Saturday, November 2, 2013
Oh, Give Me a Home, Where the Home Insurance Quotes Roam
Are you like me - do you love talking about insurance? Well, who doesn't really? So let's talk home insurance, and what you need to know when you get a home insurance quote.Do you own a home? Do you plan to? You are not required by law to have insurance on your dwelling, but if you carry a mortgage, your lender will most likely require it. If you don't have or need a mortgage (please, please, tell me how you did that! I am but a poor scribe), it remains a wise decision to protect your investment with insurance. Gather up your information and get a reliable home insurance quote.How do I go about getting a home insurance quote?For those of you who have read my other delightful yet poignant insurance articles, you know that I always recommend using a reputable insurance agent. No, that is not an oxymoron. And no, I am not an insurance agent myself. When you need electrical work, do you not call an electrician? Or plumbing work, a plumber? When you want to know the ins and outs of riders, floaters, and umbrellas, call a pro. Get a professional home insurance quote from someone who can meet with you, and address your specific needs.So once I find one of these "shady" insurance agents, what should I tell him?Now stop it! They're not all shady. But here are some issues that you might want to discuss with your agent as he prepares your home insurance quote:1. Coverage for the structure of your home2. Coverage for your personal belongings3. Liability protection4. Additional living expenses in the event you are temporarily unable to live in your home because of a fire or other insured disaster (e.g. rivers of blood, plagues of frogs).Most people are aware of the first issue - watching the news, we see homes destroyed by things like hurricanes or earthquakes and realize we need to insure the structure itself - but what about the other three? If you live in a home, odds are pretty good that you also own "stuff" that you keep inside your house. This should be insured as well. Many companies will cover your personal belongings for 50%-70% of the amount of your policy. This means if you have $100,000 worth of insurance on the structure of your home, you would have between $50,000 to $70,000 worth of coverage for your belongings. If you have more expensive stuff, like a Renoir, Monet, or Grandpa's gold teeth, you may want to purchase a floater to cover the difference.What do I need liability protection for? Isn't this just another scam so my agent can produce a larger home insurance quote, and get a bigger commission?Well, it could appear thus, but remember - insurance is protection against the unforeseen. Liability covers you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that you or family members cause to other people (I didn't mean to shoot Joey with that BB gun, Dad), and the liability portion of your policy pays for both the cost of defending you in court and any court awards - up to the limit of your policy, of course. Your policy also provides no-fault medical coverage. In the event a friend or neighbor is injured in your home, he or she can simply submit medical bills to your insurance company.Okay, okay, and the additional living expenses?Well, what if your house is gone? What if a twister takes it to the Merry Old Land of Oz? Where are you going to live? This part of your coverage pays the additional costs of living away from home, if you can't live there due to damage from a fire, storm or other insured disaster. It covers hotel bills, restaurant meals and other living expenses incurred while your home is being rebuilt. Although coverage can vary, and will depend upon the home insurance quote you received, many policies provide coverage for about 20% of the insurance on your house. You can increase this coverage, as well, for an additional premium. Make sure your home insurance quote details this for you.Anything else I need to know before I get my home insurance quote?There's tons of stuff. But I can't address it all in this article. However, consider these things as well when your agent gets your home insurance quote for you (you do now have and agent, don't you?):-What type of home insurance quote do I need for a co-op or condo?-What types of disasters are covered?-What's the difference between cancellation and nonrenewal?-How can I save money?-What information do I need to provide to my agent so he can provide me with an accurate home insurance quote?-What if I can't get coverage?-How often should I review my policy?Your agent can help you with these and other questions as he prepares your home insurance quote for you. See, now...wasn't that fun?