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Homeowners Insurance Coverage Needs: How To Determine Them

January 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Finance

For first time homeowners or for those who have never really taken a serious look at their Homeowners insurance, determining what Homeowners insurance coverage you need can be a trying time. One of the most important tips to keep in mind when determining what type and how much Homeowners insurance you need is to make this determination before you get started talking with an insurance agent.

It is extremely easy to get sucked into buying extra insurance that you will never use by a sly talking agent on the phone. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take an insurance agent’s advice at all, but just be certain of a ballpark figure for the type of coverage and the amount of coverage you need and want before you get started.

One of the first questions an insurance agent will ask is the value of the home being purchased. This simply means the basic exterior and interior value of the home as it is when you purchase it, without belongings. Remember that an insurance agent should ask specific questions regarding the exterior of the house, such as whether it is brick, vinyl siding, wood or a mixture, as well as questions regarding a porch, deck or sunroom.

Insurance agents should also be asking specific questions regarding the basic appliances on the interior of the house, and will want to know how old the plumbing and electric system are, the air conditioning and heating unit, the appliances and will even ask questions about whether you have expensive countertops or flooring, such as granite or marble.

Keep in mind that while you purchased the home for a certain price, say $100,000, the Homeowners insurance company may want to allot payments for the structure of the house to be anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000 over the current appraisal and market value of the house, to deal with inflation. It is up to you to decide if you want to agree to these terms, but remember that the price of repairing these items in the home will increase over the years, and you don’t want to be left with not enough money from the insurance company to cover full replacement of your home at any given time.

If you have purchased a home that will soon be remodeled or reconstructed, you may want to go ahead and add a considerable amount to this portion of the insurance coverage, that way if anything happens in the process of remodeling or as soon as the home is remodeled the total cost of remodeling will be covered without a problem. Of course you can always wait until the remodeling is completed to call and get a new price quote, but it is best to have the insurance set in place prior to the completion of the remodeling.

The second major factor that should be considered in determining the amount of Homeowners coverage needed is the interior value of the goods in the home. This is a difficult task for some people who have not kept good receipts of purchases and that makes it easy for insurance agents to suggest more coverage than needed in the interior goods department.

Before calling for price quotes, it is best to sit down and try to briefly itemize the major purchases in your home, including furniture, large appliances, and electronics. Many basic interior coverage plans do not cover certain electronics such as computer systems or laptops, so be sure to ask about laptop or computer coverage if this is an item you have in your home. As well, some insurance policies will cover jewelry but others will require a separate “special” interior Homeowners policy, although adding this on would only cost approximately $30-$80 a year for most jewelry owners.

The final determination for how much coverage needed should be location. It is extremely important to consider whether you will need hurricane insurance, flood insurance, wind and hail damage insurance, or even tornado insurance.

Bear in mind that even if you live in a hurricane zone, you may also be required to purchase separate flood or wind insurance, in case your home floods or the windows blow out from the storm. The same goes for tornado or earthquake insurance, as you may be required to have separate amenities added to the policy to cover wind damage or even flooding.

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