Navigating Homeowners Insurance: What You Need to Know

Homeowners insurance is a crucial financial tool that provides protection for your home and belongings in case of unexpected events. Understanding the key components of homeowners insurance is essential to ensure you have the right coverage for your needs. Here’s what you need to know:


Types of Coverage:

  • Dwelling Coverage: This covers the structure of your home, including the roof, walls, floors, and foundation. It’s essential to insure your home for its full replacement cost.
  • Personal Property Coverage: This covers your personal belongings, such as furniture, appliances, clothing, and electronics. Make sure to take inventory and estimate the value of your possessions.
  • Liability Coverage: This provides protection if someone is injured on your property, and you’re found liable. It also covers damage caused by your pets.
  • Additional Living Expenses (ALE) Coverage: ALE pays for temporary living expenses if your home becomes uninhabitable due to a covered event, like a fire or natural disaster.

Policy Types:

  • HO-3 Policy: This is the most common type of homeowners insurance policy and provides comprehensive coverage for your home and personal property. It covers a wide range of perils, except those specifically excluded.
  • HO-5 Policy: This is an upgraded version of HO-3, offering even broader coverage and fewer limitations.
  • HO-6 Policy: Designed for condo owners, this policy covers the interior of your unit and personal property.
  • HO-4 Policy: Known as renters insurance, it covers personal property and liability for renters but doesn’t cover the structure itself.
  • Coverage Limits: Your policy will have coverage limits for various categories, such as personal property, liability, and ALE. Make sure these limits are sufficient to cover your needs.
  • Deductibles: The deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in. Choosing a higher deductible can lower your premium but means you’ll pay more if you file a claim.
  • Exclusions and Endorsements: Understand what perils are excluded from your policy. Common exclusions may include floods, earthquakes, and acts of terrorism. You can purchase additional coverage or endorsements for these excluded events if needed.
  • Premiums: Your premium is the amount you pay for your homeowners insurance. Factors that influence your premium include your location, the age and condition of your home, your credit score, and the coverage limits you choose.
  • Discounts: Insurance companies offer discounts for various reasons, such as bundling home and auto insurance, installing security systems, or having a good claims history. Inquire about available discounts to reduce your premium.
  • Claims Process: Understand how to file a claim with your insurance company. Document damage or loss thoroughly and keep all communication related to the claim. Be prepared to provide receipts, photos, and other evidence.
  • Review and Update: Periodically review and update your homeowners insurance policy to reflect changes in your home’s value, improvements, or changes in your circumstances.
  • Shop Around: Compare quotes from different insurance providers to ensure you’re getting the best coverage at the most competitive price. Don’t forget to consider the reputation and customer service of the insurer.
  • Legal Requirements: While homeowners insurance isn’t legally required in most states, if you have a mortgage, your lender will likely require it. Even if it’s not mandated, having homeowners insurance is highly advisable to protect your investment.
  • Read the Fine Print: Before purchasing a policy, carefully read and understand the terms and conditions. If you have questions or need clarification, don’t hesitate to ask your insurance agent.

Navigating homeowners insurance can be complex, but it’s a critical aspect of safeguarding your home and financial security. Take the time to assess your needs, compare policies, and make informed decisions to ensure you have the right coverage for your home and belongings.

If you know someone looking to move near a military base – please send them our website below where we provide loads of base information.

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Unraveling the Mystery of Home Insurance

Home Insurance

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.
Home Insurance

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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.

Home Insurance

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.

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Home Insurance

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: 

  1. Bankrate
  2. Investopedia
  3. Wikipedia

Looking to sell your home?  Use these tips to help you sell from area realtors.

If you found this advice, or any of my advice helpful, please consider buying from one of my affiliates at no additional cost to you and supporting The Military Move. When you click and make a purchase within 24 hours (at no additional charge), we receive a small donation. Thank you!

Jessica Kane

About the Author

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Scaffold Store, the favorite and trusted scaffold supplier of the largest contractors.

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Did You Know This About SGLI

What's the big deal about SGLI

As many know, I recently had another addition to our family. Naturally for me, that meant I needed to update my life insurance policy to add my daughter and seek out more coverage. This started to get me thinking about my husband’s SGLI (as it is his only life insurance policy).

