5 Questions to Ask Home Insurance AgentPosted on Mar 25, 2022
Before shopping for home insurance, you need to know the factors that can help you get the insurance that matches your needs.
Ask your insurance agent the following questions to determine the type of insurance, the coverage, and the insurance details that can help you choose the right home insurance policy.
1. What is the coverage provided by my home insurance policy, and are there any exclusions?
The coverage provided by your home insurance policy can depend on your home type, i.e. (a condo, an apartment, or a single-family house), the place where you live, etc.
Generally, home insurance policies provide the following coverages:
- Dwelling property coverage: It includes the current property of your home, including other structures like garage, fence, shed, and driveway.
- Personal belongings coverage: It covers personal belongings kept inside the home. Unless additional coverage is purchased, coverage is limited for specific high-value properties, like jewelry or artwork. You need to be clear whether the policy would replace belongings at current market value or their actual replacement cost.
- Liability coverage: It covers expenses related to the physical injury suffered by someone at the premises, For example, when someone falls by slipping on ice on your property.
- Additional living expense coverage: expenses incurred when you are displaced from home. Eg-hotel and meal expenses.
- Weather-related events: Your policy might cover damage to your house resulting from windstorms or brush fires. It does not cover floods or earthquakes unless specifically added by endorsement or a separate policy.
2. How can I set my deductible?
A deductible is an amount you pay to manage a claim. It is the out-of-pocket expense you pay before the insurance steps in. For example, if your deductible is $1500, then if a claim is made, you need to pay the damages yourself to the limit of $1500.The insurance will pay when the damages exceed $1500.
Selecting a higher deductible can lower your insurance premium to a large degree. Still, if your property gets damaged, you might have to spend more on the repairs.
You need to discuss with your insurance agent and find a deductible that meets your needs.
3. What are my policy limits?
Policy limits are the maximum amount the home insurance company will pay in case of damage to your property or belongings.
Suppose your policy has a $500,000 property damage limit. This means your insurer will pay up the maximum of $500,000 for damage to your property after the deductible is met.
You need to evaluate your property, including the personal belongings covered under the insurance. Ask your insurance agent for a choice of the policy limits available under the policy.
Some policy limits are:
- The aggregate limits: The insurance company pays a lump sum to settle your claims. Any damages exceeding the aggregate limit will not be reimbursed.
- Sub-limits: Your insurance policy can have sub-limits. They are limits for extra items within your policy, like jewelry.
- Limits of Liability: Some insurance companies will have a disclaimer in their policy to pay out claims only on certain occurrences and conditions.
Your insurance agent will guide you in getting the policy limit that will benefit you the most.
4. Do I have enough home insurance coverage?
Before buying home insurance, you need to know how much insurance is required for your property. It is essential to know your ideal coverage as too much insurance will lead to a higher premium rate, and too little will not give you adequate protection in times of crisis.
Technically, you must have enough insurance to cover the expenses:
- To rebuild your home in case of destruction;
- To replace your belongings;
- To protect you against claims for an injury that happens within your property;
- To cover living expenses if you are displaced from your residence.
Discussing your home insurance needs with your insurance agent would help you get the right coverage to protect your property in the event of a loss.
5. What steps should I take to file a home insurance claim, and when can I expect to be reimbursed?
Every insurance company has its own unique filing process for a home insurance claim. It makes sense to ask your home insurance agent about the steps you need to take to file a claim. Also, you can find out how long it will take to get reimbursed after the claim has been filed with the insurance company.
Some of the steps that are common for filing a home insurance claim are:
- File a police report or a record of the damage.
- Inform the insurance company and fill out the claim forms.
- Provide documents to determine the value of the damaged property.
- Prepare repair or rebuild estimates from a contractor.
Once the claim is approved and the settlement amount is agreed on, you can receive payment.
A home may be your most significant investment. Getting home insurance that is right for you will safeguard your house and enjoy your ownership.