Spring has finally arrived, which means many people are starting to look for a new home. If you're a first-time buyer, you've probably done your homework on Spokane's neighborhoods, school districts, and mortgages, but don't forget about homeowners insurance! Here is everything you need to know about a homeowners policy.
After any new policy is issued, your insurance company will send out an inspector to take photos, make notes, take measurements, and make an overall assessment of your home. Basically, the inspector is looking for pride of ownership, no deferred maintenance, and no risk factors. Based on the inspection results, the insurance company may ask you to make some changes to your property if repairs are needed.
Typical repairs include:
- exterior steps without rails
- chipping and peeling paint
- piles of debris to be removed
- tree branches touching the roof
- roof in poor condition
If you need to make any changes to your home, your insurance carrier will give a period of time to do so, Once the repairs have been made, we will provide photographic proof of the repair and they will continue with the policy. On some occasions, the insurance company will request an interior inspection as well.
Sometimes the adjustor will disagree with the “estimated reconstruction cost” of your home and notify the insurance company to change it on your policy. This can affect your policy's premium (either increasing or decreasing), based on the adjustor’s decision. Remember, the estimated reconstruction cost is very different from both purchase price and market value.
Limitations to Coverage
Within any policy, there are limits of coverage for certain categories of personal property. Your policy may not fully cover all of your valuable items, like jewelry, watches, furs, art collections, silverware, goldware, china, firearms, etc. Tools used in a business or trade are also limited in protection. If you want to ensure your belongings are properly covered, just give us a call.
A typical homeowners insurance policy does NOT cover for losses from earthquake, flood, mudslide, or water/sewer back up. There are separate policies that may be purchased to cover those specific perils.
There are also certain categories of property that are NOT covered by your home policy at all. Motorized vehicles like motorcycles, ATVs, and snowmobiles are not covered and need to be insured separately. Even if stored on your property, those items need their own protection.
Lastly, be sure to keep an updated inventory of your belongings. At the time of any covered loss, one of the first things the insurance company will request is a list of items damaged or stolen. You will need to prove ownership. Some people like a paper inventory list along with a photo or video inventory. For your big-ticket items, make sure to have make, model, and serial numbers. Receipts are best. There is even a popular smart phone app called “Know Your Stuff” which is free and very easy to use. Either way, make sure you know what you have and keep this inventory off-site.
Keep in mind, home policies are different from one company to the next. Please contact your agent with any and all of your questions. It is truly our pleasure to be of service.