Crime, accidents and severe weather are part of life, and every home experiences loss or damage of some kind, at some point. You can’t predict when you will experience a loss, but you can protect yourself financially. Where do you begin, and how can you compare homeowners insurance quotes when it seems every company offers something different?
Start by getting a free home insurance quote from an independent insurance agent like us. A local agent can compare rates for you so you can get on with enjoying your home and family. Your agent can also answer any questions you may have about how to get the right homeowners insurance for your needs, including personal property coverage, liability and more.
Home and Property Damage Facts
- In an average year, 374,000 residences catch fire, resulting in $7.32 billion in loss
- In 2010, 2,158,878 houses were burglarized, resulting in an estimated $4.6 billion loss
- 1,691 tornadoes occurred in the U.S. in 2011, at a cost of $28 billion
Getting coverage for the risks of owning a home is simply a wise investment. Be sure to talk with a qualified agent who understands your geographic area and can help you make sense of the many options available to you.
What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?
Broadly speaking, insurance covers you for potential loss resulting from risks such as burglary or theft, severe storms, fire and also your personal liability. The specific risks you may face as a home owner could include floods and earthquakes, which you must cover with separate policies, as these disasters are not included in home insurance.
Your home liability coverage protects you in the event that someone is injured on your premises or you are responsible for damage to someone else’s property. You homeowners insurance can even protect you against injury you cause to another person off-premises under certain circumstances. Note that liability insurance will not cover acts of violence or intentional damage.
Your liability insurance would also typically provide coverage if:
- Your child throws a baseball through the neighbor’s window
- Your dog bites a visitor to your home
- A visitor is injured on your backyard swing set or trampoline, or by falling on your icy sidewalk
- A dinner guest gets food poisoning and is hospitalized
If someone files a liability claim against you, your insurance can pay for property repairs, medical or funeral costs or even a lawsuit if the injured party chooses to launch a legal process.
When evaluating the amount of liability coverage that makes the most sense for you, be sure to fully discuss your limits and deductibles with your agent. Take time to understand your risks, and determine whether you will be well covered in various circumstances. In the event of a disaster, the costs of recovering can devastate household finances. Quality home insurance can make a difficult situation bearable and help you get your life back on track.
Is Homeowners Insurance Mandatory?
Homeowners coverage is not required by law. However, if you borrow money to buy a home, your lender will likely require you to buy a homeowners insurance policy in order for you to qualify for a home loan. In this case, your home is collateral and the lender wants the collateral maintained. The lender requires insurance so you can afford repairs if the home suffers an insurable loss.
At a minimum, your lender will want your policy to cover or exceed the amount you owe on the loan. Most home owners, however, want enough coverage to repair or replace the home. We can help you decide how much insurance is right for you.
Be Sure Your Home Insurance Provides Adequate Coverage
A recent study concluded that 69 percent of home owners are under-insured. Unfortunately, many home owners think they are fully protected and are stunned to find out at the time of loss that their coverage is inadequate.
Getting the right homeowners insurance coverage for your home and belongings depends on many things, from crime rates, tornado risk and wildfire hazards in your area to the specific personal property coverage and deductibles that make the most sense for your household.
Here are a few key strategies you may want to consider to make sure you have adequate home insurance:
- Increase your liability insurance with an umbrella liability policy, which will provide liability coverage up to $1 million or more.
- Get replacement cost home insurance to cover what it would cost to replace your home and personal property, instead of “actual cash value” coverage, which will only cover the current depreciated value.
- Be sure to read over the policy's exclusions carefully and ask your agent if any of these items are a risk, and if you can purchase additional insurance to cover them.
- Add coverage for specific items of value, such as jewelry, art and collectibles, through “endorsements” or “riders” on the policy.
While you may be able to buy online homeowners insurance, consider working directly through an agent who can provide in-depth explanations of each aspect of your policy. When you buy home insurance, you are protecting your financial future. Take time to seek good advice from a knowledgeable independent agent.
Making Sure Your Personal Belongings Are Covered
When choosing the amount of personal property coverage you want for your belongings, consider what it would cost to replace all of your personal items after a total loss from a fire. Many home owners assume that all of their belongings are fully covered until they experience a loss. Depending upon the type and amount of coverage in the policy, personal items may not be covered, or may only be covered up to a depreciated value. In most cases, this amount is far less than what it would cost to replace them.
The following steps can help you determine the value of your items and be prepared in the event that you need to file a claim:
- Compile an inventory of what you own, room by room.
- Take pictures of your belongings, particularly anything of high value.
- Keep receipts for all valuable items you purchase, including appliances.
- Record a replacement value for each item on your inventory.
- Go over this list with your insurance agent and determine whether you need to purchase additional coverage to be protected in the event of a loss.
- Place your inventory list, images and receipts in a secure place such as a fire safe.
These records will help you to complete the claims process more efficiently and accurately if you suffer a loss.
Why Work with an Independent Agent?
