Homeowners insurance provides coverage on your home after events like fire, theft, a falling tree, and damage caused by storms including wind, hail, and lighting.
Most standard homeowners’ policies also cover items in the home including furniture and clothing.
Items like jewelry and artwork are not always covered under a standard homeowner’s policy. Therefore, it is especially important to fully understand each policy and what is covered before you choose which option is best for you.
Here at Patriot Insurance Brokers, we pride ourselves on helping you find the right policy for the best rate. We represent many different homeowners’ insurance companies making it easy for us to help find which one is right for you!
Is Homeowners Insurance Required?
Homeowners insurance is not technically required by law, but it is often required by a lender if you are financing your home to protect their investment.
Even if your home is paid off it is still a good idea to have homeowners’ insurance in case of catastrophic damage to your home or personal belongings. A policy is much cheaper than to repair, replace or rebuild major damages out of pocket.
The Main Types of Home Insurance
It is important to go with a policy that you feel protects your home and everything that comes with it. There are two main types of homeowners insurance: actual cash value and replacement cost policy.
Actual Cash Value
An actual cash value policy takes into consideration things like depreciation and inflation. Meaning if the appliances in a home are all 15 years old, they would be paid at a percentage of their original cost.
Another example would be in the event of a house fire resulting in a “total loss” you would be left with insufficient funding to rebuild a comparable house. Inflation and rapidly increasing material costs would cause the insurance company to only pay a percentage of what it originally cost to build the home.
Replacement Cost Policy
A replacement cost policy is a policy that does not account for inflation or depreciation. This means if something is damaged or destroyed, the insurance company will replace the items with new comparable ones without accounting for depreciation and inflation.
Specific Types of Home Insurance Coverage
This is the most basic and limited type of policy for a single-family dwelling (not very common).
Slight upgrade from the HO-1
The most common type of homeowners insurance policy, with broader coverage than an HO-2.
An HO-3 policy is written on an open-perils basis for your home and other structures, which means it can cover any risks except for those specifically outlined in the policy.
Renters insurance. This covers personal belongings but not the dwelling itself.
The most comprehensive form of homeowners insurance and the second most common policy type for single-family dwellings.
This type of policy is specifically designed for condo owners.
This type of policy is for mobile and manufactured homes.
A special type of policy for older homes that do not meet insurer standards for other policy forms.
How Much Does Homeowners Insurance Cost?
The big question everyone is thinking about right now is, “what is this going to cost me?” The truth is this can vary widely depending on things like the area you live in, size, estimated value, age, and condition of your home.
A smaller home will generally cost less to insure than a big one because it requires less labor and material to build. It is also common for newer homes to cost less than older ones because less problems are expected to occur.
Although every home is different, Minnesotans pay around $1600 a year on average in homeowners’ insurance with $250,000 in dwelling coverage.
There are also ways to decrease your rates including deadbolts, fire alarms, security systems. High risk items are things like trampolines, swimming pools, and ponds will increase your rates in most cases.
These high-risk items as well as other things make it particularly important to have good personal liability coverage.
The personal liability coverage within your homeowner’s policy provides coverage to pay for property damage or bodily injury that took place on your property for which you or other members of your household are legally responsible.
What Does Homeowners Insurance Not Cover?
Typically, this varies from company to company and the type of policy you went with. There are a few things that most companies do not cover in a standard homeowner’s policy:
Flood damage is often excluded from standard homeowners’ policies. Although a few companies offer it as an endorsement, most of the time it needs to be purchased as a separate flood insurance policy.
Earthquakes are another type of damage that is not typically covered in a standard homeowner’s policy; however, it is common for companies to offer separate earthquake insurance policies for purchase unless you live in a high-risk area.
The policy that you choose may or may not provide you with sufficient funds to rebuild or repair your property depending on the type of policy and coverage limit on the policy.
The coverage limit is the maximum amount that the insurance company would provide you with after turning in a claim.
For example, say your home that was worth $300,000 just burned down but the policy you purchased had a coverage limit was $250,000, you would only be given up to $250,000 to rebuild your home.
This is why it is important to follow the basic rule that you should have sufficient coverage to repair and replace your home and everything in it in the event of a “total loss”.
Filing a Home Insurance Claim
When should you file a claim?
- If the cost of repairs exceeds your deductible
- There is significant damage or total loss
- It is your first claim in a few years
- If the damage was unavoidable or unintentional
In the unfortunate event that you need to file a claim, Patriot Insurance Brokers makes the process as quick and painless as possible on your end.
Your first step is to pick up the phone and call your insurance agent. After speaking with your agent about the situation and letting them know you will be turning in a claim, next fill out any necessary forms.
The third step will be taking videos and pictures of the damage and then making temporary repairs if necessary. After this an insurance adjuster will come out to assess the damage.
It is important to have an inventory list of everything that was damaged for the adjuster as well as receipts of additional living expenses incurred because of the damage.
After the adjuster speaks with the insurance company, the company will contact you. Once you and the insurance company agree on the terms of the settlement, you should be paid accordingly.
Homeowners Insurance vs. Renters’ Insurance
Homeowners insurance is where the owner of the house purchases a policy that covers the buildings as well as what is inside.
Renters insurance is for tenants of a property to protect their personal belongings that are contained in the space they are renting (it does not cover any structure or buildings). The landlord or property owner would be expected to insure the actual building.
Renters insurance protects personal belongings that are in the home or on the property. Renters insurance policies will reimburse a tenant for replacement costs of damaged or stolen items while on the property.
Here at Patriot Insurance Brokers, we represent a diverse array of both renters’ insurance providers as well as homeowners’ insurance providers. Let us assist you in finding the right policy for you, your family, and your home.
Finding the right policy
It can seem overwhelming trying to choose the right policy. There are so many homeowners’ insurance companies which often provide multiple policies. Just know you are not alone.
The first thing you should do is create a list of your property including home, outbuildings, appliances, furniture as well as anything else that might have value.
This helps us here at Patriot Insurance Brokers to compare companies, policies, and rates and find what is right for you. We are here to help, you can contact us by giving us a quick call at (888) 232-2583.
Remember, although it may be tempting, going with the cheapest quote may not always be the best option and in fact most of the time it is not.
Looking at reviews of a company’s customer service and paying out claims should also be taken into consideration. A lower premium also usually means less coverage. Do not let saving a few dollars a month cost you thousands in the future.
Finding the Right Agent
Our team here at Patriot Insurance Brokers is determined and dedicated to finding you the right plan. All our agents possess an extensive knowledge of home, auto, and health insurance.
Located in Elk River and Waite Park, we are here to help you with all your insurance needs.
Give us a call at (888) 232-2583 today to set up an appointment.