Get to Know Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy

Nothing much to do on a Saturday afternoon, so you pulled out your homeowner’s insurance policy to brush up on the nuts and bolts?

Yeah, we didn’t think so. If you’re like most homeowners in America, you probably did your best research and due diligence in securing adequate coverage when you originally purchased your home, but haven’t looked at your policy since.

According to a Met Life Survey, nearly 50% of Americans are clueless about the details of their policy coverage, while 1 in 3 homeowners don’t even know how much their home is insured for. We know, we know, you’re probably thinking that your policy is filled with a bunch of “mumbo-jumbo” that you’ll never have to use, right? Here’s the deal: knowing what’s covered, how claims are handled, and potential caveats in coverage will save you time, money, and frustration; it’s that simple.

 Natural Disasters

Natural disaster coverage is designed to fully-protect your home, sheds, fences, and other property structures, as it offers coverage against:

  • Fire & Smoke Damage
  • Lightning
  • Hail Damage
  • Windstorms
  • Falling Items

While many common incidents are covered by standard insurance policies, certain exclusions may prove more important than others, depending on living situations or climate conditions. If your policy does not offer coverage for certain types of natural disasters, you may purchase separate addendums to protect your assets, including:

  • Sinkholes
  • Earthquakes & Other Earth Movements – Excluding California, where earthquake coverage is a requirement.
  • Tornadoes – Highly recommended for those living in an active tornado zone.
  • Flooding – Handled through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.

Maintenance Matters

Aside from natural disasters, most claims that aren’t covered by policies are usually caused by poor property maintenance. If your sump pump fails and your basement floods, this is generally not covered as the issue began with a faulty sump pump. The same theory applies to other issues of mechanical breakdown, as well as insect damage, mold, rot, etc. It’s important to stay on top of your home’s maintenance needs so you don’t fall prey to exceptions and exclusions with insurance claims.

Contents Coverage

Typically, personal property is protected under contents coverage, but you may experience ceilings on certain high-dollar items, such as artwork, furs, or jewelry. Not all insurance policies cover replacement cost, that is, reimbursement at full value (cost plus inflation) of your property.  If you’re not reimbursed the replacement cost, items may be assessed at fair market value, which may not fully cover the cost of the item. If you have a great deal of valuables, or if you wish to add coverage that will replace your items at full cost, speak to your agent about replacement cost coverage.

Moving Forward 

To get the most out of your coverage, review your policy annually to insure (pun intended) your plan meets your current needs. When determining your needs, the types of insurance coverage your home requires, and which addendums you should purchase, consider the following:

  • Cost to Re-Build
  • Content Replacement Costs
  • Cost of Living Expenses after a Natural Disaster Strikes

In the event of a disaster, Woodard partners with several insurance companies within the St. Louis area to perform cleanups, as well as home and content restoration. Don’t hesitate to contact our friendly customer service team for more information at 314-266-0373.