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Homeowners Insurance: Plan for the unexpected
Homeowners insurance is a form of financial protection provided to mitigate against disasters. It is mainly a package policy for insuring the home and the things or items kept in it. It mainly covers property damage. Additionally, it can also cover legal responsibility or liability if there is any property damage or injuries caused by family members to others. This damage also covers pets.
Over the past four years, the severity of weather conditions has increased. Within the same period, the total number of claims paid out has broken records. Going with the weather forecasts, some extreme weather is expected throughout the year.
What is the status of your home insurance? Are you protected against damage from severe weather? According to a recent survey among homeowners, most of them lack adequate coverage. While the four walls and the roof might be covered, most people do not have adequate protection against their personal possessions. Majority of the standard home insurance packages cover four essential areas:
1. Home Structure
Standard homeowners insurance pays to rebuild or repair a home if it gets destroyed the disasters listed in the policy. Regular wear and tear, earthquakes, or floods are not covered. It is important to purchase coverage that is sufficient to rebuild a home in the event of a disaster. Detached structures like a tool shed, gazebo, or garage is also covered in some policies.
2. Personal Belongings
Clothes, sports equipment, furniture and other personal effects are covered if they are destroyed in a fire or stolen. This coverage accounts to about 50% to what is insured on the home structure. Conducting a home inventory is the best way to determine whether this coverage is enough.
Personal items stored away from the premises are also covered under this policy. This means that an individual is covered anywhere in the world. Most insurance companies limit the amount to 10%. Some companies offer up to $500 as coverage for unauthorized use of the holder’s credit cards.
Expensive items like art, jewelry, furs, silverware, and collectibles are covered. However, there is a dollar limit in the situation of theft. To make sure these items are insured for their maximum value, an individual should purchase a floater or special personal property cover. This covers the items to their real appraised value. Standard homeowners insurance also covers, shrubs, plants and trees for approximately $500 each.
3. Liability Protection
This cover protects the homeowner against lawsuits that occur as a result of property damage or bodily harm caused by members of their family. This also pays for any damage that can be caused by pets belonging to the homeowner. This portion also pays for any legal fees incurred during representation and any award granted by the court.
This policy also protects the homeowner against any medical expenses that might be incurred if a neighbor or a friend is injured at your home. As such, medical bills will be settled without any liability claims being lodged on the homeowner.
4. Additional Living Expenses
This coverage pays for your additional costs. It applies when you are living away from home or when your home becomes uninhabitable because of damage caused by an insured disaster. It covers restaurant meals, hotel bills and other expenses beyond an individual’s normal living expenses. Be aware that most of them have time limits.
Although damage brought by several disasters, is covered, there are exceptions. The major ones covered are poor maintenance, damage caused by earthquakes and floods. Interested parties must purchase separate policies for earthquake and flood coverage. Problems that occur because of maintenance and negligence are the responsibility of the homeowner.
Normal homeowners insurance policies cover several potential damages from windstorms to tornadoes, lighting strikes, winter damage brought by the weight of snow and ice, and fire among others. Most of the disasters listed above are covered by most standard homeowners insurance policies.
It is important to check with the insurance provider on the specifics and details since they vary from one firm to the other. Other disasters covered include volcanic eruptions, landslides, mudslides, nuclear accidents, and hail.
Many homeowners only realize how insufficient their insurance policy is when a disaster strikes. In most instances, they took a cover that is not enough to cover for repairs or rebuilding. It is therefore important to check with your insurance provider to ensure that your homeowners insurance is sufficient to cater for any insured disaster.