have jewelry, watches, or firearms that you want covered, be sure to check with your agent. Most policies have very small limits of coverage for these items, so do not assume they are covered under your contents coverage limit.
7. Am I covered against flood on my homeowners?
All home policies exclude flood damage. (Flood is damage to the home by water pooling outside and entering the home as the water rises.) To cover your home from flood damage, you must obtain a separate policy called a flood policy.
8. Can I rent out my home on a short-term basis?
Are you considering renting your house out a few times a year, via Air BNB or some other method? Most home policies do not cover any claim filed while the home is being rented out on a short-term basis. Before you consider renting your home out, you should consult with your agent for coverage options and limitations.
9. How is the cost of my homeowners determined?
Insurance companies determine your rate by the historic, statistical cost of claims they have incurred, or are projected to occur. Some of the major determining factors are the age of home, roof age, your claims history and the property’s claims history, your credit score and whether you bundle your home and auto together.
10. What is the best source to buy insurance?
The source you buy from, can determine how many options you may choose from. Here are the three sources from which to purchase insurance:
Captive Agents: An agent that can sell you the insurance of only one company brand, at one coverage option, and at one single rate.
Telephone Representatives: Offer you the insurance of only one company, and only over the phone.
Just like a captive agent, a telephone representative is limited to sell you only one brand of insurance, and only over the phone. Each time you call, you will get someone new on the phone.
Independent Insurance Agents: Represent multiple insurance companies and can research these carriers to find you the best combination of price, coverage, and service. Contact Us today for a free quote.