Whether you’re a first-time home buyer beginning to search for homeowners’ insurance, or in the market to find better coverage, the best place to start is with an independent insurance agent. An agent will help identify your unique needs to make sure you have coverage where it’s needed most.
A standard homeowners’ policy covers three areas: structure, belongings and liability. We break each of these down for you below so you are better prepared when meeting with your independent agent.
Standard homeowners’ insurance policies cover structure, which includes your physical house. It could also include detached buildings, such as a garage, storage shed, fence or gazebo. Most homeowners’ policies will cover sudden and accidental damage that occurs to your structure due to many different causes. For instance, damage from a hail or wind storm, fire or tornado is typically covered. However, lack of home maintenance is not covered. This can include mold from flooding or leaking pipes, or normal wear and tear to your carpeting, doors and walls. It’s important to note that homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover damage resulting from flooding.
Belongings are pretty straightforward. Standard homeowners’ insurance policies cover personal items inside your home or other structures on your property (garage, shed, etc.). This can include furniture, electronics, appliances, clothing, jewelry and tools. Quick tip: you may not realize the total value of all those items until it’s too late. Make sure you create a home inventory to account for all your belongings in case of disaster.
Keep in mind, although belongings are covered under a standard homeowners’ policy, you may need to inquire about additional coverage for higher-value items, including jewelry and collector’s items.
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The last area a standard homeowners’ insurance policy will cover is liability, which covers lawsuits against you for property damage or bodily injury that you or your family members (including pets) cause to other people. Liability also covers you in case someone is injured on your property (other than you or your family members).
Additional Living Expenses (ALE)
One additional area to mention in a standard homeowners insurance policy is ALE, which covers claims or your expenses if you can’t live in your home due to a covered loss or damage. For instance, if a house fire happens and you are not able to stay in your home while it’s being repaired, ALE will cover reasonable hotel bills, meals and other costs, up to a specific limit.
Although a standard homeowners’ insurance policy covers the areas mentioned above, each policy has limits to what and how much is covered. Connect with your independent agent to identify your specific needs to ensure your home, everything and everyone you love is fully covered. Click here to find an agent who can help you get started.
Disclaimer: Coverages described herein may not be available in all states. Contact your local independent agent for complete details on coverages and discounts. If the policy coverage descriptions herein conflict with the language in the policy, the language in the policy applies.