Today, most real estate owners in Seattle choose to maintain homeowners insurance coverage. This important type of protection helps supply a safety net against many types of unexpected events causing damage to a residence, or harm to people on the property. It usually pays to shop carefully for this type of insurance.
Homeowners Insurance Protections Vary by State
The specific items covered by a homeowners insurance policy will differ sometimes based upon the company offering the policy, the location, and the level of coverage selected. Since states vary widely in the items lawmakers may require builders to install in residential properties, policy holders in some locations obtain more comprehensive protections.(1) In general, most homeowners insurance policies cover at least four basic categories(2) of damage:
- Residential interiors;
- Residential exteriors;
- Liability protection for accidents occurring on the property;
- Coverage for theft or vandalism-related property damage.
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Interior and Exterior Property Damage
Homeowners insurance differs from mortgage insurance, although many homeowners pay both types of insurance along with monthly, quarterly, or annual mortgage payments. Mortgage insurance essentially protects a lender against a purchaser’s default.
By contrast, homeowners insurance helps compensate homeowners when unexpected calamities damage their property interests in the residence itself. For instance, if lightning strikes the home, homeowners insurance may help the homeowner pay for the cost of repairing roof damage.
It also covers repairing or replacing flooring impacted by leaking water. Most homeowners insurance policies maintain a claim limit of $100,000 per incident. (In some states, some companies do permit customers to purchase higher levels of insurance coverage.)
Liability And Theft Protections
One important item typically covered by homeowners insurance relates to a homeowner’s interest in protecting people who sustain injuries while visiting the property.
For example, if a tile slips from the roof and strikes a person delivering pizza to the residence, the property owner may face liability for the accident. A homeowners insurance policy usually offers some level of liability coverage protection in this type of situation.
Similarly, if a thief breaks into the home by battering down a door, a homeowners insurance policy will usually help the homeowner pay for replacing the damaged door and door lock.
Some policies will even cover intentional third party damage to the homeowner’s automobiles parked on the property.
Many homeowners insurance companies allow customers to purchase additional policy coverage riders to insure valued items of personal property on the premises against accidental damage or intentional thefts.
Read Your Homeowners Insurance Policy Carefully
In general, homeowners benefit by consulting about the provisions of their homeowners insurance policy with their insurance agent. The terms of individual policies sometimes vary significantly.
One policy might offer low premiums but include a hefty deductible. Another might cover one particular type of loss, such as damage to a roof caused by a toppling tree, but might exclude other types of casualties, such as wind damage to trees on the property during storms.
Homeowners sometimes discover they obtain more comprehensive protections by purchasing additional specified types of insurance coverage.
Additionally, consider that most homeowners insurance policies do exclude two broad categories of damage: Acts of War and Acts of God.(3)
The classification of a calamity within either of these designations may prevent an insured from obtaining coverage protection when disaster strikes.
For instance, if an invading army burns down the house (an Act of War) or an earthquake topples the garage (an Act of God), homeowners may not succeed in receiving compensation from their insurance company for their loss.
Why Policy Details Matter
While most policies do cover fire damage and water damage in general, the causative events sometimes determine whether or not a homeowner actually obtains compensation.
Usually, insurance companies will not compensate the insured for losses caused by floods, seismic activity, power failures, or accidents resulting from neglected property conditions. If you’d like to receive specific coverage for a potential hazard, clarifying this issue with an experienced insurance agent in advance may help prevent misunderstandings and confusion later.
Additionally, homeowners insurance closely resembles automotive insurance in one important respect: people who file repeated claims frequently experience difficulty obtaining coverage.
From a practical standpoint, a homeowner may discover handling small accidental losses out of pocket helps keep homeowners insurance premiums more affordable.
**Insurance companies do not have to sell policies to customers who pose a high risk of becoming claimants. This situation sometimes impacts a customer’s ability to qualify for home financing.
The Process of Filing a Homeowners Insurance Claim
After a homeowner discovers accidental damage to the property (or to visitors on the property), the insured typically files a claim by contacting the insurance company.
In many situations, the insurance firm will assign a property adjuster to investigate the underlying fact situation. This process might involve an insurance investigator or adjuster visiting the premises and photographing the damage.
When an insurance company approves a claim, the firm pays the insured property owner an amount determined by the terms of the policy.
An insured receives this payment less the cost of the deductible. In some cases, the insurer will also specify property mitigation requirements. (For example, insurance policies for commercial realty sometimes require a property owner to obtain water remediation or fire remediation services in order to receive full compensation.
Conceivably, in some states, insurance companies may include clauses requiring homeowners to obtain these remediation services, too.)
Research Homeowners Insurance Carefully
It usually proves prudent for homeowners to discuss their policy provisions in detail with their insurance agent before making a purchasing decision.
By shopping carefully for coverage, you’ll often locate the best available policy provisions for your circumstances. Individual homeowners insurance needs vary, so evaluating the most significant property risks in your location with your agent in light of your unique needs usually makes financial sense.
Helpful Resources to Continue Research:
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About the Author
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Scaffold Store, the favorite and trusted scaffold supplier of the largest contractors.