Jun 6, 2008

Homeowner Insurance FAQ

How do I file a homeowners claim?
It is important to realize that if you don’t follow the required steps, it could result in nonpayment by the insurance company. Here are the steps you should take; 1) Notify the police in the case of a robbery; 2) Notify the insurance company as soon as you realize there has been damage or loss of property; 3) Protect your property from further damage; 4) Prepare a detailed list of the things damaged or missing; 5) Be prepared to show the insurance company the damaged goods; 6) Complete a statement, for the insurance company, that details what happened before, during, and after the loss occurred.

How can I lower my home insurance premium?
There are a number of things you can do to lower your homeowners insurance. They include, shopping around, asking for discounts on your current policy, holding multiple insurance policies with the same carrier, and raising your deductible.

What should I think about when buying home insurance?
First, purchase the amount necessary to replace your home, not your mortgage. Your coverage could be larger than the amount of your mortgage for several reasons including the cost of rebuilding. Second, determine the amount of personal liability and personal property coverage you’ll need. Third, see if you’ll need additional endorsements like flood insurance, earthquake insurance, or increased coverage for items such as jewelry, guns, and computers. Fourth, pick a reputable insurer.

Is my personal property covered away from home?
With the exception of specifically excluded items, your personal property is covered whenever you are away from home. It is considered your property once you have purchased it, regardless of whether it has ever been in your home or not.

Do I need Flood insurance or Earthquake insurance?
Damages due to several types of natural disasters are not covered under standard insurance policies. If you live somewhere where floods, earthquakes, etc. happen, strongly consider adding an endorsement to your homeowners policy. If you are in a specific area, such as a flood hazard zone, your mortgage company will inform you of any additional coverage that is required.

How do I know a good insurance company from a bad insurance company?
Generally, third party rating services and you state insurance commission are your best sources when considering insurance. These organizations have financial records as well as claim paying performance statistics that can help you make an informed decision.

What is the difference between an agent that works for one company versus an agent who works independently?
In most cases, an agent who works for one company is considered exclusive. In order to sell the insurance he/she represents he/she must be employed by the company. An independent agent, on the other hand, is free to represent as many companies as he/she wishes.

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