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Frequently Asked Questions

Homeowners Insurance


+Does my policy pay for damage caused by a flood?
Flood damage is not covered by most homeowner policies. We can provide a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Program insurance company.
+How much Homeowners Insurance do I need?
You will need enough insurance to cover the cost to rebuild your home at current construction costs. This amount does not include the cost of the land and is not related to the price you paid for your home, current market value, tax value or loan amount. The cost of rebuilding your home could be more or less than the price you paid or could sell it for today due to the change in construction costs. We can assist you in determining how much it would cost to rebuild your home by completing a cost estimator. Below are some factors that are considered:
  • Local construction costs
  • The square footage of the structure
  • The type of exterior wall construction — frame, masonry (brick or stone) or veneer
  • The style of the house (ranch, colonial)
  • The number of bathrooms and other rooms
  • The type of roof and materials used
  • Other structures on the premises such as garages, sheds
  • Fireplaces, exterior trim and other special features like arched windows
  • Whether the house, or parts of it like the kitchen, was custom built
  • Improvement to your home — adding a second bathroom, enlarging the kitchen or other additions that have added value to your home
+Does my policy pay for seepage, dry rot, and vermin?
Generally, insurance policies exclude damage caused by seepage, dry rot, or vermin (animal pests). This is because these problems are usually the result of poor maintenance, not a "sudden and accidental" event.
+Why did the insurance company not renew my policy?
Insurance companies may cancel your policy if your property has deteriorated to a point that it no longer meets the company's underwriting standards. Insurance companies may also choose not to renew your policy if you have filed more claims than the average person. The average homeowner files a claim once every nine years.
+Do I need to add extra coverage to my Homeowners policy?
Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover a wide range of items but often they do not cover everything one has. This void in coverage is usually due to the policy owner assuming that every item they have will be covered and failed to let the insurance agent know of specialty items and specialty coverage they may need or be interested in. A homeowner can add extra coverage to their policy and should inquire with their insurance agent to do so. Some of the most common extra coverage is:
  • Fine Jewelry and Collectibles
  • Home Office Equipment and Home Businesses
  • Identity Theft
  • Excess Liability (Umbrella)
  • Flood
+Does my insurance pay to replace everything I lose?
Most homeowner policies have "dollar limits" on certain types of belongings. Generally, these limits are on silverware, guns, jewelry, watches, furs, and computers. The limits usually cover losses of the average person. Talk to your agent or insurance company about increasing these limits to meet your individual needs.
+How important is price when buying Homeowners Insurance?
When shopping for a homeowner’s insurance policy you may not end up with the best coverage if you only shop by comparing prices and not by comparing coverage. Your home is one of the most important purchases you will make. Take the time to understand your insurance before you purchase it. It is one of the best decisions you make for yourself and your family.
+Do I really need to read and understand my insurance policy?
Yes, you need to read your policy and your renewal declarations carefully. Whenever you are unclear about your policy, you need to contact your agent, broker, or company and ask them to assist you in clarifying the information. Don't wait until after a loss to realize that you did not have the right coverage.
+Will I be able to completely rebuild my house with insurance proceeds if it is destroyed?
The main determining factor is whether your policy is a replacement cost value policy or actual cash value policy.

If you have an actual cash value policy, it will not. Actual cash value is also known as the fair market value. Fair market value is basically the amount that a buyer would pay for your home and is normally an amount lower than the current cost to rebuild the home.

With a replacement cost policy, the chances that you will be able to completely rebuild your home are better. But, there are many types of replacement cost policies, so you need to be careful to purchase a replacement cost policy that best meets your needs. One example is a guaranteed replacement cost policy. This type of policy is the only one that will pay to completely rebuild your home. Other types of replacement cost policies will pay your policy limits, plus a certain percentage above those limits. Don't forget about building code upgrades coverage. Cities and counties periodically change their building codes. If you don't have this coverage, and you need to change the structure of your home to keep it current with building codes then your insurance company may not pay for changes.

+What is the difference between the replacement cost and the actual cash value of my property?
Replacement-cost coverage pays to replace your home and belongings with materials of "like kind and quality" at current prices. Actual cash-value policies reimburse the depreciated value.
+Should I insure my personal possessions?
Every homeowner should seriously consider this. What would it cost to replace the contents of your home with new items if everything was destroyed? Start adding up the costs of everything from home electronics to furniture to tools — you might be surprised at the total. Replacement coverage pays for the current cost of a comparable, new item. Without replacement coverage, you would only be reimbursed for the actual cash value of the used item.
+What is the best way to save money on Homeowners Insurance?
There are many ways to save with your homeowners insurance.
  1. Car/Home Discount: Insuring your car and home with the same company often will give you a package discount. This is a good tool to use when shopping around. Usually the agent can tell you what percent the discount is for insuring your car and home together.
  2. Deductible: In some cases it makes sense to raise your deductible for the savings it may generate.
  3. Home Security Systems: Special burglar alarms can prevent losses and therefore make your house less of an insurance risk. Most any type of security system will help give you a discount, but the type that directly responds to local police and fire departments are most likely going to give you the most discount.
  4. Dead Bolt Locks: Most agents will ask you this, but check again to make sure you are not losing a discount if you already have them. If you don't, it is well worth it. Dead bolt locks are very inexpensive compared to the possible insurance savings, but make sure all of your doors have them because usually the discount only applies if there are dead bolt locks on every door.
  5. Smoke Alarms: Preventing a fire loss is important to you and your insurance company. Claims due to fire are very expensive and insurance companies often will give an additional discount for even one fire alarm permanently fixed in the home. Please, even if your company does not offer a discount, take the time to install one anyway.
  6. Sprinkler System: While adding a sprinkler system (the fire suppression type not the lawn watering type) to a home may be costly, if you have considered it a discount is just another reason to do so. This would also be a something to consider if you are buying a new home or have plans to build or remodel.
  7. Non-Smoking Household: In looking for the most favorable types of customers, insurers look for those people who pose the least risk. Since a large percentage of accidental fires are caused by smoking, some insurance companies give a discount for non-smoking households. To qualify you would probably need to have a home in which you don't let anyone else smoke in the home in addition to the homeowners being non-smokers.
  8. EFT Payments: Many companies are now charging up to $5.00 or more for mail payments, but sometimes nothing if you choose to have payments automatically deducted from your bank account. Sometimes the deductions can come from your credit card, so you don't have to worry if the money will be in your bank account when payment time comes.
  9. Credit Rating: Most companies are checking your credit and basing some part of the cost of your policy on the strength of your credit rating. Make sure you check to see if your credit is in good shape, and if it is not, you may want to seek out companies who do not do credit checks.
  10. Additional Discounts: There are many additional discounts that may be available such as a reduced senior rate or being in a gated community or condominium. Make sure to sit down with your agent on a regular basis, preferably right before your policy renews, to see if there are any additional discounts available to you.

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