Homeowner's insurance protects more than just your home. A comprehensive policy protects your home and your assets and offers liability protection for you and your family. Where you live will largely determine your insurance costs; however, there are other factors that can help reduce the costs. To ensure you get the right plan for your needs at the right price, plan ahead.
Coverage for Your Home
Your home is probably the biggest investment you will ever make. Be sure your homeowner's insurance covers it in its entirety. Homeowner's insurance does not cover flood or earthquake damage. If you live in a high-risk area, consider purchasing separate insurance. A typical homeowner's policy, which is based on a form HO-3, will protect from damage from fire, hail, explosion, riot, aircraft, vehicles, smoke, falling objects, snow, sleet, wind and theft. Make sure to purchase a guaranteed replacement cost policy, which offers more protection for your assets and home than an actual cash value policy. For example, if your home is destroyed and your policy is for $100,000 but your home costs $125,000 to rebuild, without the guaranteed replacement coverage you would be required to pay the additional $25,000.
Coverage for Your Assets
Homeowner's insurance also covers your personal belongings. In a typical policy, the insurance company may allow up to 40 percent of the total policy to account for your personal assets. There may be a max amount, such as $2,000, of what the insurance company will pay per item. Make sure you have adequate protection for high dollar items, such as collectibles, electronics, jewelry, fur coats or expensive clothing. The insurance company may require an appraisal. Take pictures or videos of your home and keep records of your home inventory. Your policy may also cover landscaping. If the amount of your assets decreases over time, be sure to adjust your policy so you aren't paying more for items that have lost their value.
A standard homeowner's insurance policy may include about $100,000 in liability insurance. Liability protects you and your family in the event that your neighbor hurts herself in your home, or your dog destroys your neighbor's yard. Owning pets, a swimming pool or a home-based business may put you at a higher risk for lawsuits. Consider purchasing more liability.
Reducing Your Premium
Homes located near a fire hydrant or fire station may nab better insurance rates. In addition, having a smoke alarm, security system, fire retardant roofing and deadbolt locks in your home may further reduce your premium. Increasing your deductible from $500 to $1,000 will lower your premium. You may be able to further reduce your premium by purchasing your auto and homeowners insurance policy from one company.
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