At Western Mass Auto Insurance we offer many affordable options for your home or apartment insurance. Plus you can always combine this with your auto insurance and save even more money. Let’s talk about Homeowner’s insurance.
What is Homeowners Insurance?
Homeowners insurance compensates you for losses to your home and your possessions inside it. Homeowners insurance also protects you if you’re legally liable for someone’s injuries on your property, as well as from financial losses caused by storms, fire, theft and other events outlined in your policy.
Generally, a standard homeowners insurance policy protects you for the following:
- The physical structure of your home – your dwelling.
- Structures on your property (storage sheds, pools, boathouses, etc.)
- Your personal property and belongings inside your home, up to the specified limits on your policy
- Your liability or legal responsibility for any injuries and property damage you or your family members cause to other people
- Additional living expenses if a fire or other insured disaster leaves you temporarily unable to live in your home.
- Replacement cost for personal property
Before we discuss what homeowners insurance covers, it helps to have a basic understanding of what a homeowners insurance policy is. Like all insurance, it is designed to protect the insured (that’s you) from financial hardship. Specifically it protects you from losses to your home itself and the possessions inside.
In addition to covering damage to your own property, it also includes liability protection in case you or a family member damages someone else’s property.
Is Homeowners Insurance Required?
If you own a home, you need to have homeowner’s insurance coverage. If you do not purchase it on your own then your mortgage company will purchase it for you. This isn’t the best option as you can get lower prices if you shop around yourself. Unlike auto insurance, there is no legal requirement to have house insurance.
If you’re one of the few people who buy a home outright, or you’ve already paid off your mortgage, there is technically no requirement for you to insure your home. Still, unless you’re willing to bear all the risk in the event something happens to your home, it’s really something you should have. Though it’s unlikely, consider what would happen if, for example, your home was burned to the ground. Would you be able to afford to rebuild? Can you afford to replace your belongings? Even if you don’t have a mortgage, homeowners insurance is definitely a smart investment.
What Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover?
Homeowner’s insurance has several parts to it:
- Part A covers the dwelling itself.
- Part B will cover detached buildings like a tool shed, up to a specified percentage of the total insurance, typically 10 percent.
- Part C covers your personal belongings, typically up to between 50 and 70 percent of the total insurance on the dwelling.
- Part D is coverage for additional living expenses. This would cover living expenses when you need to live away from home while your house is being rebuilt.
- Part E is your liability protection
Your Personal Property
If you’re like a lot of people, you’d be surprised at just how much stuff you have inside your home. There are the obvious things like furniture, appliances, electronics, clothing and jewelry, not to mention all the stuff stored in your attic that you’ve forgotten about. Losing all this stuff can be quite costly without good insurance coverage, so it’s good to know that your homeowner’s policy includes replacement cost coverage for personal items.
The amount of personal property coverage should be equal to the value of all personal property in your home. You will want to take a detailed inventory of what you own and what it’s worth, and talk to your insurance agent to discuss what is right for you. Take pictures, take videos and keep all receipts. Remember, if you have a claim you would have to convince someone you do not know exactly what you lost – so have detailed records available – off premises or stored in a safe (fire proof).
Another important thing to be aware of is that, if you own any valuable items like jewelry or collectibles, they may not be fully covered. Your agent can help you decide whether you should add a rider to your policy to cover the more valuable items. You can “schedule” your most valuable items.
Personal liability is another important part to a home insurance policy. If you ever have a guest who is injured on your property, you may be liable for their medical expenses. Liability coverage is intended to help with these expenses, and can also help with legal expenses if you are sued. In addition, this part covers injuries and damage to other people’s property that is caused by you or a family member.
Additional Living Expenses
If your home burns down or some other covered event happens where you can no longer live in your home, this part would cover your expenses while your home is being repaired – expenses for a place to stay as well as food and other living expenses.
What Kind of Events are Covered
Hurricanes, lightning, and hail – these types of storm damage that will be covered by a typical homeowners policy subject to your chosen deductible.
- Damage from water and ice
In a serious storm, ice damage can be severe. As a general rule your homeowner’s policy will cover damage from ice and hail. When it comes to water damage, not all types will be covered, and this will vary with different home insurance companies and different policies. It is important to review your policy with your agent and familiarize yourself with what’s covered and what’s not covered.
- Lightning and power surges
In most cases your policy would cover fire or smoke damage if your home is hit by lightning. If lightning causes a power surge that damages your electronics, this may or may not be covered, so once again look at your policy to be sure.
- Wind and fallen trees
Strong wind can rip shingles from your roof and blow over trees, especially when combined with heavy rain. Wind damage to your home and outbuildings is generally covered. If a tree falls on your house due to a storm, the damage is also usually covered by homeowners policies.
Hail is also capable of inflicting quite a bit of damage to your home, and this is typically covered by your policy.
Fire and Smoke Damage
Home fires can be devastating, not just to the structure itself, but to your belongings inside the home as well. Damage to your home due to fire and smoke would be covered, and it’s very likely that your policy will include replacement cost coverage for your personal belongings.
Being robbed is a scary experience to go through. A homeowner’s policy does include coverage for theft. There are limits to be aware of, so be sure to read the next section on personal property to help determine if you have the coverage you need.
What is Not Covered by Homeowners Insurance?
