Insurance questions that we thought would be helpful to home buyers.

    By: Laurie Cotter – premierhouseinspection .com/cover-yourself/

    What is the advantage of using an agent when sometimes you can find cheaper rates online? 

    Using a local agent has many benefits over purchasing insurance online. An agent can help you evaluate the make-up of your home/assess your personal property to ensure you’re adequately covered. An agent can make endorsement recommendations such as power outage protection, or water back-up coverage to ensure that in the event of a storm or other event, you can have peace of mind that you’re protected. Online purchasing can be quick and convenient, but since the everyday person probably doesn’t know exactly what they need, the internet might be offering a policy that’s not tailored to specific needs. For a few minutes on the phone or in person with an agent, you can save yourself a lot of time and stress long term by having the right coverage.

    Who decides on the type of homeowner’s insurance I need? My mortgage company or me?

    Depends. The mortgage company may have specific requirements such as deductible amount or liability coverage, but the home insurance limits should be determined by the amount it’ll take to rebuild the home entirely if there was a total loss. Sometimes, the mortgage company will require the policy to cover the loan amount (which may be more than the replacement cost as home insurance doesn’t factor purchase price or market value), but that’s not always the case.

    What exactly does a “homeowner’s policy” cover?

    Aside from unique endorsements that will vary from company to company, the standard components on a home insurance policy are:

    Coverage A: Dwelling – coverage to rebuild dwelling after a partial/total loss
    Coverage B: Other structures- coverage for other structures not attached to dwelling (garage, shed, patio, etc.)
    Coverage C: Personal Property- will cover all of your belongings (flip your house upside down, and everything that falls out is considered personal property)
    Coverage D: Loss of Use – will cover extra living expenses incurred by partial/total loss if you have to stay in a hotel/rent an apartment – limits will vary by company
    Coverage: E: Personal Liability – provides bodily injury and property damage coverage up to policy limits, legal defense, covers in the event of a lawsuit
    Coverage F: Medical Payments – per person limit for medical payments to guests who are injured on the property

    How does where I live impact my premium?

    Home insurance isn’t just based on how big the home is or if it’s made up of state-of-the-art furnishings. Where you live impacts the premium as the surrounding risks come into play. Proximity of a home to a fire station is highly factored into the premium because in the event of a fire, the amount of time it will take firefighters to get to the home is key as trying to stop a total loss is important.

    What are certain everyday things in your home that can increase your premium?

    Restricted breeds of dogs (Pitbulls, German Shepards, etc.), wood stoves, pools, outdated systems, residents that smoke, outdated home systems (plumbing, electric, heating)…

    Are there exclusions that should be known?

    Flood coverage caused by natural flooding is not covered on a standard home insurance policy- a separate policy through FEMA would need to be obtained.

    Are there any steps that can be taken to reduce your premium?

    Update home systems (electric, plumbing heating), add home security system, update roof… Liberty Mutual also offers multi-policy discounts, good student, and claims free discounts.

    Can you insure a home-based business?

    In some instances, yes. You’d want to talk to an agent about the specifics to verify if your home-based business would qualify.

    Call Jinks Realty at (956) 429-3232 or Visit our Website: www.JinksRealty.com for all your Real Estate needs.

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