While most people choose an insurance policy for their home due to the price, it should not be your only consideration. It is equally important to choose the right coverage based upon the types of risks in your geographical area, and to be sure you have high enough policy limits to protect all of your property.
In order to find out if you have enough coverage, it is important to know what is included in a standard policy, as well as the extras that may apply to your situation. A standard policy includes coverage for dwelling, other structures, personal property, and loss of use for damage arising from covered occurrences – typically fire, wind, vandalism, etc.
Dwelling. Most of your home insurance goes toward the dwelling (otherwise known as where you and your family live). This includes your home, as well as the support utilities (pipes, walls, etc).
Other Structures. The other structures part of your insurance policy covers other buildings and man-made construction that is on your property. When most people think of “other structures,” they think of the garage or any barns that you may have. However, guest cottages, dog houses, and sheds are also included in this part of the policy.
Personal Property. While personal property is also a large part of your home insurance policy, not everything that you own is covered. There are policy limits, so if you own expensive jewelry or paintings, you may want to take out extra coverage.
Loss of Use. There are times when it is not safe to use part (or all) of your home. When that happens, you can be reimbursed for some of your expenses while you have to stay elsewhere. Lodging, meals, and other activities may be covered.
Liability. Most policies also provide liability coverage from injuries that occur on the property, such as a slip and fall on an icy sidewalk. This protects you against a lawsuit that may happen if someone is injured on your property or by something that you do. It can also be used for damage to another person’s property that was done by you.
In addition to these standard coverages, there are additional coverages that may make sense depending upon your situation:
Umbrella policy. Umbrella policies are used to give you additional coverage beyond your home insurance policy. It can be used after the liability coverage runs out. Since liability often doesn’t cover personal injury, you may want to think about adding an umbrella policy to ensure that you are properly covered.
Hail. Though hail damage is generally covered by your standard policy, you will want to make sure that you read the fine print to make sure there are no exclusions for hail caused damage or “cosmetic” damage that occurs when the property is hail-damaged but not punctured by hail.
Flood. Floods are generally not covered in a standard policy, so if you are in an area prone to flooding, you should purchase this additional coverage.
Wildfires. Wildfires, though not too common in our area, do occur. Even though fire is often included in a standard insurance policy, wildfires may not be.
Hurricanes and tornadoes. Most of the time, hurricanes and tornadoes are included in your standard policy as wind damage. However, you should double check to ensure that you are protected.
Making sure that you have the right amount of coverage for your home is important. Though many things are included in a standard policy, you may want to look into hail, flood, wildfires, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Some of these are often included while others are not so you should speak to a specialist to make sure that you are ready before disaster strikes!
If you are concerned about your insurance coverage, don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to talk to you about your insurance to ensure that you are prepared for the weather. If you do get damage to your home or vehicle, we can also help to make sure that your insurance company will pay you what you are owed.