Whether it’s your first time purchasing home insurance or you want to update your current policy, homeowners insurance can sometimes be a bit intimidating to deal with. As a homeowner, it’s important for you to not only fully understand your home insurance policy, but also be able to effectively communicate to your home insurance agent the type of coverage you want. You can do this by asking the right questions before buying or renewing your policy so you know you’re getting the coverage you need. Below are six great questions every homeowner should be asking their home insurance agent.
1. How much would it cost to completely rebuild my home in the event of a total loss?
Your homeowners insurance policy should have enough coverage to completely rebuild your home in the event it is destroyed by a covered peril. Oftentimes, homeowners don’t carry enough coverage leaving them vulnerable to pay for repairs and damages out of pocket. Your insurance provider should have the proper resources available to them to help them determine rebuild costs when putting together your policy.
The standard home insurance policy will offer limited or full coverage for damages caused by fire, hail, hurricane, or any other type of natural disaster listed on your policy. Be sure to take a look at what’s actually covered because some homeowners are often surprised to find perils they thought they were covered for, aren’t. For example, flood damage caused by a flood is not covered in your standard home insurance policy therefore homeowners will need to purchase a flood insurance policy. The average flood insurance policy costs around $634 per year through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), but at TGS Insurance we provide flood insurance for an average of $528 per year using our bank of partnerships with private insurers!
Another example, depending on where you live in Texas, wind and hail damage may be excluded from your policy forcing you to purchase a separate policy through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA), which averages about $1,600 per year. However, at TGS Insurance, we want to make getting covered easy, which is why we offer a 2% wind/hail deductible for every single policy we issue! To learn more about windstorm insurance, visit our page here.
2. How much is my personal property coverage worth in the event of a total loss?
Your homeowners insurance policy should replace all of your personal property such as your appliances, clothes, electronics, furniture, workout equipment, etc. if it is stolen or destroyed by a covered peril. Most carriers offer personal property coverage equivalent to about 50 to 70 percent of the amount of insurance you have for the structure of your home. For example, if you have $100,000 worth of dwelling protection, most providers would offer $50,000 to $70,000 worth of personal property coverage. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are limits, so be sure to ask your insurance agent about supplemental coverage if you need more protection.
The most effective way to calculate how much personal property coverage you should have is by performing a home inventory. This will help you keep track of all of your personal possessions and how much they are worth. By keeping a home inventory, you can help expedite the claims process should you ever need to file a claim and it will help you get the full payout from insurance for your items.
3. How much liability protection do I need?
Liability coverage protects you from lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that you, a family member, or your pet causes to another person. Your liability coverage will pay for medical or legal fees, but only to a certain limit. Liability coverage typically starts at $100,000, but most insurance providers will advise you to carry at least $300,000 in liability protection. If you’ve got a lot to protect, such as multiple homes, cars, retirement accounts, savings- anything that can be liquidated and used in a payout should you be held financially responsible in any case, you may want to look into an umbrella insurance policy. Umbrella insurance picks up where your liability coverage leaves off, offering you more financial cushion should you ever need it.
4. How much additional living expense coverage do I need?
Additional living expense coverage, or loss of use coverage, covers the costs of living somewhere temporarily if your home becomes inhabitable due to severe damage from a covered peril. Each provider handles this type of coverage differently but most provide coverage equal to about 20%of your dwelling protection. For example, if the structure of your home is insured for $200,000 you would have $40,000 of additional living expense protection- but only for a certain time limit. Be sure to talk to your insurance agent about what coverage you have!
5. Should I purchase a separate flood or earthquake insurance policy?
Depending on where you live, you’ll likely need to carry either flood or earthquake insurance because neither of these perils are covered under your standard home insurance policy and each requires its own policy. Your insurance agent will be able to help determine if either of these policies are needed depending on where you live. If you live in a coastal region where flooding is common, it’s highly-recommended you carry flood insurance. Flood insurance can be purchased either through the NFIP or private insurers, whereas earthquake insurance is offered as a separate or additional premium through most insurers.
6. Do I qualify for any discounts?
If you have safety upgrades in your home such as smoke detectors, security alarms, and dead-bolt locks, just to name a few, sometimes insurance providers will offer you a discount on your policy premium. If you are over the age of 55 or retired, you may qualify for a discount of up to 10 percent, but that depends on the provider. Insurance providers all offer different types of discounts so it never hurts to ask what’s available. At TGS Insurance, it’s part of our standard practice to maximize every discount possible so our customers always save the most!
TGS Insurance is Here to Help You Save on Home Insurance
Asking the right questions before buying or renewing your policy is important because it helps you understand what coverage you have and how you’re being protected. This way in the event your home suffers some sort of damage, you won’t be left surprised to find out you’re not covered or don’t have as much coverage as you think you did. At TGS Insurance, our agents are dedicated to helping answer any questions you may have about your homeowners insurance policy and get you the protection you need and want. Insurance can be an intimidating subject, but we are here to help make it easy and give you guidance on what you need to protect your home and personal belongings.
Sometimes homeowners think that to get the home insurance policy with all the coverage they need, will cost a fortune, but that’s not the case with TGS Insurance. We shop your policy across our bank of 35+ A-rated (or better) carriers to find you the best policy on the market that’s perfectly balanced in coverage and value. We don’t stop at a great quote either, we’ll handle everything from start to finish for a seamless, stress-free shopping experience. Get your hassle-free quote in 15 seconds or less using just your address now! Don’t wait to see why over 14,000 Texans are insured with TGS Insurance.