What Should I Know About Homeowners Insurance?

Home insurance protects property and possessions in case of damage, loss, or liability.

Did you know that before you apply for a mortgage, you must prove you have homeowners insurance? If you don’t, the mortgage lender won’t approve your loan.

You can buy homeowners insurance through an insurance agency. The insurance can be added to your mortgage escrow account. Once you sign up, you pay your premiums as part of your monthly mortgage payments.

Or, you can buy a policy from an insurance company and pay them without using the escrow account.

How Much Does It Cost?

The average cost of homeowners insurance corresponds to median home values.

In West Virginia, the median home value is $99,700, and the average homeowner’s policy is $348.95. If you purchase a higher priced home, expect to pay more for your insurance.

All insurance providers evaluate risks to determine how much to charge. Along with your home’s value, the following factors influence the price:

Location

Location matters. Areas with dense population or high crime rates cost more. Homes at risk for hurricanes or tornadoes have higher premiums.

If you live in an area known to have floods, earthquakes, or mudslides, you’ll need a separate policy for those.

Age of Home and Roof

Homes under 10 years old cost less to insure. Some providers give credits for impact-resistant roofing materials. A newer electrical system lowers the price.

Contents

One of the typical home insurance benefits is protection for the contents of your home. Coverage starts at $100,000.

If you have valuable jewelry, electronics, artwork, or antiques increase your contents coverage. Higher coverage increases the cost of the policy.

Credit Score

That’s right. Your credit score influences your home insurance policy. The better your score, the lower your premium.

Insurers examine your claims history too. If you don’t have any claims for the past 10 years, you can save up to 20 percent.

Discounts

Providers give discounts to homeowners when the risk of claims is reduced. Smoke detectors can get a 5 percent discount. Earn a 15 percent discount with an alarm system.

You can lower insurance premiums by bundling your home and auto insurance. This involves buying both types of insurance from the same provider.

Another way to reduce premiums is to set a high deductible. The deductible is the amount you pay for a claim before the insurance policy kicks in. If you agree to pay more, the insurer will lower your monthly premium.

While cost is a major factor, it shouldn’t be the only concern when weighing home insurance benefits.

Keep reading to learn the benefits of homeowners insurance.

Six Home Insurance Benefits

Homeowners policies generally cover the home, garage, and other structures on the property.

1. Protection against Property Loss

A homeowner policy protects your house against destruction or loss caused by fire, vandalism, lightning, and more.

This includes damage to the home, fences, garage, sheds, and other structures on the property. Damage to the interior of the home is also provided.

If your house is damaged, your policy will help pay for repair and replacement. You don’t have to cover the entire cost.

Make sure your policy uses a replacement cost basis for payout rather than an actual cash value basis. This guarantees the best financial protection.

Earthquakes and floods require separate policies for coverage. Ask your agent for more information.

Any destruction caused on purpose by the homeowner isn’t covered.

2. Safeguard Personal Belongings

Personal possessions inside the home are covered. This includes furniture, clothing, and appliances.

If your belongings are destroyed or stolen, the policy will reimburse you for the value of your items.

Your stuff is protected whether it’s in your home, car, storage unit, or with you at work.

3. Liability Protection

Liability insurance is standard on most policies. It offers protection if you’re found responsible for damaging someone’s property or causing an injury.

If someone is injured on your property and a lawsuit arises, the policy will cover it. Liability coverage extends to accidents away from home.

Legal or medical fees and lost wages if you’re out of work are covered. It can help provide legal defense fees and pay damages up to your policy’s coverage limit.

4. Additional Living Expenses

If a fire or severe storm damages your home so it’s uninhabitable, your policy can help with temporary living expenses.

The policy only pays reasonable expenses. If you live in a two-bedroom home, the policy won’t pay for you to stay in a home that’s three times larger.

While electric, gas, and water aren’t covered, these expenses are:

  • Rent for temporary housing
  • Laundry and dry cleaning
  • Food
  • Furniture
  • Pet boarding
  • Storage space
  • Internet/cable connection setup fees

Save all your receipts and record expenses so you’re reimbursed.

5. Unique Provisions

Did you know your policy could cover dog bites? Liability coverage through your homeowner’s policy may include dog bite protection.

That’s a bigger deal than it seems. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average dog bite claim is about $26,000.

Another provision covers restocking a refrigerator after a power loss. If you threw away spoiled food due to a power outage, your policy may pay up to $500 for food.

Your policy may even cover the cost to bring your house up to code.

Let’s say a fire destroys your kitchen and spreads to other rooms in your home. Your insurance policy could cover new law mandates as well as the cost of damages. For example, if you’re required by code law to add water sprinklers.

6. Coverage for Family Members Away from Home

If you have a college student, their belongings are covered under the personal property clause.

It doesn’t matter how far away your student is, as long as he resides in on-campus housing. If he moves off-campus, he’s no longer covered. He’ll need to get his own renter’s insurance policy.

Knowing all your home insurance benefits will give you financial peace of mind.

Get Homeowners Insurance Benefits Now

Looking for a reliable homeowners policy in West Virginia? Get a free insurance quote from Yeager Insurance and Financial Services.

Yeager Insurance offers plenty of options so you can build a policy that best suits your needs.

Contact us today. We’re ready to help!