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What Does a Homeowner Typically Insure for their House?

Home insurance is a necessity when it comes to protecting your home and possessions against destruction or theft.  Mortgage companies require homebuyers to show proof of insurance coverage for the full or fair value of the home before they will grant a loan.  Although homeowner’s insurance plans are completely customizable to you and your family’s desires, all policies come with some standard elements that your insurer will cover.

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Most standard policies include the following four essential types of coverage: 

    1. Structure of Home – Your homeowner’s insurance policy will pay to repair or rebuild your home if your home is damaged or destroyed by fire, hurricane, hail, lightning or other specific disasters listed in your policy.

    Ross Insurance Agency Tip: When purchasing coverage, be sure to select enough coverage to rebuild your entire home if necessary.

    2. Personal Belongings – If fire, hurricane or other (insured) disasters destroy your personal belongings, such as clothing, furniture, expensive equipment, etc., your home insurance policy will cover them. The same goes if your insured personal belongings are stolen.

    Ross Insurance Agency Tip: By documenting your home’s valuable possessions (via a written documentation of contents, using an app geared towards home inventories or even a recorded video highlighting your important possessions and their value), you are able to better ensure compensation from your insurance provider.

    3. Liability Limit Protection – If someone is injured on your property (i.e., they trip in your back yard and twist an ankle) or you cause an accident on someone else’s property (i.e., you accidentally break your neighbor’s expensive vase), you could be found legally responsible for resulting medical or legal expenses. Liability protection covers you from these types of expenses.

    Ross Insurance Agency Tip: It’s important to remember that this portion of coverage will not cover yours or your family’s medical expenses or accidents on your property – but it will protect anyone that is injured on your property or accidents caused on someone else’s property.

    4. Additional Living Expenses – Additional living expenses will cover the cost of living away from home while your residence is repaired or rebuilt if you find yourself unable to live at home due to an insured disaster. This can include hotel bills, dining out and other costs that are considered over and beyond your usual living expenses.

    Ross Insurance Agency Tip: Be sure to pay special attention to time limits associated with additional living expenses in your home insurance policy.

    In addition to these standard elements of homeowner’s insurance, here are some other important coverage options to understand and consider:

    Replacement Cost vs. Market Value – Market Value is the actual price you paid for your home.  Replacement Cost is the price it would take to rebuild your house (same size, same location and same quality construction) at today’s costs.

    Water & Sewer Backup – When sewers get backed up or sump pumps fail, thousands of dollars of water damage and sewer mess can be made on your home’s walls, floors, electrical systems and furniture.  Although your plan may include some water and sewer backup coverage, it is minimal and you should consider increasing this coverage.

    Service Line Coverage – As a homeowner, you are financially responsible for any damage to utility lines that run through your property.  For a small additional premium, you can add service line coverage to protect you and your finances in the event of utility line damage.

    Personal Umbrella – Similar to liability limit protection mentioned above, personal umbrella coverage is extra liability insurance coverage that goes above and beyond standard home insurance policies.   For instance, if you own a trampoline, treehouse or other potentially dangerous or expensive assets, you should consider adding umbrella insurance to your policy for extra protection.

    Vacancy Clause – If you plan to live away from your home for any long period of time (think “snowbirding” down South during the cold winter months), you need to educate yourself on something called a vacancy clause in your homeowner’s insurance policy.  Say an appliance or electrical box in your home short-circuits while you’re gone for an extended time and causes a fire.  This is not only a safety concern, but also a big liability if you were knowingly not home to try and prevent or stop the accident from happening.  If an insurance company suspects you are not residing in your home for a long period of time and an incident would occur, they may terminate your home insurance and not cover such accidents.  To avoid this, you can elect to add a vacant home coverage option.

    Theft Insurance – If you’ve experienced theft in your home or vandalism of your personal property, your homeowner’s insurance will cover a limited amount of the damage.  Consider increasing your coverage limits for high-value items in your home.

    Ross Insurance Agency – Your Trusted Insurance Advisors

    Ross Insurance Agency, based in Lancaster, PA, is full of seasoned and licensed insurance agents who provide rapid turnaround for all of your insurance needs.  With access to more than 40 different insurance companies, we are committed to getting our clients the most affordable and reliable personal, business and a variety of other insurance coverage possible.  Ross Insurance Agency is licensed with many insurance companies, which allows for competitive pricing for our clients.

    Unlike other insurance agencies where customers are just numbers, Ross Insurance offers all of their customers a free Ross Review.  By doing so, we help you discover gaps or overlaps in your current coverage, as well as potential discounts.  Contact us today at (717) 397-4729 – we look forward to hearing from you soon!