Home Insurance FAQs
Why Do I Need Homeowners Insurance?
If you have a mortgage on your home, your financing institution will require you to have home insurance. If you’ve paid off your home, home insurance will protect your finances if something happens and you need to repair or replace your home.
Will Homeowners Replace My Damaged Roof?
It depends. If your roof was damaged in a covered event, such as a hurricane or a falling tree, then most likely your roof repairs will be covered. However, if your roof is damaged because of neglect, then the answer is most likely no. Similarly, if a tree fell on your roof because the tree was rotten, your claim may also be denied.
Is There a Difference Between Dwelling and Home?
Yes. A dwelling is anywhere people can live. This can include apartments (which are typically rented) and homes, which may be rented or owned. Your home can certainly be considered a dwelling, but it’s also different because you may own your home and need to buy insurance to protect it. Dwelling coverage is one part of your home insurance policy and it pays for the repair and replacement of the actual structure.
How do Deductibles Work?
Your deductible is the amount you will pay when you file an approved claim before the insurance kicks in. The more you are willing to pay means the less your insurance company has to pay. A higher deductible can lead to a lower policy premium.
Am I Covered for Flooding?
Most standard insurance policies do not pay for damage caused by flooding. You may be able to purchase flood insurance coverage if you live in a flood zone from the National Flood Insurance Program. However, if your kitchen floods because a water pipe burst in the wall and this wasn’t caused by your negligence, you are most likely covered for repairs.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
It depends on your insurer and the state where you live. Most commonly, you have one year to file a claim. However, in some states, you may have longer. It’s always best to file promptly, in any case.
How Do I Submit a Homeowner’s Insurance Claim?
Today, most carriers offer the ability to file a claim online or through an app you have downloaded to your phone. Alternatively, you can call your insurer to file a claim. Keep in mind that you have a time limit to file a claim, so don’t delay. Document as best as you can any damage and loss with photos and video.
Always have a list, photos and receipts you can access from anywhere of your items and their worth. Keep track of any money you spend on alternative housing, food and other expenses if your home is damaged to the point where you cannot live in it.
What is the 80% Rule in Homeowners Insurance?
Many insurers require you to carry at least 80% of your home’s rebuild value in your policy. For example, if your home has a replacement cost of $500,000, you will be asked to carry at least $400,000 in coverage (80% of $500,000).
What Common Items are not Covered by Homeowners Insurance?
Any damage caused by homeowner negligence is typically not covered. For example, if your roof begins to leak and you haven’t performed the necessary required maintenance, your insurance company may deny your claim. The same is true for normal wear and tear. Most insurers will not cover damage from pests, such as termites. Things like wood rot that accumulates over time due to homeowner negligence may not be covered either. Performing necessary maintenance through the years will go a long way to avoiding damage, as well as helping you have a positive outcome if you do need to file a claim.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?
In most cases, the answer is no. Mold is considered evidence the homeowner has not performed their due diligence on preventive home maintenance.
Does Homeowners Insurance Include Liability Coverage for Guests?
Most home insurance policies include liability coverage if a visitor is injured while on the property and it is the homeowner’s fault. This also extends to some protection if the homeowner has caused harm to someone else’s property. However, if the person injured or experiencing a loss of property is a paying guest then no, most home insurance policies will not cover this.
Do I Need Homeowners Insurance If I’ve Paid Off My House?
Absolutely. Unless you are wealthy enough to rebuild your home out of pocket, then you still need protection in the event of major damage or loss.
What Happens if My Home is Destroyed in a Disaster?
It depends on the disaster. Most policies cover damage from fire, smoke, and wind. Water damage caused by a broken pipe or wind-driven rain is typically covered. However, most policies do not cover damage from a flood or an earthquake. Those who live in flood-prone areas should purchase flood insurance.
Can My Homeowners Insurance Be Canceled?
Yes, your insurance agency can cancel your policy for a variety of reasons. The two most common reasons are non-payment of premium and the discovery of fraud (for example, the homeowner did not disclose the truthful condition of the property or lied on their application, for example did not disclose they own a dog on the banned dog list). Other instances of fraud include deliberately damaging property and lying about it.
A high number of claims may cause an insurer to not renew a policy. Remember, it is harder to get a policy if you’ve been canceled or non-renewed by another insurer.