Owning a home is a big milestone for a lot of families. In many cases this is the largest purchase that someone will ever make. As exciting as this is, a house can also be a huge liability especially if one does not have the proper homeowner’s insurance coverage in place. Whether you are shopping around for new insurance or just reviewing your yearly renewal, it is imperative that you are aware of some of the most common home insurance claims so that you can make sure you are properly covered. Also, by being aware of these risks you are able to be proactive about the preventative measures that you can take to mitigate your exposure to these claims.
Fires can be absolutely devastating in their magnitude of destruction. This is why it is very important to make sure that both your physical dwelling as well as your personal property are properly covered. When you first purchase a home insurance policy, your agent should go through an evaluator to determine the replacement cost of your house. This is the cost of the building materials and the labor that would be needed should your house be completely destroyed. While going through this evaluator, your agent should be asking you questions about the house itself such as square footage, type of heating source, number of bathrooms, etc. in order to get an accurate assessment of the replacement cost. If you have completed any renovations to your house since purchasing your home insurance policy, you should make sure to update your insurance agent so that you can make sure you are covered for the correct amount.
Another very important thing to check with your agent is to confirm that your personal property is covered for replacement cost. This means that if you were to have a loss on your personal property that you would be covered for the actual cost to replace your items, not the depreciated value. In order to make sure that you are fully covered, you should keep receipts or bank statements for large purchases, as well as take pictures or videos of your belongings to keep an inventory. Any high value items like jewelry or antiques should be scheduled on the insurance policy to make sure that you are fully covered.
Wind or hail storm claims are also very common depending on the location the house. As mentioned above it is very important to make sure that your coverage is up to date on your home policy in case of a total loss. Much like a fire, the devastation from a strong wind storm can be very severe. It is important to make sure that your house is up to date on all repairs, especially if you live near the coast because this can leave you very susceptible to even greater loss.
One of the most crucial things to check on your homeowner’s policy is your deductible for wind/hail storms. Most companies have a deductible for wind/hail that is separate from the deductible for all other perils. In some cases, especially on coastal properties, this deductible may be a percentage of the dwelling cost. This could lead to deductibles that are easily over $10,000!
Accidents on your Property
Another common claim can arise from various accidents that could take place on your property. The most common forms of these accidents can include mishaps involving slips/falls, swimming pools, animal bites, and trampolines. When you first purchase an insurance policy your agent will ask you many questions including whether or not you own pets, own a pool, or own a trampoline. It is very important that you answer these questions accurately and honestly because if you ever file a claim resulting from one of these things you may not be covered if it is discovered that you lied on your application. On this note you must also make sure to update your insurance policy if you buy a trampoline, pool, or even a pet. The last thing that you would want is to have a personal liability claim that ended up not being covered by your insurance.
As always it is very important to ask your insurance agent any questions that you may have about your own specific policy. Every company is different, therefore every insurance policy is different as well. This article is meant to be an overview on some of the most common homeowner’s claims, but there are myriad other hazards and claims that could take place on, in, or around your house as well.
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Please note that every policy is different and for specific information about what you personally are and are not covered for, please refer directly to your own policy and your own insurance agent.
Jay Small is an experienced insurance agent licensed in the state of Massachusetts. He services people all over the state and is based in Framingham. Jay is able to use his expertise to cover everything from your car to your life and is never too busy for new customers. In his free time he likes to play guitar, train martial arts and lift weights. You can find out more by connecting with him professionally on LinkedIn.