As an independent insurance broker, we are contracted with multiple insurance carriers. Therefore we can get you the best possible rates in the area.

The coverage you have depends upon the type of policy you have. Unlike auto insurance, where the policies are pretty much the same, homeowners policies can be quite different, depending on the “form” number. The most common types of homeowner policies are:

  1. HO1 Basic or Standard policy
  2. HO2 Broad form
  3. HO3 Special (also called Deluxe, All Risk)
  4. HO4 Renters policy
  5. HO5 Enhanced Special Coverage
  6. HO6 Condo policy
  7. HO8 Older Home Policy

For the average person’s primary residence an HO-3 policy is the most common form of insurance. It covers all perils except what is excluded. It will take care of most of the homeowner insurance needs. It covers the dwelling, contents, liability, medical payments, and loss of use.

To keep the cost of insurance down your policy probably has limits on certain items. Typical limits are:

  • Cash – $200
  • Jewelry – $1,000
  • Firearms – $2,500
  • Silverware – $2,500

Check your policy carefully. If you see you don’t have enough coverage, find out how much it would cost to increase these limits or to buy special coverage.

What is Homeowners insurance?
Homeowners insurance provides financial protection against disasters. A standard policy insures the home itself and the things you keep in it.

Homeowners insurance is a package policy. This means that it covers both damage to your property and your liability or legal responsibility for any injuries and property damage you or members of your family cause to other people. This includes damage caused by household pets.

Damage caused by most disasters is covered but there are exceptions. The most significant are damage caused by floods, earthquakes and poor maintenance. You must buy two separate policies for flood and earthquake coverage. Maintenance-related problems are the homeowners’ responsibility.

Why do you need homeowners insurance?
It is really all about protecting yourself financially if something unexpected happens to your home or possessions. That’s important because chances are your home is likely one of your largest investments.

  • If your home was destroyed by fire or damaged by a natural disaster, you’d need money to repair or replace it.
  • If a guest in your home is injured, liability protection and medical coverage help pay expenses.
  • If you are a victim of theft and vandalism, it can reimburse you for your loss or pay for repairs.
  • If you are still paying for your home, your lender will require insurance.

It is important to know that homeowners insurance is meant to cover unexpected damage, not routine maintenance. Ask your agent to talk about what is covered and be sure to read your policy so you know exactly what’s included and what is not.

Things to consider and questions to ask your agent
Here are few things to discuss with your agent that will influence your decisions.

  • How much will it cost to rebuild my house and replace my belongings if they are damaged or destroyed? (Ask your agent to talk you through your home’s features and the things you own so you can make an informed decision about coverage.)
  • Does the insurance company have a good reputation for customer service? Is it known for paying claims fairly and promptly?
  • What discounts are available? (Ask about multiple policy, security system and fire resistance discounts.)
  • What’s the process for filing and settling a claim? (Ask who to call and what happens after you file a claim.)

If you have tangible assets, you need the protection of a homeowners insurance policy. These policies cover you in a home or an apartment, whether you are an owner or a renter. A well-written homeowners policy will pay to replace any of your personal property that is destroyed in a fire or other disaster. The policy will also be your first line of defense against a lawsuit from someone injured at your home.

The cost of this coverage is determined by many rating factors. The quality of the coverage, however, is determined by the quality of the insurer and whether the policy is written on a named perils or all-risk basis. A named-perils policy covers only those losses specifically cited in the contract. The all-risk policy works the opposite way — unless a peril is specifically excluded, coverage is provided. The all-risk policy is broader and the burden of proof is on the carrier, not you, in the event of a loss.