If you just bought your dream home, you've likely heard from family and friends about getting homeowners insurance. However, if it's your first time getting one, you may have no idea what home insurance policy is best for you.
For first-timers, getting the right homeowners insurance can be tricky. However, asking the right questions can get your search off to a fantastic start. Below are 10 of the most important questions you should ask to ensure you're on the right track.
1. How much will homeowners insurance cost?
Home insurance rates often vary based on location. However, other factors may also affect rates. The average yearly premium in the United States exceeds $1,200, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
The insured value of the home will also play a key role. However, the location will also matter. In other words, states with more significant weather risks are more likely to pay higher rates.
For instance, since Florida has a higher risk for storms, homeowners pay nearly triple the average amount paid in other states. In 2017, Florida's average yearly premium was at $2,000, while other states like Oregon pays under $700.
2. Does homeowners insurance cover mold removal?
Mold removal may be covered if it is the result of a covered claim. For instance, your water heater failed and filled your basement with water. Most policies cover damage from this risk.
If mold develops because of the water, your policy might cover it. However, insurers typically won't cover mold removal caused by any other reasons.
3. Will home insurance cover all kinds of disasters?
It's a common misconception that homeowner insurance covers every disaster regardless of whether it's natural or caused by human error. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Often, homeowners insurance only covers certain types of perils, depending on the policy's scope and level.Basic coverages will often cover damages and losses from lightning, hail, smoke, windstorms, theft, vandalism, and explosions.
4. Are all insurance policies identical?
If you have tried to shop around, you probably already know that not all home insurance policies are created equal. The most common and most affordable are basic policies that cover normal loss activities.
For those still building their insurance portfolio, starting with this basic policy is considered ideal. However, if you want to protect your home from other perils apart from the ones typically covered, you can either opt for a higher level of insurance or purchase add-ons.
5. Will the home insurance policy cover flooding and earthquakes?
While most homeowners insurance protects common perils, standard policies will generally exclude flood and earthquake coverage. However, it is possible to get a separate insurance policy for floods or earthquakes.
It is crucial to keep in mind that most insurance policies have broad limitations. In other words, apart from flooding and earthquake, nuclear explosion, power failure, and damages from war will not be covered as well.
6. How much liability insurance should I get?
Liability coverage safeguards against property damage and bodily injury that you, your family members, and pets may cause others. Liability insurance will also pay for legal expenses, including awards by courts. Liability insurance may also cover the medical bills if someone gets injured in your property.
7. Can I reduce the monthly premium?
Increasing the deductible is one of the easiest ways to reduce the monthly premium. Some insurers might also provide notable credits for plumbing, alarms, modern electrical systems, and other safety installations, so this is something you should take up with your providers.
8. Will homeowners insurance cover structural damage?
Most home insurance policies cover the cost of repairs if the home's structure is damaged. However, most coverages will depend on the cause of the damage. A standard policy covers most accidental and sudden damage to homes.
For instance, a tree that falls on your home is considered a covered peril. That means the policy will cover structural damage to the home since the damage was accidental and sudden.
If the tree's root grew under the property's foundation and caused damage, the policy won't often cover it as the damage happened over time, making it a maintenance concern.
9. Will my homeowners insurance cover roof replacement?
Often, home insurance policies won't cover roof replacement due to old age. However, it can help in certain situations. For example, the policy can help if the roof is damaged by hail, wind, snow, or falling trees.
Check with your agent how your roof coverage works as some policies will prorate coverage based on the roof's age. This means you'll only receive partial coverage when damaged. Other providers will also offer full coverage.
10. Will homeowners insurance go up after a claim?
While home insurance rates can go up after a claim, the increase may not happen instantaneously. It is also possible that you will not have any increase at all.
Since rates can increase because of claims, it would be best to consider the long-term costs before making small claims. It would be more practical to pass on smaller claims and pay out-of-pocket for the repair in some instances.
Your home insurance policy is designed to protect your home from most risks. However, it is crucial to examine your coverage thoroughly as opposed to assuming everything is covered.
About the Author
Rachael Harper is the Content Marketing Strategist of Bennett & Porter, a wealth management and insurance firm based in Scottsdale, Arizona. When not writing, she makes use of her time reading books and playing bowling with her family and friends.
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