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How Does Homeowners Insurance Work?

How Does Homeowners Insurance Work? PhotoWhen planning to purchase a home, it’s not only the mortgage you should think about. Consider getting homeowners insurance to protect you when disaster strikes.

Basics

Homeowners insurance is a type of property insurance that covers private homes. It’s also possible to insure and cover your possessions inside your home. It protects you from various catastrophes that can happen anytime to your home or personal belongings.

Just like any other insurance, you’ll be facing premiums and deductibles in order for the insurance to proceed.

Types of policies

There are 5 commonly issued home insurance policies:

  • HO-2 – Broad Form Homeowner Policy

This has replaced the HO-1 in majority of states. It has coverage much broader in scope than the HO-1 – all 16 of the most common hazards compared to only 10 in HO-1 are covered. All of the insured party’s properties are protected as long as all of them are detailed in the verification process.

  • HO-3 – Special Form Homeowner Policy

It’s similar to the HO-2, with the exception of including the 16 common hazards in the policy. Coverage varies between states, the companies offering the policy and the coverage options selected by the policyholder.

  • HO-4 – Renter’s Insurance

This is standard rental insurance. It covers the possessions inside the building or residence against the 16 most common hazards. However, the building itself is not insured under this policy. When the house a tenant lives in gets destroyed or damaged, his/her properties lost this way would be replaced by the insurer.

  • HO-6 – Condominium Policy

It is specifically designed for condominium unit owners. The policy covers those typically offered in renter’s policies and including any additions or modifications to the property done by the policyholder.

  • HO-8 – Old Houses

Also called “Modified Coverage”, this policy is created for residents of old houses who made reparations that exceeded the value the house was originally insured for. The HO-8 is also particularly well-suited for residences that have suffered extensive depreciation due to damages.

Coverage

The majority of homeowners insurance offers protection against the 16 common hazards; some of them namely: lightning, riot, aircraft, explosion, vandalism, smoke, theft, windstorm or hail, falling objects, volcanic eruption, snow, sleet, and weight of ice.

Damage due to faulty wirings, pipes bursting and other malfunctions are usually covered provided that they’re not caused by negligence on the part of the homeowner. Many policies do not automatically cover damage caused by floods, hurricanes and earthquakes. It’s the discretion of the homeowner if he/she wants to add coverage for these for an additional cost.

Liability protection

There’s a possibility of someone getting hurt accidentally while inside your residence or property. This could expose you to problems like paying for medical bills or getting sued by the injured party. Having liability insurance could help you in this scenario.

If all conditions are met, your insurer would cover the medical expenses of the injured party up to the amount stated in the coverage. You’ll also have legal representation provided by the insurance company to settle cases and claims that third parties might bring against you.

Deductibles and premiums

Both property and liability insurances are included in the premium paid by homeowners. The cost you’ll pay will depend on the value of your house and the additional possession you want to be covered in the plan. There are additional features and coverage you might want to consider depending on your projection for the possibility of future risks.

Filing claims

You’ll need to file a claim to your insurance company in case you suffer a loss under the coverage agreed upon. Your insurer will then send an adjuster to verify if your claims are accurate. It would be best if you could present pictures or any other proof of the value of the belongings you lost.

Once the total value of the damaged property has been assessed, you will be offered a settlement amount. You can further negotiate with authorities if you think the deal isn’t sufficient to recover your losses.

Source: Standard Homeowners Insurance Guide by John Cain