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The largest single investment most consumers make is in their home. The consumer can protect their home, possessions, and liability with a homeowners’s insurance policy. The homeowner’s insurance policy is a package policy that combines more than one type of insurance coverage in a single policy. There are four types of coverages that are contained in the homeowner’s policy: dwelling and personal property, personal liability, medical payments, and additional living expenses.
Property Damage Coverage
Property damage coverage helps pay for damage to your home and personal property. Other structures such as a detached garage, a tool shed, or any other building on your property are usually covered for 10% of the amount of coverage on your house.
Personal property coverage will pay for personal property including household furniture, clothing, and other personal belongings. The amount of insurance coverage is usually 50% of the policy limit on your dwelling. The coverage is also limited by the types of loss listed in the policy. The coverage only pays the current cash value of the item destroyed, unless you purchase replacement cost coverage. Your homeowner’s policy also provides off-premises coverage. This means that the policy covers your belongings against theft even when they are not inside your home.
Personal Liability Coverage
Homeowner’s policies provide personal liability coverage that applies to non-auto accidents on and off your property if the injury or damage is cased by you, a member of your family, or your pet. The liability coverage in your policy pays both for the cost of defending you and paying for any damages the court rules you must pay. Liability insurance does not have a deductable that you must meet before your insurer begins to pay losses. The basic liability coverage is usually $100,000 for each occurance. You can request higher limits that are available for an additional cost.
Medical Payments Coverage
Medical payment coverage pays if someone outside your family is injured at your home regardless of fault. This includes payment for reasonable medical expenses incurred within one year from the date of loss for a person who is injured in an accident in your home. The coverage does not apply to ypu and members of your household. The medical payments portion of your homeowner’s policy will also pay if you are involved in the injury of another person away from your home in some limited circumstances. Medical payments coverage limits are generally $1,000 for each person.
Additional Living Expenses
If it is necessary for you to move into a motel or apartment temporarily because of damage caused by a peril covered in your policy, your insurance company will pay an amount up to 20% of the policy limit on your dwelling for these expenses. If you move in temporarily with a friend or relative and do not have any extra expenses, you will not be paid any addditional living expenses by your insurance company.
If you operate a home business full or part time you might be uninsured and not realize it. Many home business owners believe that their homeowner’s insurance policy covers all of their home business needs. You should not assume that your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover your home business. Your homeowner’s policy may provide coverage but probably only a maximum of $2,500 for business equipment in the home and $250 away from the premises.
The price you pay for your homeowners insurance can vary by hundreds of dollars, depending on the insurance company you buy your policy from, be sure to shop around.