Frequently Asked Questions about Homeowners Insurance Quotes and Policies
What is homeowners insurance?
Homeowners insurance provides financial protection against disasters. A standard homeowners insurance quotes policy insures the home itself and the things you keep in it.
Homeowners insurance is a package policy. This means that it covers both damage to your property and your liability or legal responsibility for any injuries and property damage you or members of your family cause to other people. This includes damage caused by household pets.
Damage caused by most disasters is covered but there are exceptions. The most significant are damage caused by floods, earthquakes, and poor maintenance. You must buy two separate homeowners insurance quote policies for flood and earthquake coverage. Maintenance-related problems are the homeowners’ responsibility.
What is in a standard homeowners insurance policy?
Generally, speaking a standard homeowners insurance quote policy includes four essential types of coverage. They include:
Coverage for the structure of your home.
Coverage for your personal belongings.
Additional living expenses in the event you are temporarily unable to live in your home because of a fire or other insured disaster.
Are there different types of homeowners insurance quote policies?
Yes. A person who owns his or her home would have a different policy from someone who rents. Policies also differ on the amount of insurance coverage provided.
The different types of homeowners insurance quote policies are fairly standard throughout the country. However, individual states and companies may offer policies that are slightly different or go by other names such as “standard” or “deluxe”. The one exception is the state of Texas, where policies vary somewhat from policies in other states.
What type of insurance do I need for a co-op or condo?
If you have purchased a condo or co-op, the bank will require insurance to protect its investment in your home. You may, however, need more insurance to cover your personal items, liability, or fees that may be charged to you regarding shared areas of the building like the lobby.
You will need two separate policies to protect your investment:
Your own insurance policy.
This provides coverage for your personal possessions, structural improvements to your apartment, and additional living expenses if you are the victim of fire, theft, or other disaster listed in your policy. You also get liability protection.
A “master policy” provided by the condo/co-op board.
This covers the common areas you share with others in your building like the roof, basement, elevator, boiler, and walkways for both liability and physical damage.
What type of disasters are covered?
Most homeowners insurance quote policies cover all disasters listed below, but it is safer to check with your insurance company.
- Fire or lightning
- Windstorm or hail
- Riot or civil commotion
- Damage caused by aircraft
- Damage caused by vehicles
- Vandalism or malicious mischief
- Volcanic eruption
Can I own a home without a homeowners insurance quote policy?
Unlike driving a car, you can legally own a home without homeowners insurance. But, if you have bought your home and financed the purchase with a mortgage, your lender will most likely require you to get homeowners insurance coverage. That’s because lenders need to protect their investment in your home in case your house burns down or is badly damaged by a storm, tornado or other disaster. If you live in an area likely to flood, the bank will also require you to purchase flood insurance. Some financial institutions may also require earthquake coverage if you live in a region vulnerable to earthquakes. If you buy a co-op or condominium, your board will probably require you to buy homeowners insurance.
After your mortgage is paid off, no one will force you to buy homeowners insurance. But it doesn’t make sense to cancel your homeowners insurance quote policy and risk losing what you’ve invested in your home.
How do I take a home inventory and why?
Would you be able to remember all the possessions you’ve accumulated over the years if they were destroyed by a fire? Having an up-to-date home inventory will help you get your insurance claim settled faster, verify losses for your income tax return, and help you purchase the correct amount of insurance.
Start by making a list of your possessions, describing each item and noting where you bought it and its make and model. Clip to your list any sales receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals you have. For clothing, count the items you own by category such as pants, coats, shoes, for making notes about those that are especially valuable. For major appliance and electronic equipment, record their serial numbers usually found on the back or bottom.
How much homeowners insurance do I need?
You need enough insurance to cover the following:
- The structure of your home.
- Your personal possessions.
- The cost of additional living expenses if your home is damaged and you have to live elsewhere during repairs.
- Your liability to others.