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What You Need to Know about Homeowners Insurance

December 10th, 2018

While there are many aspects that influence whether your home insurance policy is the best policy for you, the most important thing to know is: any insurance policy is only as good as the language of the contract.

As consumers, we often focus on the bottom line – what’s it going to cost? However, when it comes to homeowners insurance, balancing cost and value is important. It’s especially important to understand the ins and outs of the policy – what’s covered, what’s not, the special limits in every policy, and how claims will be paid.

Insurance companies follow the language of the policy and contract explicitly, so it pays to ask lots of questions when speaking with a customer service representative or local agent.

What’s Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

A typical homeowners insurance policy helps cover four basic categories:

  1. Dwelling protection, which helps cover the physical structure of your home, as well as any other structures attached to it.
  2. Other structures protection for sheds, detached garages and fences.
  3. Personal property protection for items such as furniture, housewares and electronics.
  4. Liability protection – if a visitor to your home is injured while on your property.

Dwelling Protection: 

This is one of the most basic coverages of a homeowners insurance policy. The physical structure of the home, from the top of the eaves to the basement floor, is covered against certain risks. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the most commonly covered risks include:

  • Fire and smoke damage
  • Lightning strikes
  • Windstorms and hail
  • Explosions
  • Vandalism and malicious mischief
  • Damage from a vehicle
  • Theft
  • Falling objects
  • Weight of ice, snow or sleet
  • Water damage

Other Structures Protection:

Most homeowners insurance policies also include coverage for what the insurance industry calls “other structures;” that is, structures not considered a dwelling but still on (and a part of) your property.

These structures are typically covered from the same risks as the home.  Examples of “other structures” include detached garages, swimming pools, gazebos, fences and tool sheds.

Personal Property Protection:

Personal property is the stuff you own – clothing, home furnishings, furniture and electronics. This essential protection is designed to protect your belongings in the event of a covered loss, such as theft or fire.

As with dwelling and other structures protection, personal property coverage is subject to the terms and limits outlined in your policy, so be sure to read it carefully and ask questions if any section is unclear.

Liability Protection:

The purpose of insurance of any kind is protecting one’s person, family and assets. But what happens if a visitor trips as they’re walking up your driveway? That’s where liability protection attached to your homeowners policy kicks in.

Liability protection has two primary functions: to cover a visitor’s medical bills associated with an injury sustained on your property and to cover any legal expenses accrued in the event of litigation.

The attorneys at Dale E Anstine are ready to help you understand exactly what’s covered by your homeowners policy – and we’ll explain it to you clearly and concisely.  If you have questions, contact us today. With offices in York and Gettysburg, our team is available 24/7 – and consultations are always free. You deserve an attorney who’s on your side.