Do you know all the facts about SGLI (Servicemembers Group Life Insurance)?

The Basics on SGLI

One thing as a young adult that many of us overlook is life insurance. However, if you have a family or your active duty member is the sole provider (or perhaps a main contributor), you want to prepare for the absolute worst case scenario. The military offers SGLI (which ALL members should take in my opinion because it’s dirt cheap for the amount of protection is covers).

 Let’s talk about why this is important.

Family and SGLI


Service members of all five branches (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy) are automatically eligible for full coverage. This is great because after passing all the necessary medical exams just to get into the service, they do not have to do anything else to receive coverage – unlike outside coverage providers.

SGLI Coverage

The amount of coverage is up to $400,000 (or as little as $50,000 and up in $50k increments).

What does this mean for your monthly paycheck?

For $50,000 – it is $3.50 (your daily cup of coffee).
For $400,000 – it is $28.00 (one family meal to a fast food restaurant).

Why take $400,000? Mortgage, bills, and college tuition to name a few.

Now while many spouses already know about SGLI, you may not realize that this insurance does not follow your Active Duty member out of service. It only is covered up to 120 days after separation, unless the member becomes disabled. In that circumstance, they can apply for a 2-year extension.

It is very important for the service member to take advantage of VGLI (Veterans Group Life Insurance) within 120 to 240 days after separation. If they do, they do not have to answer additional medical questions which could increase your premiums A LOT! medical equipment

Let me explain – most people go into the service around 18-21 years of age. They are healthy and in good shape. Fast forward 20 years to retirement, now you are 40 years old, marriage and baby weight has set in, working out isn’t the top priority, etc. Outside life insurance increases rates for each year of age – which is why it is important for you – SPOUSE – to get your coverage earlier rather than later. That health questionnaire could be the difference between premium rates and most people are healthier earlier in life!

VGLI is an excellent option for retired or separated members that want to continue their life insurance. Since the age of the member has increased – the rates will increase too. You can check those rates here. A $400,000 policy will cost between $68-88 per month for someone in their 40’s and will increase over time, whereas a $100,000 policy will cost $17-22 per month for the same person.


Since rates increase with age, rates can change based on gender, health, and lifestyle choices. When you rollover the SGLI to VGLI – your rates are based on age only. For those that use tobacco products – this is important because it will be very difficult to find a plan that compares with similar rates. Additionally, if you sign up within the allotted window, they will not give you a medical exam or investigate your health. You will not find this for most policies.

grandparents holding babyI can tell you that I was just asked simple health questions that included whether I use tobacco products and whether or not I am under the care of a physician for certain medical conditions or PTSD. If any of these apply to you, this is another reason to consider rolling your plan over.

Additional Coverage

One thing I wanted to ensure was that I had enough coverage on myself in case something happened to me. For the active duty member, you may find that $400,000 is not enough – you have a larger mortgage, multiple kids, etc. You can layer your coverage with outside coverage from USAA (I have mine through them and they are a great policy), MetLife, New York Life, or even your bank or insurance company may offer them.SGLI Information

To layer coverage, you will need to have a medical exam done to determine what premium you will pay. If the service member uses tobacco products, this is a HUGE factor on why they should NOT decline SGLI – because the premiums are through the metaphorical roof!! For real, not joking! I suggest purchasing a policy the earlier the better due to premiums and health changes.

End Thoughts

The whole point of life insurance is to ensure that your family is taken care of in the event that something happens to you or your spouse. This is not professional advice, just advice from one military spouse and mom. Speak with a professional about your options that are best for your family.

If you found this advice, or any of my advice helpful, please consider buying from one of my affiliates at no additional cost to you and supporting The Military Move. When you click and make a purchase within 24 hours (at no additional charge), we receive a small donation. Thank you!

Kelsey Ramirez

About the Author

Kelsey Ramirez is a Real Estate Broker in western Washington. She is also a veteran elementary school teacher, military wife, and mom to two daughters.  She is the founder of The Military Move, a military-based website to help families in the PCS process. Kelsey loves to travel, write, and create amazing content.  She has her Masters in Technology, which she uses to learn all new things digital.

With three decades of military support, Kelsey’s mission is to help new and existing military families in their unique adventures through all military topics including PCSing, budgeting, school choice and rights, housing, and especially just being a military spouse.

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