Though many people wish they didn't have to buy one insurance policy on their home, there are circumstances when you may consider owning two on the same property. To determine whether you should have two policies, you should understand the principle of indemnity and how insurers decide to settle claims when more than one policy exists on a single insured item.
Principle of Indemnity
All lines of insurance follow the principle of indemnity. This states that the purpose of an insurance policy is to restore the insured person or business to its financial condition before the loss occurred without causing a financial gain. This is why most insurance settlements are not taxed by the federal government; the IRS only taxes financial gains. When two or more insurance policies exist on the same person or property, the principle of indemnification still applies.
Because you cannot profit from an insurance claim regardless of how many policies exist, most people do not buy more than one policy per item being insured. The exception is with health insurance, when people commonly have two or more companies insuring them. That is because health insurance benefits vary widely from one company to another, and are sometimes available from the government. As a result, having more than one policy increases the chances your entire medical claim will be covered.
It is not illegal to buy more than one insurance policy for your home, but doing so is unlikely to increase the amount you collect in a settlement. Insurers report claims to the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange. If you report the same claim to two insurers, they will discover the multiple claims and coordinate their efforts to determine which company pays primary benefits and which pays secondary. Because homeowner's insurance is a standard package policy, the second policy is unlikely to offer benefits beyond those covered by the first policy.
If you don't mind paying the additional premiums for a second policy, you may see some benefits when you file a claim. Some insurers limit or exclude certain causes of loss, such as mold damage, or limit the benefits on certain items, such as jewelry. A second policy from a different insurer may cover some of these limitations and exclusions. However, it is also possible you can endorse your first policy to cover these things by paying additional premiums to remove the exclusions.
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