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What To Look For In A Home Insurance Policy

Oct 28, 2007
If you have never had home insurance coverage before then you may feel like you need someone to explain it to you. After all, not every policy is the same. Some are very different but no prior experience in this particular field may result in all the information that specialists will throw at you going straight over your head. It can be difficult to make sense of all of the jargon associated with a home owners insurance policy, but if you know the basic features to look for in a policy then you are equipped to choose the policy that is best for you.

There are several features that you need to look for in the home insurance coverage that is offered by various companies and the list below notes several of them. This is by no means an exhaustive list but should give you an idea to get you started:

1. Exclusions - Exclusions are put in place within your home insurance coverage to limit the situations that you can claim on. For example, you would be able to claim for a stolen stereo system but not a damaged CD. These often follow common sense, but some policies have more exclusions than others so make sure you fully read the terms and conditions so that you are fully aware of what you can and can't claim for.

2. Valuables cover - Some home owners insurance policies cover building and contents but stop short of insuring valuables such as jewelery. Others insure everything that is actually within the home. You should ask whether valuables are covered in your basic policy or not and, if not, whether you can actually add that element to your policy.

3. Excess/deductible - Most policies will stipulate that you will have to cover the first x amount of dollars on each claim. This is called a deductible or excess. You are usually liable for the first $50 to $250. This is a huge step, especially if you are looking to recoup your losses so shop around for the best value excesses.

4. Off premises cover - Home insurance coverage may or may not extend to personal property being taken out of your home. Technically it is more susceptible to damage if removed from your home, which is why some companies do not provide cover. However, some companies will as part of your policy or as an add on, so watch out for this.

5. Repair and replace - Company policies vary as far as home insurance coverage for damaged items are concerned. Some insist on having an assessor examine and attempt to repair broken items before replacing them. If you would prefer to simply replace items yourself then read the policies very closely before signing anything.

6. Claim limits and procedure - Every home owners insurance policy varies in that the monetary amount you can claim can be as low or as high as they stipulate. It may be better to request the amount of cover that you would like and then choose a policy that complies with that. Also, claims procedures can range from extremely simple to very long and drawn out. Have a look at claims policies for full details but if something sounds complicated, then it usually is!
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