Though almost everyone who owns a home has homeowner insurance, it is often a forgotten about as soon as it is written. A homeowner policy is generally purchased amidst the chaos of the home buying process, the payments are blended into the mortgage as part of the escrow account, and the benefits of homeowner insurance are forgotten unless there is damage to the home.
If you have forgotten about your home insurance policy or don’t know the particulars of it, you are not alone. I was one of those individuals who had forgotten about their home insurance policy. Then one day a storm came in and caused damage to my home. I had no idea where my policy was, what it covered, and if I would have to do the repairs on my own. It was a very stressful time to say the least.
That is why I reached out to my friends at Armed Forces Insurance (AFI) to discuss the benefits of homeowner insurance. AFI has been dedicated to providing insurance education and insurance solutions to military families for over 130 years. We all know that home insurance will cover damage to the home. What many of you may not know is that your home insurance policy will cover much more than just the home. I asked AFI to provide me with a list of what your home insurance policy may cover that you were not aware of. I found out that a home insurance policy does not just protect your home, but your policy covers much more.
Your homeowner policy will have a limited amount of protection for any structures on your property that are not directly attached to your home. Your home insurance policy will automatically cover structures that are not attached to you home up to and amount that equals 10% of your home dwelling coverage. So if your house is insured for $300,000, you would have $30,000 to cover any structures not attached to the home. Need more coverage for that detached garage? The other structures amount can be increased as needed. Examples of “other structures” include a detached garage, shed, fence, pool house, and guest home.
Your policy will also cover almost everything that will be moved into your home from your moving truck. This includes everything from your clothes to your appliances. If there is damage caused by a covered event, your personal property will be covered up to a certain dollar amount listed on your policy’s declaration page under the section Personal Property. Most home insurance policies will cover your personal property up to 50% to 75% of your home’s dwelling coverage. Also, make sure to have a replacement cost to ensure your property’s value is not depreciated.
Just a note, there are also some special limitations on certain items such as jewelry, fine arts, antiques, money (cash) and other items you may home. Be sure to ask your agent what those limits are and what other coverage options you may have for your more expensive items.
The home insurance policy has a section often named Extra or Additional Living Expense coverage that comes standard on most home insurance policies. This coverage is designed to pay for those extra expenses that are incurred when you are forced from your home due to a claim. This coverage will help cover the costs of having to live elsewhere while your home is being repaired, pay for laundry service, meals, and a few days in a hotel to several months in a rental home if necessary.
This is coverage for medical expenses if someone who does not belong to your household is injured on your property. An example of this would be if it has snowed earlier in the day and your driveway is slick. You have not had time to clear the snow and ice off your driveway. Your neighbor, George, approaches your house and he slips and falls breaking his arm on your slick pavement. Now, you don’t want George to sue you and neither does your insurance company. That is why your insurance policy will pay for George’s medical bills. Most policies have medical payment coverage up to $5,000 available for you.
This coverage is on your policy to protect you in case you are sued for causing property damage or injury to others. If someone is injured on your property, it could cost thousands of dollars. Your home insurance policy will help protect you and cover any potential liability claim that may occur from that injury. Most home insurance policies have options for Liability Coverage between $100K and $500K with some companies allowing you to increase liability up to $1 Million. This coverage can even include protecting you if your dog bites or knocks down another person. However, many insurance policies do have restrictions on certain dog breeds so make sure to talk to your agent to make sure your dog is covered.
Your home policy may often cover legal costs in defense of a liability lawsuit that you become obligated to pay.
Home insurance will cover your child’s personal property while they are away at school living in the dorm. If they move out of the dorm, you may have to consider renter insurance at that time.
Some policies may have a provision that covers refrigerated and frozen goods that spoil due to a power outage caused by a severe storm or major winds. Generally the limit is up to $500.
There is even coverage on your home policy if there is damage or vandalism to your family’s gravestones, tombstones, or urns.
Finally and maybe the most important coverage you get from a home insurance policy is peace of mind. Just knowing that if there is a devastating fire, tornado, hurricane, or theft of your property that occurs at your home, you will not have to worry about finding the money to rebuild your home or buy new personal property. Your home policy is designed to make you whole again by replacing what is lost and rebuilding your home as it was. That is why it is really important to talk to your insurance agent and make sure you have the coverage you need.
Those are just a few tips from Armed Forces Insurance regarding things you may not know about your home insurance policy. With a little bit of homework and the right agent, purchasing the correct home insurance policy and understanding your coverages can be very simple to do.
For a more tools and resources on home insurance and other insurance products, head over to Armed Forces Insurance – Resources and Tools page to learn more.
As a military family, you need insurance that matches your needs and protects what you value most. You deserve an insurance company that is committed to serving you. MilHousing Network is proud to partner with Armed Forces Insurance to bring military families reliable homeowner’s insurance options when buying a home. Contact them today at 800-313-1936 or visit www.afi.org/milhousing to learn how they can support your unique military lifestyle.
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