If you’re looking to buy a home, it’s important to be prepared with all the types of insurance you’ll need as a homeowner. It’s not just about the homeowners insurance that protects your home itself—you also want to make sure you have the right amount of liability coverage and the right amount of personal property coverage, along with automobile and life insurance, too!
A home is one of your most valuable assets. Make sure to protect it with comprehensive homeowner’s insurance, which will pay to repair or replace your home in case of damage from storms or fires, vandalism or burglary, and even bad weather. Comprehensive homeowner’s policies typically cover common causes of damage, including lightning strikes and falling trees. If you live in an area prone to flooding or wildfires, add those perils to your policy (you’ll probably want flood insurance separately). Your policy should also include liability coverage that helps protect you if someone gets hurt on your property. It should also provide valuable personal property coverage—including replacement costs for certain items like jewelry and art—so make sure it covers everything important to you. Consider adding additional living expenses coverage, too; it can help reimburse you for hotel bills and other expenses if you have to temporarily relocate due to a covered loss. And don’t forget about life insurance: This type of coverage can help replace income lost due to death or disability.
You need to be able to pay your mortgage, your car payments, and all of your normal bills even if you aren’t able to work. Disability insurance can fill in that gap so that your family doesn’t have to worry about finances while you heal or adjust. Many homeowners buy disability coverage as part of their homeowner’s policy, but it isn’t always comprehensive. Check with an independent broker (either at a local bank or an independent agency) and make sure that you have enough disability coverage for yourself and any other person who relies on you financially. It will take only a few minutes and could save your family thousands over time. There are two kinds of disability policies:
With homeowners insurance, your property is covered for natural disasters, such as floods and earthquakes. But if you have renters insurance, it will cover your belongings in case of theft or fire. If you own a car, check with your auto insurance provider to see if rental cars are included in your policy—most offer some sort of coverage for liability only, which includes damage caused by others driving under your name. Finally, no matter what kind of homeowner’s or renter’s policy you carry, never use any type of an unlicensed contractor. Doing so could void your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.
For example, if you have flood insurance through FEMA or another provider, any damage caused by flooding will not be covered under an umbrella policy. However, if your home floods because of a burst pipe, which is not typically covered by flood insurance, then your umbrella policy would kick in. Another thing to keep in mind: The terms umbrella and excess liability mean slightly different things for homeowners’ policies.