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Simple Explanations of Homeowner's Insurance Terms

Sep 5, 2008
Have you ever tried to read your insurance policy? I did. I didn't even make it past the definitions. When you have to look up half the words in the definition it's not really time well spent.

So I talked with some agents and got some simple general definitions of some common terms so I could find out what is actually covered by my policy. These are just layman's definitions and you need to check your actual policy with your agent.

Actual cash value: The replacement cost minus what the insurance company determines is normal wear and tear. This is not "full" coverage and will not replace your building.

Additional living expense: Rental expenses you have to pay if you have to live somewhere else while your home is being repaired.

Adjuster: The person who says how much your loss was and tries to get you to settle the claim. You can also hire a public adjuster to do the repair calculations from your perspective.

Agent: The person you get the insurance from. They must have a license in the state. This is also who you normally file claims with and who makes adjustments to your policy. They are paid by the insurance company.

Appraisal: A process to determine the amount of loss when you don't agree with the insurance company on the amount. Do not hire an appraiser. There is a formal process to go through to get the appraisal and yours may not be accepted.

Broker: Like an agent only they usually get licensed with several insurance companies.

Claim: A report when you have a loss or damage to your home.

Conditions: What you have to do if you have a loss. Ask your agent for the conditions on your policy.
Declaration: Usually one of the first pages of the policy that gives a summary of the policy.

Deductible: The amount you agree to pay, per claim or per accident, toward the total damages.
Depreciation: A decrease in the value of property due to wear and tear or obsolescence.

Endorsement: Additional information attached to your policy that changes the provisions in your policy. Sometimes called a rider.

Exclusion: Something not covered by your insurance policy or contract.

Floater: Covers movable property, wherever it is located, within the territorial limits specified in your policy. The coverage "floats" with the property and includes things like items your children take to college with them.

Liability coverage: Insurance covering injuries to another person or damage to another person's property at your home.

Limits: The maximum an insurance company agrees to pay in the event of a loss.

Market value: Value of your property if it were for sale. This generally changes from year to year.
Peril: The cause of a loss, such as fire, theft, tornado and smoke.

Premium: The amount you pay for an insurance policy.
Proof of loss: A written statement, involving a claim, that the policyholder submits to the insurance company. The company uses this information to determine its liability under the policy.

Replacement cost: Cost to replace your home and contents not considering wear and tear.

Now you should be able to read your policy and see what it actually covers. You may not have the coverage you want or thought you had.
About the Author
Get free online insurance quotes for the coverage you really want and need at Josie Olson's Free Discount Insurance Quotes To save additional cash get the best priced calling cards at Calling Card Review.
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