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Pam's Insurance Site

When I bought my first house, I was already going into a lot of debt. I didn't have the money to seriously insure it, so I bought only the bare minimum without consulting an insurance professional. That was a big mistake on my part. It could have turned out alright. That is, if my house hadn't been in the path of a huge storm. Huge gale winds knocked a tree down straight through my roof. My house was practically destroyed, and my minimal policy didn't cover nearly enough. I spent years and years trying to get myself out of that financial mess. Since then, I have always been very cautious in learning about insurance and talking to the real professionals.

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Don't Just Look At Premiums When Getting Home Insurance Quotes -- Check Out These 5 Coverages Too

Many people focus on insurance policies' premiums when getting home insurance quotes, since premiums are how much policies cost. While no one wants to pay more than they have to for insurance, premiums aren't all you should think about when getting home insurance quotes. You should also look at coverages, which determine what types of protection policies provide. Here are five specific coverages you should look at in any home insurance policy you think about getting.

The Dwelling Coverage

Your home insurance policy's dwelling coverage will cover the dwelling you live in, which is your home. Should your home be damaged by a covered incident, this coverage will provide the funds necessary to repair or rebuild your home.

This type of coverage is standard in home insurance policies, but the amount of coverage provided can vary a lot. It's important to make sure any policy you get includes enough coverage to fully protect your home. The amount of coverage you need might exceed how much you paid for your home if your home has appreciated in value or rebuilding costs in your area have increased recently.

The Other Structures Coverage

Other structures coverage is similar to dwelling coverage in that it provides money to repair or rebuild structures that are damaged in a covered claim. Other structures coverage, however, is for any other structures you have on your property, structures other than your actual house.

If your house is the only structure on your property, you won't need this coverage. If you have a guest house, detached garage, storage shed, fence or any similar structure, though, you'll need other structures coverage because these are all considered structures and not your actual house.

Personal Belongings Coverage

Personal belongings coverage insures the personal items you own, such as your clothes, furniture and appliances. This coverage is included in most home insurance policies, but it's important to make sure your policy's coverage meets your needs.

In general, personal belongings coverage is designed to provide broad coverage for everything from pencils to stoves. Every home insurance policy, however, has limits and exclusions that define what it will cover. You'll want to make sure everything you have is covered. Check carefully for limits or exclusions if you have any of the following:

  • firearms

  • fine art

  • expensive electronics

  • valuable jewelry

Many policies specifically define how much coverage they'll provide for these kinds of items. If a policy doesn't have the amount of coverage you need, you can usually find the coverage you need by adding a rider to your policy. A rider increases coverage for a specific item or kind of item. Riders usually don't cost a lot, because they only insure one specific thing or kind of thing, but it's important to know if you need them.

Worldwide Coverage

Some home insurance policies only cover belongings when they're in your home or provide limited coverage when your belongings are outside of your home. Other policies provide coverage no matter where your belongings are.

Policies that offer coverage for your personal belongings regardless of where they are have worldwide coverage. This coverage extends your insurance personal belongings protection to your car, hotel room, dorm room or anywhere else you bring them.

Food Spoilage Coverage

Food spoilage coverage won't reimburse you for a gallon of milk that your family fails to drink by the sell-by date, but it will reimburse you for food that's lost in a covered claim, such as a blackout. This coverage might not seem like a lot, and it's not included in every home insurance policy. If you lose power, though, this coverage could save you a lot. In a 2003 blackout in the Northeast, an estimated $50 million worth of perishable foods were lost.

For more information and options, talk with an insurance agent about home insurance quotes and coverages.