A home insurance policy provides financial cover for any damage in your house. Individuals are required to pay a premium for the insurance policy for a fixed tenure to enjoy its benefits. For instance, your house catches fire, and your favorite items get destroyed. Will you be able to buy them once again? This is not feasible in most cases.
A home insurance policy would provide you with financial backup at such instances and ensure that the loss does not cost you much. There are a number of home insurance policies that are beneficial at different times. Thus, you need to choose a home insurance policy according to your needs and the premium you are willing to pay.
What does a home insurance policy cover?
1. Property Damage
This insurance policy essentially provides financial coverage in damages related to the physical structure of your property. Thus, this involves the floors, roof, doors, and lights.
Property damage insurance policies are generally divided into coverage A and coverage B whereby different items are insured or excluded from the insurance policy. For instance, if one has the broad form of coverage A that covers ‘all perils’ he would receive financial coverage of most of the things in his property.
However, remember, all perils do not involve receiving a financial cover for all the items in your house. The coverage A policy specifically excludes items that are destroyed due to continuous use. For instance, if the roof of your house leaks owing to a lack of maintenance or timely repairs, it would not be financially covered under this policy.
2. Personal Property Damage
When you apply for a home insurance policy, it is safe to remember that the insurance covers not only the physical structure of your property but also the personal belongings that you have inside it. This includes any and every personal belonging inside the house, which could be electronics, gadgets, furnishings – anything.
If the personal belongings in your house have been subject to any of the types of damages that have been listed under the covered set of risks, then the insurance will definitely have your damage covered. If a fire or a natural calamity damages your furniture or your refrigerator, consider it covered by your home insurance policy.
Most people prefer choosing personal property damage insurance as it helps them to recover their losses as and when they occur. It is indeed impossible to have your costly items replaced with your own income once again.
Moreover, if such damage is caused by natural disasters or for other reasons, replacing them with your own money can be quite tiring. Thus, personal property damage home insurance helps you to overcome these risks. Under such an insurance policy, you can get your roof leaks repaired, if they have been damaged by a cyclone or any other natural disaster. However, if the cause of damage is the lack of maintenance over time, these insurances will not cover your expenses.
3. Liability Damage
Liability damage refers to the damage or injury inflicted on someone who does not reside in your property but was injured while he or she was inside your property. Such a policy is extremely crucial as it helps you to avoid legal charges and other complications.
You would not want your guests to suffer because of the lack of repair or maintenance of your house, would you? In such an insurance policy, the visitor’s medical bills or your legal expenses may be covered by your personal injury liability coverage if you’re found to be at fault in any manner.
Also, if you add a personal umbrella policy to your liability coverage, you may be able to increase the limit of your coverage. For instance, if a visitor trips to your premises and falls due to your broken flight of stairs, this type of policy coverage might just be your savior. The expanded umbrella policy, however, can be availed only by increasing the price you pay for the home insurance.
4. House Rental Insurance or Additional Living Expenses
This is a pretty crucial risk for you to get covered in order to effectively prevent you from bearing the additional costs and unnecessary expenses if under any circumstances you have to reside for a limited time period outside your property.
This could be in case of any kind of restoration or even renovation work also. In situations like this, this type of home insurance policy will ensure that you do not have to pay any of your rent or hotel residential costs too.
This would include the costs of your hotel meals, hotel rooms, as well as any other miscellaneous expenses that might surface at that point in time. However, this does not, in any way, imply that you can stay at Four Seasons, have gourmet food, and have the best time of your life!
There are of course certain terms, conditions as well as limitations that are associated with the provisions of this aspect of the home insurance policy.
5. Property Exterior or Other Property Structures
In the event of natural calamities like earthquakes, floods, or any other kinds of disasters striking your property, it is not just the interior of the things inside the property’s interior that can get covered under the provisions of your home insurance policy.
Even the structures associated with your property or ones that are immediately outside and are closely attached to the property are also considered while being covered in insurance.
For instance, if any type of damage is inflicted upon the adjoining garage of your property, or the sheds or any other forms of structures, then the home insurance policy would definitely cover it.
Inadequate or improper home maintenance is another factor against whose resultant damage you can be covered by your home insurance policy. However, it must be kept in mind that normal or conventional home insurance policies do not generally cover natural disasters and low maintenance damages, and distinct riders will be needed to be purchased in such cases. They will provide certain guidelines and the rules that apply to the garages and sheds are also provided under these additional riders.
