Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Quick Guide to Buying the Best Homeowners Policy Part 1

When shopping for home insurance, remember this: Insure your house for the cost to replace it (meaning reconstruction costs), not its real estate "market value", and don't factor in the value of your land. 

Also know that a home insurance policy covers much more than damage to your house. 

There are additional coverages within a home insurance policy with limits often set as a percentage of the dwelling's coverage amount. (Check your own policy for limits.)

• Your belongings. (Often 50 percent of the of the dwelling amount.)    
• Certain structures outside your house, such as your garage or fence. (Often 10 percent of     the dwelling amount.)
• Loss of use, meaning additional living expenses you incur if you can't live at home due to damage.     This could include hotel bills, restaurant meals and laundry costs. (Often 20 percent of the dwelling  amount.)
• Liability, for cases where you are sued for damages or injuries to someone else.
• Medical bills for people injured on your property or by your pet.
  Other items may be covered under your home insurance, with specific limits for each, so check your   policy or ask your agent:
• Downed trees.
• Replacement of lawn, trees and shrubs.
• Debris removal.
• Power outages, including food spoilage.
• Grave markers.
• Unauthorized charges to your credit cards.
You may also need special add-ons for valuables such as jewelry, your computer equipment, antiques and other pricey possessions, where their value exceeds the coverage limit of your policy.

Home insurance does not cover earthquakes or floods - you'll need to buy separate policies for those if you want coverage for those disasters. And in some areas of the country you need to buy windstorm coverage  separately. Now go to the Part 2 Guide.

Lending institutions usually require mortgage customers to purchase home insurance. Don't rely on the coverage levels mandated by your bank or mortgage company. Those levels are designed to protect the  house itself, but not necessarily your possessions. That's why it's important to check with your agent or  insurance company to make sure you have adequate coverage.

Have questions about your Homeowners' policy, call (773) 614-3201

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