Now that you know the many ins and outs of homeowners insurance, you can see why it is so important to work with an insurance agent who can answer all of your questions. A local independent agent can compare policies and options for you from multiple insurance companies, and provide all of the information you need to make an informed decision.
Additionally, your local agent can look for all available discounts that can help to lower your home insurance costs. When it comes time to file a claim after a loss, your agent will assist you with the claims process so you can recover as quickly as possible.
There are many reasons people choose to rent rather than buy a home. Whether you are a college student, you are saving up for a down payment on a house, or you simply like the flexibility of apartment living, it is a good idea to become familiar with renters insurance and how it can protect you.
If you’re considering purchasing a renters insurance policy, you may have some questions. Do you really need this coverage? Is it worth it? How can you get the best deal? We can answer all these questions and more. A local agent can assess your unique coverage needs, help you compare policies from several insurance companies, and help you make an informed choice. Contact us today and receive a free quote today.
Statistics about Tenants in the United States
- In 2010, the U.S. Census found that approximately 35% of all homes in America were renter-occupied.
- In 2012, a poll conducted by ORC found that only 31% of tenants in this country carry renters insurance.
- The average renter owns $20,000 worth of personal belongings.
Renters insurance provides low-cost coverage for your personal belongings, so you can recover from loss, damage or theft. It also covers your personal liability. Your landlord’s policy covers the building and grounds, but will not reimburse you for the costs of your personal items in the event of a loss, or cover the costs of injuries or damage that happen inside your apartment space.
Landlords insure their rental properties with homeowners or landlords insurance. These policies provide coverage for the structure of the building, any personal property the landlord owns (such as appliances and carpeting) and liability for injuries due to the property owner’s negligence in upkeep or safety of the property.
But in the event that your personal belongings and valuables are destroyed in a building fire or stolen by a thief, you need to have a renters insurance policy in place to cover your losses. If you do not have such a policy, you will need to recover from your loss out of pocket.
Should I Get Renters Insurance?
Renters insurance is not mandatory in any state. In some cases, however, landlords will require their tenants to buy renters insurance, and they are perfectly within their rights to do so.
You are most likely to be required to carry renters insurance if you live in an apartment building or other type of multi-unit rental. The main reason for this requirement has to do with liability coverage for the leasing company and the other tenants. If you should accidently start a fire, your landlord and other affected tenants can receive reimbursements through your policy.
Whether or not you are required to carry this insurance, choosing to purchase a renters insurance policy is a wise decision that will protect you from devastating loss.
What if I Don’t Own Anything Worth Insuring?
Many people who rent rooms in homes feel that renters insurance is an unnecessary expense. While you may not have a lot of expensive belongings, if you take the time to write down an inventory and an estimated value of everything you own, you may be surprised.
Be sure you list everything including all your furniture, clothes, dishes, electronics, jewelry, appliances, and even cosmetics. Now think about how much it would cost to start with nothing and replace everything you own. That is exactly what you would have to do if a fire or natural disaster caused you to lose everything.
Now look at your most valuable items. What if they were stolen? Could you afford to replace them? Statistically speaking, apartment residents report burglaries more frequently than people living in houses. Renters insurance allows you to be prepared so that you will not be faced with undue financial burdens in their wake.
What Does Renters Insurance Cover?
Renters insurance covers your personal belongings or “contents” against damage and loss, including from theft, fire, and even smoke, which can be quite destructive. Your contents insurance may provide actual-value reimbursement for your items, or, for a slightly higher premium, may cover your full replacement cost. If most of your possessions are older or worn, the more expensive policy is ideal as you will be able to purchase new items to replace everything you lost.
Your rental-home or apartment insurance will typically cover the cost of temporary housing if your home should be uninhabitable for a period of time following a disaster. It is important not to assume that your landlord will cover this cost for you, as that will depend upon the cause of the fire and the landlord’s specific coverage.
Finally, your policy will provide liability insurance should you be held responsible for an injury to a visitor in your home. This coverage can be quite beneficial as medical bills can add up quickly. Even something as minor as a trip to the hospital for stitches can cost more than a full year of renters insurance coverage.
Is Renters Insurance Expensive?
In 2010, U.S. tenants spent an average of $185 per year for their renters insurance policies. At only $15 a month, this is not an unmanageable expense; most people spend more than that on pizza each month. If you are fortunate enough to never have to file a claim, the money will have still been well-spent for the peace of mind it can provide.
Can You Buy Renters Insurance Online?
While you may be able to buy renters online, there are a number of downsides. For example, if you are unsure of your particular coverage needs, you won’t have an agent right there to talk to. You may end up buying too much insurance, or not enough. It can be difficult to sort through the terms of your insurance and fully understand what your renters insurance covers.
Speak with us today, we will help you get the answers you need. We will help ensure that your personal belongings, particularly your valuables, are adequately covered and that you fully understand the terms of your policy.
Because your agent has access to policies from several different insurance companies, you can be sure that you are getting your coverage at a competitive rate