Finding Your Way Home with Homeowners Insurance

Tue 24 January 2017

Your home is likely the biggest asset you’ll ever own. Insuring your home adequately is essential. Every homeowner’s policy is divided into six parts,
each with its own coverage limits (see Chapter 9). 

I introduce you to six different homeowner’s forms as well — four forms designed for homeowners in,
one form for renters, and one form for condominium or town house owners.
I show you how to choose the proper coverages for your building, contents
and personal liability.
But homeowner’s insurance isn’t just about insuring the house itself — it’s also about insuring your property inside the house. Many different exclusions
and limitations apply to personal property. 
For example, jewelry has a dollar limit for theft, as well as the exclusion for loss of the stone from the setting. Jewelry is also very difficult to value after the loss. 
Scheduling jewelry specifically by having it appraised and added to the policy is the insurance
industry recommendation for this type of risk — but it’s not the best solution for an antique piece with huge sentimental value, which you have
no intention of replacing. 
If cash won’t make you whole, I don’t recommend
scheduling these kinds of jewelry. In this case, you’re far better off putting your special item in a safe deposit box and preventing the loss from happening
in the first place. 
In Chapter 10, I give you the information you need to
prevent this type of exclusion and others from hurting you.
Chapter 11 is all about many of the exclusions and limitations in a homeowner’s policy and ways to work around them. For example, a homeowner’s
policy contains an absolute business exclusion, which means that if you frequently work from home and occasionally have UPS deliver a businessrelated
package to your home, and if that delivery person slips on your icy driveway, is injured, and sues you, your homeowner’s policy will not defend you, nor will it pay any judgment against you. 
Why? Because the injury was business-related. But you don’t have to live with this gap: The solution to this particular problem is to add a $20-per-year endorsement to the policy that covers that type of claim.
Chapter 11 also covers flood insurance and whether you’re a candidate for it. 
Here’s a hint: You probably are — even if you don’t live anywhere near a body of water; but you’re probably not if your lower-level floor is below
ground level on all four sides.
Condominium and town house owners have special insurance needs and have a homeowner’s policy form created just for those needs. If you buy the standard condominium unit owner policy off the shelf with no customization and no special endorsements, odds are, if you have any kind of claim, you’ll be sorely disappointed. 
In Chapter 12, I alert you to what the pitfalls are and
give you my recommendations on how to circumvent each of them so you don’t get hurt. 
If you own a town house or condominium — or even a vacation timeshare — you’ll benefit greatly from Chapter 12.
If you have a home-based business, you need to deal with many risks — both property and liability risks. 
In Chapter 13, I fill you in on these risks and tell
you how to get the insurance you need as a business owner. (Hint: It’s generally not to buy an endorsement to your homeowner’s policy. Even the best of these business endorsements are too restrictive, particularly when it comes to liability off premises.)
I wrap up the part on homeowner’s insurance with tips on collecting what you deserve for homeowner’s claims. I give you the steps to take to get a great structural claim settlement. And if you have a personal property loss, you’ll benefit from my tips for getting paid top dollar for your claim.

By Jerrell Hodson, Category: misc