Types Of Insurance Coverages Offered
1. Actual Cash Value
This means that after the deducting depreciation is calculated, you will be paid the actual value of the property and the belongings present inside the property. It should be kept in mind that actual cash after depreciation refers to what the belongings are worth now, not what they had cost when you had bought them.
However, such insurance coverage is often preferred by most. This is because, suppose your insurance covers an item that is damaged and you do not need it anymore, you can use the cash amount for something else! For instance, you can get your roof repaired, or buy new stuff to decorate your room.
2. Replacement Value
This means that now the actual cash value of the property or belongings that were damaged would be paid back to you, not the value after deducting the depreciation cost from it. The original value would be provided to you, and this would help you to rebuild the property – reconstruct it or just repair it.
Though this insurance coverage looks more lucrative, remember, you need to pay a higher premium for these policies. Such policies are also not beneficial for items whose prices have appreciated over time. In such cases, you tend to get a lower amount than the current value of the item.
3. Extended Replacement Cost Value
This is also known as the guaranteed replacement value. This means that the home insurance policy will pay for whatever amount of money it takes to repair or reconstruct the property, regardless of the fact that the amount needed for the rebuilding process will exceed the amount of money stated in the insurance.
The extended policy cushions you against any inflation crises and also offers to provide more insurance coverage than you actually paid for.
While on one hand such insurance coverage is beneficial, you do not get the amount in cash. For instance, if you want to repair leaks in your roof, you have to provide a detailed document of the costs incurred, which in turn will be funded by the insurance company.
Thus, if you claim coverage for roof leaks, you can use the amount for the mentioned purpose only. As a result, this insurance policy reduces the autonomy of the policy holder.
4. Procedure for Claiming the Insurance
Various insurance companies have different procedures for claiming the insurance. In most cases, a person will be sent to inspect the site if the property that has been damaged after the damage takes place.
Judging by the terms and conditions as mentioned in the policy you have availed, he will offer you a certain amount of money for either repairing the damaged property or reconstructing it. You will have an option to accept the offer they give you on-spot, and demand any additional funds from your claim if you need it in the future.
There is a possibility that you might receive more than a single cheque – one for repairing the property and one for the replacement of the personal belongings that have been lost. You might be asked to sign certain legal documents pertaining to a ‘direction to pay’ form which allows the insurer to pay the money directly to the contractor. Remember, read any and all legal documents carefully before signing them.
The process of claiming the insurance and finally receiving the amount can take slightly long. However, you can fast track the process by having all the necessary documents ready. This helps in faster inspection. Remember to fill up the forms required carefully as any mistake or contradiction found in the form can cause further delay. For instance, if you miss out filling the details of your property properly, you might have to get your property inspected once again and undergo the entire procedure a second time.
5. Limitations on What the Insurance Can Cover
You should put considerable attention to each and every coverage that your home insurance policy will provide and will also have certain restrictions and limits imposed on them – pertaining to the amount of money that can be provided to you as per the policy. As discussed before, you will require specialized riders if you want to be insured against natural disasters while living in areas prone to natural disasters.
Any ‘Act of War’ will also be considered as ineligible to be covered under the home insurance policies. As has been mentioned prior to this, it is advisable to contact and consult with a local home insurance policy agent or consultant, as they are the ones who can tell you which insurance policy will be suitable for you, given your financial situation and your geographical location.
It is evident from the discussion above that home insurance policies help you to cover the financial loss for any damage to your property. Be it your house, or your personal belonging, various insurance policies have different kinds of financial coverage for each item.
However, you need to choose your preferred insurance policy carefully. Thus, it would be best if you first decided what all you want your insurance policy to cover. Remember, a single insurance policy will not cover everything inside your house and within the premises of your house.
Thus, the best way to choose an insurance policy is by going through their range of coverages, the amount that they cover and other factors. You should additionally check the terms and conditions associated with each policy before you choose the best one for you.
Remember, reading and researching insurance policies is extremely crucial as it helps you to avoid being tricked by insurance companies. Furthermore, comparing various insurance policies with each other might help you choose the apt one for you. Once you are done with the research and know what your policy covers, you are good to go.