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Does Your Home Insurance Policy Provide Adequate Protection?
There are many home insurance providers, and each of them will present you with a policy proposal outlining the kind of coverage you will get and the corresponding fees. However, before you sign on the dotted line, it’s important to really understand what you’re paying for—and whether or not you’re fully protected against the risks that you’re most concerned about. Here are some things to look at.
The typical home insurance plan is divided into two parts: property protection, and liability protection. This will be further categorized into the dwelling, other structures, personal property and loss of use.
The dwelling is the house proper, and all of its fixtures and structures. This includes heating, electrical wiring, plumbing, even the built-in appliances. Other structures are not connected to the house proper but are still within the property boundaries, such as garages, sheds, driveways, and walls and fences. However, a personal home insurance policy will not cover additions you made for business reasons, such as a store or even a room you converted into a home office.
Personal property basically refers to your belongings, the contents of your home that may be of value to you. This can be actual objects like artwork or antiques, jewelry or currency, and even electronic data that has a certain value. However, you should check what kind of items are covered in your basic personal property coverage. In some cases, very valuable items such as antique coins or personal heirlooms, or very expensive jewelry, exceed the limits in an average homeowners policy. Depending on the kind of assets you plan to keep in your house, you should make the proper adjustments—although in general, it is best to keep these items in a bank’s safety deposit vault.
Loss of use is when you are unable to use your home, and incur living expenses while looking for alternative housing.
Some policies will give additional coverage, though this can affect your overall cost. For example, you may want the policy to cover the cost of removing any debris if there is damage to the property because of a storm (important if you live in a country or state where you are at constant risk from weather hazards). Other policies will also guarantee the cost of replacing any structure that was destroyed. Theft coverage will protect you in case of burglary, and can be extended to include whatever objects you had in your car or trailer at the time of the incident. Personal property protection can even minimize your risk form credit card fraud, in case your credit card was one of the items stolen.
Policy owners may also ask for an Inflation Guard, which will adjust the amount of insurance you receive every year to be able to keep up with the changes in real estate values caused by inflation. This means that even 10, or 15 years down the road, you will receive the adequate coverage to actually replace your home in case of a severe accident.
About the Author: Philip Nicosia is the webmaster of Resources.eu.com an online resource centre covering many topics including home insurance.