Expert Insight on Homeowners Insurance

What’s the best way to shop for homeowners insurance? Are they any specific considerations or features homeowners should look for?
You should first choose insurance agents wisely and avoid insurance coverage gaps. Ask questions and get second opinions of the replacement cost for your property to avoid being underinsured. Review your policy to make sure your home and its contents are covered for replacement cost value instead of actual cash value. Replacement cost is the actual cost to repair or replace items before the insurance company applies depreciation. Watch out for policy sub-limits for valuables such as gifts, jewelry, electronics, computers, firearms, cash and other high-value items. You may want to hire a professional to appraise these items and help create a home inventory list in case of a loss from a disaster. You may be entitled to policy discounts for any theft deterrent installed, such as a security system.

How should a homeowner decide if they should get additional flood insurance?
Flood is not covered by your homeowner’s policy. You will need to contact the National Flood Insurance Program or a private insurer to see if they offer this coverage in your area. You should review your homeowners policy to see if you’re covered for water backup and broad water backup, which aren’t considered floods but can result in similar damage. These endorsements are usually limited to $5,000 per occurrence.

What’s the best way to set a homeowners policy deductible?
Homeowners can have deductibles as small as $500, but check to see if your policy has a separate deductible for wind, hail or hurricane. This is different from your standard deductible. Windstorm deductibles are usually a percentage of the insured value of your home, instead of a flat rate. These can range as high as 5%. Always shop around to compare policies!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mandy Sleight is a writer for MoneyGeek and has been an insurance agent since 2005. As a freelance writer, she uses her vast knowledge of the insurance industry to create informative, engaging and easy-to-understand content for consumers. Her work has been featured in Market Watch, Kiplinger and other major publications.

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