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6 Most Commonly Asked Questions About Homeowners Insurance

for Bradenton, Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch and Beyond
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Mar 30, 2016

 

Your home is where you will create many of your most precious memories with your family, and it deserves to be protected with the best insurance.

Picking out the right home insurance policy can be a difficult decision, and you may have several questions. Read on to get answers to 6 of the most commonly asked questions about homeowner’s insurance.  

1. How Do I Determine How Much Insurance I Need?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, you need enough insurance to cover the following:

  •      The structure of your home (exclude the value of your land)
  •      Your personal possessions (policies typically provide coverage for 50%-70% of the amount of insurance on the structure of your home unless you provide a detailed home inventory)
  •      Living expenses while undergoing home repairs (includes hotel rooms, meals, etc)
  •      Liability to others (covers you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage caused by a family member or pet)

If damage has been caused by a natural disaster where many other homes were also damaged, prices of construction materials will go up and the time it takes to rebuild will be extended. If your policy is in risk of maxing out in this scenario, consider purchasing an extended replacement cost policy.

2. What Is a Home Inventory?

Whether it be from a theft, fire, or natural disaster, if you experience a loss of property and need to file an insurance claim, one of the best things you can have on hand is a home inventory.

A home inventory is basically a detailed list of your possessions and their estimated worth. Having this beforehand will save you much time and frustration when you need a list of what you have lost.

Make an inventory by preparing a spreadsheet, taking a video, or using the Know Your Stuff program from the Insurance Information Institute. Document everything in every room in your home, making note of model and serial numbers for electronics or other expensive items. Update your inventory every year.


3. What Items Are Not Covered by My Insurance?

Depending on your particular insurance policy, damage caused by floods, earthquakes, normal wear and tear, and damage due to homeowner negligence are likely not included in your policy. However, you can get additional insurance to cover earthquakes and floods.

Boats, expensive jewelry, fine art, and high-end electronics may also need a separate schedule added to your policy in order to be covered in case of a theft or natural disaster.

4. How Can I Lower My Insurance Premium?

Some of the following actions can potentially help lower your insurance premium:

  •      Install fire sprinklers and smoke detectors
  •      Have an alarm system or monitoring service
  •      Live in a gated community
  •      Install a new roof
  •      Remove dilapidated sheds
  •      Don’t own a trampoline or diving board

Also, make sure you have clean credit. It’s possible that an insurance company will raise your premium if you have red flags on your credit report.

Finally, consolidate multiple types of insurance with one agency, make sure you’re not overcovered for your needs, and reconsider the amount of your deductible. Bradenton Insurance writes all lines of insurance, and when you have everything in one place, you dramatically reduce the potential of over and/or under insuring your assets.

There may be other ways to lower your premiums as well, depending on your unique situation. Consult with an experienced insurance advisor at Bradenton Insurance to get the best information.

5. How Do I File a Claim?

Filing a claim with your insurance company doesn’t need to be difficult. There are only a few easy steps to get started.

1.    If the loss or damage is due to a crime, notify the police first.

2.    Contact your insurance company and review your policy with them. Ask any questions you may have and get a detailed list of what they need from you.

3.    Gather receipts, your home inventory, and anything else your agent requests.

4.    Keep copies of every transaction you make.

Once you’ve completed these steps, your insurance agency will take care of the rest.

6. Will Filing a Claim Raise My Rates?

Usually, filing a claim with your insurance agency will not raise your premiums or make it harder to be covered in the future. However, there are a few red flags for insurance providers which might cause some issues for you. For instance, if you have made multiple claims within a couple of years, if there has been water damage caused by plumbing problems, or if a dog bite or slip-and-fall claim on your property, your rates can increase. 

If you have any other questions or want more information regarding Lakewood Ranch homeowner’s insurance, call or visit Bradenton Insurance.



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