A few of the things that homeowners insurance doesn’t cover.
Homeowners policies don’t cover earthquakes.
It was mentioned earlier that not all water damage is covered by home insurance. Floods are an example of when you would not be covered.
Your personal items are covered, of course, and that includes the high dollar items like art, collectibles, and jewelry. However, there are limits on how much your insurer will pay for each item. If you have valuable items like these, you should talk to your insurance agent about adding a rider that will cover the full value.
Tips on Buying the Right Homeowners Insurance
While you’ll have no problem finding many home insurance companies, not all will provide the same coverage for the same price. You should definitely shop around. But focus on more than just the price. Be sure you get with a reputable agent and a reputable insurance company – most of the time these two go together.
When choosing homeowners insurance, you want excellent coverage for a price that fits your budget. However, be careful that you don’t make your selection based solely on the lowest quote. It might end up that the best homeowners insurance policy is the cheapest but not always. Instead, you want to make sure the policy you buy has the right coverage for your specific situation.
- Dwelling – It is important to understand that part of the homeowners insurance you buy will cover the dwelling. That includes the house, as well as anything attached such as a screened-in porch, garage, and so on.
- Personal Property – There is also the personal property aspect of home insurance to consider. Be sure to get “replacement cost coverage” that way you will get new items instead of a check for the depreciated value of your items. You will also need to get additional coverage for things like expensive artwork, firearms, and jewelry.
- Liability – Also a very important part of the homeowners insurance cost is liability protection. This includes legal fees and medical expenses if someone decides to sue you or sustains an injury while on your property.
Save Money on Your Homeowners Insurance
An excellent way to reduce the cost of your homeowners insurance is by having the same company handle your policy for your automobile and your home or apartment – this is called bundling. The more things you have with a single insurance provider, the more you’ll save. Make sure the company applies all the discounts that you qualify for as well. For instance, you will spend even less on home insurance if you have an alarm system and working smoke detectors.
Some companies take into account a person’s credit score to help determine their price. To help save on home insurance, make sure you have a good FICO score. The higher it is, the lower the interest rate on your mortgage loan and the lower premium on a home insurance policy.
In addition to getting the right home insurance you may also want to consider getting mortgage insurance.
How to Get a Quote for Homeowners Insurance
You will need this information to get a quote on your homeowners policy:
- Closing date
- Your name and date of birth plus that of any one else who will be on the deed
- Year home was built
- Square footage
- Home address
- Condition of homw
- Age of roof
- Any updates? Electrical, heating, plumbing?
- Type of heat?
A good agent will be able to get you a quote within the same day. Be sure to contact Western Mass Auto Insurance for your free quote.
Replacement Cost vs. Market Value of Home: What’s the Difference?
As you get your quotes for home insurance you will notice that the total coverage you will receive (Part A) will be considerably higher than the price you paid for the home or its current value. This represents the “replacement cost” of your home. It reflects how much in today’s dollars it would cost to rebuild your home as it is now, in case it burns to the ground (including debris removal). Versus the actual “market value” of your home – or what you can sell your home for. The replacement cost will always be higher.
Getting homeowner’s insurance is really about protecting yourself financially if something unexpected happens to your home, which is likely to be one of your largest and most precious investments. Having a good homeowner’s insurance policy provides you coverage in cases such as:
- If your home is damaged or destroyed by fire or a natural distaster, you’d need money to repair or replace it
- If a guest sustains an injury in your home, medical coverage and liability insurancewill help pay their expenses
- If you’re a victim of vandalism or theft, it can pay for repair or reimburse you for your loss
- If you’re still paying for your home, your creditor will require insurance
If you’re looking to lower your Massachusetts home insurance rate, or if you’ve recently become a proud owner of a new house or apartment and are looking for a new homeowner’s insurance quote, you’re in exactly the right place!
Here at Western Mass Auto Insurance, we’re committed to making the process of buying home and apartment insurance policy smoother and easier for our clients in Western Mass. Our home and apartment insurance quotes are always free and we’ll get you insured quickly and affordably. Our insurance agents are experts at figuring out ways to trim your insurance rate without sacrificing coverage and always strive to ensure that our clients receive all the discounts they deserve.
We will carefully assess your needs and requirements before providing you with a wide selection of homeowner’s insurance quotes from a multitude of the nation’s leading insurance carriers. The options we provide are tailored to suit your budget and needs. Why settle for cheap insurance when you can have the best coverage for the lowest price?
Furthermore, we can also you find the right renter’s insurance policy. You can’t rely on your landlord’s insurance to cover your valuables as it only covers the building structure and not your personal property.
We work with the top insurance companies in Massachusetts, and serve a multitude of areas in the state, including:
- Indian Orchard
- Wilbraham Area
- Palmer Area
- South Hadley
If you’re currently in the market for a home or apartment complex insurance policy in Western Massachusetts, stop by at our conveniently located offices in Springfield and Indian Orchard, or get in touch with us online for a free quote.
Get Your Free Home or Apartment Insurance Quote Today
Western Mass Auto Insurance makes it easy to get affordable home and apartment insurance. Quotes are available over the phone at (413) 543-3800 for Indian Orchard or (413) 781-3800 for Forest Park area. You can also stop by one of our two conveniently located offices where an insurance representative can assist you. Talk soon!