One of the first things a home buyer must do is line up homeowners insurance for their new home. I used to work in the Business Development Department of Rockingham Group, a local insurance company. I learned that many people don’t know much about insurance — especially homeowners insurance. So a brief rundown of the basics is in order.
- First, the basic structure of a homeowners insurance policy is this: a section each for the home’s structure(s), its contents, and liability. If you are a renter, you should really get renter’s insurance to cover your belongings in case of a disaster, like a fire or flood.
- Second, what is covered in the policy? Typical homeowners insurance policies cover damage to your home’s structure and your personal property caused by: fire or lightning, windstorm or hail, explosions, riot or civil commotion, aircraft, vehicles, smoke, theft or vandalism, falling objects, weight of ice, snow or sleet, or freezing of household systems. (Note: all policies are different and can be customized. Call your insurance agent to make sure you are covered under these circumstances.)
- Third, keep in mind that some things are NOT covered. Flood and earthquake insurance needs to be purchased separately. There could also be exclusions in your policy, so check your insurance packet for that information. (Usually it is kept as a separate section toward the back of the packet.)
- Fourth, ask yourself the basic questions: If my pipes freeze and burst this winter, am I covered? If a tree falls on my house, am I covered? If my entire house and all of my belongings burn, am I covered? If that happens, where will I go? What will I do? Call your insurance agent/company and find out the answers to these questions. It is better to know in advance of any possible damages what can occur and make sure you have enough coverage to allow you to recover from any losses.
If you are in need of an insurance agent, let us know. We can point you in the direction of some great local agents.