Home insurance 101

Insurance Assistance


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Home insurance is a necessity. It protects your home and reimburses any repair expenses cased by damage. Policy rates are determined by the insurer's risk that you will file a claim; this risk is assessed based on your past claim history and location.

What a Homeowner's Policy Covers

However the coverage varies greatly, it typically has some typical elements.

Damage to the Interior or Exterior of Your House
If extreme weather conditions damage your home, your insurer will compensate you for any repairs for covered damage.

Personal Liability for Damage or Injuries
Liability coverage compensates you for any lawsuits filed by others. For example, if your dog bites your neighbor, your insurer will pay their medical expenses.

Hotel or House Rental
It's very rare, but if you are forced to move out of your home for a time it is getting repaired, your insurer will refund you for the rent or hotel room, and restaurant meal.

There are three basic levels of coverage

Actual cash value = the cost of your house + the value of your belongings - depreciation (i.e., how much the items are currently worth, it is different from what you paid for them).

Replacement value policies = the actual cash value of your home and possessions (without the deduction for depreciation). This allows you to repair or rebuild your home up to the original value.

Guaranteed (or extended) replacement cost/value policy pays for whatever it costs to repair or rebuild your home—even if it's more than your policy limit.

What does Homeowners Insurance not cover?

Some events are typically excluded from policies, such as natural disasters and acts of war.

How to choose the best Insurance Company

1. Compare statewide costs and insurers
Visit your state’s Department of Insurance website to learn the rating for each licensed home insurance company. Pay extra attention to any consumer complaints. Read through the reviews.

2. Current Policyholder Satisfaction
The easiest way is to ask your agent or a company representative about the insurer’s retention rate—that is, what percentage of policyholders renew each year. You can also read the reviews.

3. Look beyond price
The annual premium might often be the only thing that defines the choice, but don't look solely at price.

4. Get Multiple Quotes
Comparing is always important, and it especially is for home insurance since coverage needs can vary a lot.