How to Protect Your Home and Its Contents

Homeowners insurance is one of those things that we often buy because we have to. When purchasing a home, the mortgage lender requires that the buyer purchase insurance to protect their interest in the property. But even if you own your home free and clear, homeowners insurance is something you need.

A good insurance policy will protect your home from a variety of hazards. These generally include, but are not limited to, fire, storm damage and vandalism. Your standard policy does not cover flooding, but those that are in danger due to proximity to a body of water or geological concerns may purchase a separate flood policy. Check with your insurance agent to find out what coverage you have or need.

Another important aspect of a homeowners policy is protection of your personal property. It is protected against the same things that your dwelling itself is protected against. Your property is also protected against theft, and in some cases may even be covered if it is lost.

Liability coverage should also be included in your policy. This will pay medical and litigation expenses (if applicable) if someone is injured on your property, or as a result of your personal activities anywhere else. It also covers damage to the personal property of others under the same circumstances. Liability coverage does not, however, cover incidents that would be covered by auto or business insurance.

The Fine Print

In every aspect of life, it’s critically important to read the fine print. This is especially true when it comes to homeowners insurance. Finding out you’re not covered for a given type of occurrence after it has happened is unpleasant and expensive.

People are often surprised to learn that there are certain types of disasters that are not covered by their homeowners insurance. In addition to floods, earthquakes and acts of war are not usually covered by a standard policy. Accidents that are found to be due to intentional acts (such as booby trapping an entrance to protect your home from burglars) are also not covered by most policies.

Knowing your coverage limits is also very important. Your home should be adequately covered unless you’ve done work that significantly increases its value. But separate structures such as detached garages or sheds are only covered for 10% of the amount of coverage for your home in most cases. And personal property is subject to certain limits as well. If you find that these limits are too low, you should be able to purchase endorsements that provide the amount of coverage you need.

Every homeowner should have insurance to protect his investment and belongings. It may seem expensive at first, but it’s one of those things that we can’t afford not to have. In the event of an emergency, a good homeowners policy can help you pick up the pieces and get your life back to normal.

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