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Homeowner Insurance Overview - What You Need To Know

Nov 1, 2007
Having homeowner's insurance isn't just a good idea; it's a necessity. Unless your home is paid in full, your mortgage company will require you to hold enough insurance to pay off your mortgage loan in the event of a catastrophic calamity to your home. But, even if you own your home free and clear, you'll want coverage to protect your home against:

-Fire and lightning.
-Smoke.
-Frozen pipes.
-Ice and snow.
-Theft.

In addition to paying for damages from these types of incidences, Homeowners insurance also covers homeowners against liability claims, medical payments to third parties, and legal costs if a lawsuit is brought against you. Most property owners carry a liability policy worth $100,000, but some people may need more depending on their circumstances.

To find out what's covered in your specific policy, be sure to read its exclusions carefully. Depending on the type of policy you've chosen, you may be limited in the types of claims you may submit. In general, however, most insurance carriers exclude damages caused by any act of war, nuclear accident, flood, earthquake, and terrorism,. Some, however, offer "riders" or special policies that cover a single type of event or loss.

Covering Special High-Cost Items:
When purchasing homeowner's insurance, keep in mind that there is generally a limit on individual items, especially jewelry. Additional policies may be necessary to cover expensive rings, watches, furs, antiques, and other valuables. After having each item professionally appraised your agent can help you obtain the necessary insurance coverage.

How Much Insurance Do You Need?
While many people assume that they only need enough insurance coverage to pay off their mortgage in case of a total burn, most underestimate the true cost of replacing their home. To make sure that you have enough to cover all your costs, check to see how much it would cost t rebuild your home in today's high priced real estate market and consider taking out a policy worth that amount.

While most standard policies depreciate personal property, some replacement policies will cover the true cost of replacing a lost or stolen item no matter how much it costs or how old the item was.

Saving Money On Insurance:
With today's high cost of insurance, many homeowners are looking for ways to lower premiums. A good way to save money is to consider raising your deductible to $500 or $1,000. Of course, this will be your out-of-pocket expense in case of a claim, but unless you plan on putting in a claim every few months or year, you'll quickly gain back any fees in rate reductions.

Another good way to save 10-20% on your annual insurance bill is to install a security system. Most insurers offer discounts for these types of safety features. You may also qualify for a lower premium if you live near a fire department or hydrant, own a newer home, or own a home built out of fire-resistant materials.

Purchasing homeowner's insurance can seem like a daunting task, but with a little knowledge and a good agent, you can easily get a solid policy to cover all of your emergency needs.
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