Not all Homeowners Insurance Policies are the same!
For families in Northern Virginia it is very important to consult with a professional agent before you buy coverage. The real estate market in Herndon, is different than Reston which is different from Sterling, Great Falls and Ashburn. Each community is unique from other areas of the region and the country. That's why you should take a little extra time to ensure it is insured with the best policy possible. When it comes to homeowners insurance you really do get what you pay for. Each company has a unique contract which can make a big difference when it is time for claims settlement.
Here at Griffin-Owens Insurance Specialists we take the time to explain your policy to you in detail so that you know exactly what is covered and what is not. We let you choose what is important to you and how much you want to pay. However, insuring your home is a lot like finding a good family doctor. Price is important, but you really want to know that you and your family are taken care of when the time comes.
What to look for in a homeowners insurance policy?
- First, you want to make sure your home is insured to 100% of it's replacement cost. This is not as easy as it sounds because reconstruction is much different than new construction and it is very different from appraised value or assessed value or market value. Only a professional agent and a quality company can help you determine the reconstruction cost of your home.
- Your policy should also have a "Replacement Cost Plus" rider to cover fluctuations in home repair costs due to a volatile market.
- Your homeowners insurance should provide adequate coverage for your personal property replacement at replacement cost.
- Your policy should have enough Additional Living Expense or Loss of Use coverage to keep you and your family in a similar home for up to two years while your home is being rebuilt. If your policy only provides 12 months worth of coverage you need to look for a new policy.
- Your policy should provide at least $500,000 of personal liability coverage to protect you if you are responsible for someone else's injury or damage.
- Your policy should provide coverage for back up of sewers and drains. Everyone is vulnerable to these kinds of losses, but only a small percentage of policies have the coverage.
- Your agent should be able to help you with flood insurance and earthquake insurance. Not protecting your home from the most devastating natural disasters is leaving huge gaps in your coverage.
The bottom line is you can choose to have cheap homeowners insurance or you can have good coverage. The choice really is yours.
What is Homeowners insurance?
Homeowners insurance provides financial protection against disasters. A standard policy insures the home itself and the things you keep in it.
Homeowners insurance is a package policy. This means that it covers both damage to your property and your liability or legal responsibility for any injuries and property damage you or members of your family cause to other people. This includes damage caused by household pets.
Damage caused by most disasters is covered but there are exceptions. The most significant are damage caused by floods, earthquakes and poor maintenance. You must buy two separate policies for flood and earthquake coverage. Maintenance-related problems are the homeowners' responsibility.
Why do you need homeowners insurance?
It is really all about protecting yourself financially if something unexpected happens to your home or possessions. That's important because chances are your home is likely one of your largest investments.
- If your home was destroyed by fire or damaged by a natural disaster, you'd need money to repair or replace it.
- If a guest in your home is injured, liability protection and medical coverage help pay expenses.
- If you are a victim of theft and vandalism, it can reimburse you for your loss or pay for repairs.
- If you are still paying for your home, your lender will require insurance.
It is important to know that homeowners insurance is meant to cover unexpected damage, not routine maintenance. Ask your agent to talk about what is covered and be sure to read your policy so you know exactly what's included and what is not.
Things to consider and questions to ask your agent
Here are few things to discuss with your agent that will influence your decisions.
- How much will it cost to rebuild my house and replace my belongings if they are damaged or destroyed? (Ask your agent to talk you through your home's features and the things you own so you can make an informed decision about coverage.)
- Does the insurance company have a good reputation for customer service? Is it known for paying claims fairly and promptly?
- What discounts are available? (Ask about multiple policy, security system and fire resistance discounts.)
- What's the process for filing and settling a claim? (Ask who to call and what happens after you file a claim.)