Searching for a home can be a fun, exciting, stressful experience. It’s not something to be taken lightly. For a lot of people, it is their largest purchase. Protecting your home shouldn’t be discounted. Since home insurance can be cumbersome and complex, we created a starting point for you. A 101 guide to homeowners insurance.
Platte City Homeowners Insurance 101
I imagine stuffed away in a drawer is a bunch of important papers. One of the packets is your homeowners insurance policy. If you open it up, one of the first few pages will have several numbers neatly organized. This is referred to as your Declarations Page (Dec Page for short).
A Dec Page is a summary of coverage you have on your home and belongings.
Below are the 5 coverage’s every homeowner needs to understand. This is a starting point. Depending on the type of policy you have, you may have additional coverage for things like an earthquake or if your sewer drains back up. This post focuses on the basics. Homeowners insurance 101.
This is the structure of your home along with everything permanently fastened down.
From the walls, to your kitchen cabinets, to your toilet. These are attached to your home.
How much will it cost to repair or replace your home in today’s market?
Do you have a detached garage? Maybe a shed in your backyard? Or possibly a privacy fence and/or gazebo?
Detached buildings or structures would be covered under Other Structures.
Typically, an insurance company will automatically include 10% of what you insure your home for under Other Structures. For example, if you insure your home for $200,000. You will automatically have $20,000 to protect structures not attached to your home.
Double check that you have enough coverage for those structures separate from your home. You can always increase coverage if necessary.
Personal Property, also known as contents is all of your clothes, furniture, electronics, dishes, etc.
Appliances that are not fastened down would fall under Personal Property.
Personal Property coverage will extend to items in your outbuildings located on your property. This means if you have tools and a lawn mower in a garage separate from your home, they’re covered under Personal Property.
Note: Your car and truck parked in the detached garage are covered under your auto insurance. Not your home insurance.
Loss of Use
Where would you live if you suffered a loss and your home was unlivable?
Would you stay in a hotel or rent an apartment?
Maybe you could move-in with your in-laws?
Loss of Use helps you pay for additional expenses like living in a hotel for a few months or going out to eat at restaurants while you don’t have a kitchen.
Your dog bites the painter working next door.
A guest trips on your sidewalk.
Your kids are playing paintball in the backyard when one of their friends get hit in the eye.
What do these have in common?
Your Personal Liability.
Personal liability will protect you and your family in the event you are held responsible for causing bodily injury or property damage to others.
Your insurance company will defend you in a lawsuit and pay for damages if necessary, up to your limits.
Most homeowners insurance policies in Missouri start at $100,000 in coverage. You can (and should strongly consider) raise your limits of liability. You may even consider carrying a Personal Liability Umbrella for additional protection.
Medical Payments is designed to pay for guests who are accidentally injured on your property. The difference between Medical Payments and Personal Liability may not always be clearcut, but here is an example…
Medical Payments: Sally falls down your stairs and breaks her ankle. Her fall was no fault to you. Your policy could pay up to the Medical Payments limit.
Personal Liability: Sally falls down your stairs, breaking her ankle. If you would have fixed the handrail she wouldn’t have fell down the stairs.
Homeowners Insurance Deductible
Over the weekend you experience a kitchen fire. The adjuster says it will cost $30,000 to get your kitchen back in order. You have a $1,500 Deductible. This means you will be responsible for the first $1,500. The insurance company will pay for the remainder of the damage.
I can’t stress enough, you need to be comfortable with your Deductible. You can choose a high Deductible, which can lower your premium a bit. A lower Deductible will increase your premium. Your Deductible should be something you can have readily available if the sudden and unexpected happens.
Where to Go From Here?
Your home is your castle. A resting place. A safe haven.
It’s the place where you grill out with family and friends.
The place you raise your children. Make memories. Lay your head at night. Protecting you from the harsh Missouri winters. Don’t take it lightly.
You may not take the time to read the entire stack of papers you receive from your insurance company. However, it is important for you to know and understand the numbers on your Declarations Page.
We’re not talking about some ordinary house.
This is your home.
Be proud of it!
Are you still feeling uncertain? Send us a message or stop by our home. We love guests.