Whether you own or rent, insuring the place you call home can help protect you financially if you suffer a loss due to fire, theft, vandalism, or other covered events. Depending on where you live – a house, apartment, or condominium – the right home insurance policy can provide you peace of mind as well as the money you need to repair or replace your home and/or belongings. It will also cover you in the event someone is injured while on your property and wins a legal judgment against you.
The homeowners policy
Homeowners policies differ by which losses are covered, which coverages you choose, and what type of residence you own. You choose which policy is best for you, whether it’s a comprehensive policy that covers losses such as fire, hail, smoke, falling objects, vandalism and theft of personal property, or whether it’s a policy that covers only specified losses.
Types of coverages
The four types of homeowners coverage are:
Structural — Covers damage to your home or dwelling.
Personal Belongings — Covers damage to items in or on your home or dwelling.
Liability Protection — Covers your legal responsibility for injuries or damage to other people or property.
Additional Living Expenses — Covers costs for temporary housing, meals, etc., while your home is being restored or rebuilt.
Structural and personal belongings coverages are available on an actual cash value (ACV) basis or at full replacement cost. ACV coverage considers the current market value of an item based on its age and condition. So, if you purchased a television for $400 four years ago, the value today would be significantly less than it was when you purchased it. ACV coverage would depreciate the item’s value to determine the current value. Full replacement cost considers the current cost to replace an item.
Make an inventory of your home and personal belongings. If possible, make a list as well as take photos or video – using two inventory methods can help expedite the claim resolution process. Keep this list somewhere other than your home. Keep in mind that your policy doesn’t cover damages caused by poor or deferred maintenance on your part.