What are my options with Home Owners Insurance and how do I figure out what I need?
Homeowners insurance is provided with a basic package that covers most things like dwelling, personal property, liability, loss of use, and separate structures already included. Variations of this basic package are available depending on how your home fits the criteria insurance companies look for, such as owner occupied, multi-unit, or owner occupied with renters. These same variations are available for the different types of ownership as well; that is homeowners, condo owner, or landlord.
Essentially, to begin to answer this question you first need to see what boxes your home and needs fit in. Do you live in your home but have roommates? Do you have multiple units? Are you a landlord? Then you need to see what the basic package of insurance offers you in terms of coverage and assess your own personal property and expenses and see if extra coverage will be needed to cover your needs. If so your insurance agent will know how to adjust your homeowners insurance to cover the extra.
How do you assess what is needed? Take a realistic look at what you are trying to protect. Find the local cost per square foot (This information can be found by calling some of your local builders and asking them if a house burnt to the ground what would it cost (per square foot) to rebuild it?) and take that and multiply it by the square feet of your home to get your appropriate dwelling coverage amount. You should also account for any Extended Replacement Coverage in that calculation. Add up all your personal property to make sure you have enough coverage to replace it.
Don’t worry– a good insurance agent can help you to figure all of this out as well, but having an idea of where you stand when you go to speak with them can help the process and make sure you have everything you need.
Also, with homeowners insurance you should consider flood and earthquake insurance as these do not come standard with homeowners insurance policies. Even when the risk of flood or earthquake may be rare, not having the appropriate insurance to cover these occurrences can be costly.
If you have any questions on this please feel free to contact me at ctrowbridge@farmersagent..com or 1-650-Farmers.