Finding the right home insurance coverage can be a daunting task, it’s one of the most important things that owners can do to protect themselves and their valuables. Not all home insurance policies are alike, unfortunately many of us don’t have much practice looking for coverage, testing it is even more rare. The best test of an insurer is how well they handle a claim!
What Is Standard Home Insurance?
A standard home insurance policy covers a homes structure and belongings in the event of a disaster. This usually includes liability to damage of others. Coverage for your furniture, electronics, clothing and other belongings is standard, however furs, jewelry, and artwork are subject to coverage limits. Flood insurance and earthquake insurance are both separate types of policies that you need to add to your coverage in order to protect your home. In California insurance departments publish rate comparisons for standardized coverage, which may help you choose the right policy and save some money.
Maintenance Related Problems
One of the most common misunderstandings about coverage is maintenance related issues. Damage caused by a sewer backup or burst pipes may not be covered if your insurance company determines that the damage was caused by a lack of maintenance. For example, even if you have hail coverage, your 10 to 15 year old roof might be excluded from your policy. While mold is considered a maintenance related issue, some policies may cover the damage, but with limitations.
Making A Claim
Don’t be afraid to make a claim. In most cases your rates won’t raise for claims less than $5,000. On average premiums rose $150.00/year for larger claims. You can also employ a public adjuster who will negotiate for you for a fee of up to 10% to 25% of the payout. You can also seek a second opinion from an independent contractor who can assess the damage and provide an estimate to your insurance company.
Finally, review your coverage needs every few years. Your insurance company should customize your estimate based on home’s replacement cost, taking into account unique features, construction details, age and any costs of meeting new local building-code requirements.