There’s a lot of talk about insurance these days – life insurance, car insurance, health insurance, and more – but what about insurance for those who own their own property? While homeowner’s liability insurance varies from state to state, one thing is for sure: it’s important to make sure that you, your family, your house, and your property are protected in case of break-ins, disasters, or accidents that happen to other people while they’re on property you own. In a litigious society, homeowners insurance isn’t optional – it’s a necessity.
But how can you get it, what kind of coverage should you have, and what’s the best way to ensure that the homeowners insurance you purchase fulfills both basic, standard needs and particular circumstances that are a specific fit for you and your property?
A simple definition of homeowners insurance is that it is an insurance policy that provides coverage to pay for damages suffered by individuals or property. However, it’s important to realize that homeowners insurance does not necessarily cover every disaster or damage that could happen to your home. If you live in an area prone to flooding, make sure that either your policy includes coverage for those months when heavy rains or melting winter snow can seep into your home, causing damages that can be costly to repair. Those who live in areas where hurricaines are common should know that they probably need to purchase additional insurance to cover natural disasters of that nature, and the same goes for homeowners in areas along fault lines, where earthquakes can destroy homes in a matter of seconds.
Liability is another aspect of homeowners insurance. While this can be obvious in some cases – if a guest slips and falls on your staircase, it’s possible that they could sue for damages and care, and homeowners insurance can protect you from financial disaster in a case like this – in other cases it’s less obvious. You may be put in a position where someone who isn’t specifically invited onto your property injures themselves, and while liability issues inn these cases should be looked at closely with a legal professional, it’s a good idea to have coverage in case it is determined that you are responsible for an injury to a city worker such as a postman, or a neighborhood child who wanders onto your property.
So what’s the best way to find homeowners insurance? Typing “homeowners insurance” into a web search engine will bring up dozens of options, from companies that sell insurance to sites that rate individual providers. Often, you can communicate with your car or life insurance company (if you have policies already) and find out if they can “bundle” your policies, which might save you money. Large companies such as State Farm Insurance, Liberty Mutual and Allstate Insurance offer a wide range of insurances, and give you the added security of having a large company with a known reputation behind your policy, which is important for peace of mind. The last thing any homeowner wants is to have to worry that their insurance company won’t be able to withstand economic turmoil and pay out in the case that you have to make a claim on your coverage. Many of these companies also offer offices where customers can speak to representatives face to face, instead of always being stuck on hold when you have important questions to ask.
Before any search for homeowners insurance goes too far, it’s important to know a few basic things: the value of your property, the value of the possessions you want covered, and the potential costs of the kinds of damages you might face. Always weigh these against the costs and benefits of the policies being considered in order to make sure to get the most bang for your buck.
Finally, a note for renters – a landlord’s homeowners insurance may protect the physical property you are renting, but it’s rare for these policies to protect the possessions of renters, which means those who do not own their own property should always investigate their options for a policy that protects their interests in the case of damage or break-ins to their living space.