Your home will be one of the most significant investments you will ever make, both economically and emotionally. Your family will spend countless hours there, among some of your most prized possessions. In the event of any misfortune, let us give you the peace of mind knowing that you are well protected
You need enough insurance to cover the cost of rebuilding your home at current construction costs. Don’t include the cost of the land. And don’t base your rebuilding costs on the price you paid for your home. The cost of rebuilding could be more or less than the price you paid or could sell it for today.
Some banks require you to buy homeowners insurance to cover the amount of your mortgage. If the limit of your insurance policy is based on your mortgage, make sure it’s enough to cover the cost of rebuilding. (If your mortgage is paid off, don’t cancel your homeowners policy. Homeowners insurance protects your investment in your home.)
For a quick estimate of the amount of insurance you need, multiply the total square footage of your home by local building costs per square foot. To find out construction costs in your community, call your local real estate agent, builders association or insurance agent.
Factors that will determine the cost of rebuilding your home:
- Local construction costs
- The square footage of the structure
- The type of exterior wall construction–frame, masonry (brick or stone) or veneer
- The style of the house (ranch, colonial)
- The number of bathrooms and other rooms
- The type of roof and materials used
- Other structures on the premises such as garages, sheds
- Fireplaces, exterior trim and other special features like arched windows
- Whether the house, or parts of it like the kitchen, was custom built
- Improvement to your home–adding a second bathroom, enlarging the kitchen or other additions that have added value to your home
Standard homeowners policies provide coverage for disasters such as damage due to fire, lightning, hail, explosions and theft. They do not cover floods, earthquakes or damage caused by lack of routine maintenance.
Flood insurance is available from the National Flood Insurance Program – NFIP and from some private insurers.
Replacement cost policies
Most policies cover replacement cost for damage to the structure. A replacement cost policy pays for the repair or replacement of damaged property with materials of similar kind and quality. There is no deduction for depreciation–the decrease in value due to age, wear and tear, and other factors.
If you purchase a flood insurance policy, coverage for the structure is available on a replacement cost basis.
Guaranteed or extended replacement cost coverage
After a major hurricane or a tornado, building materials and construction workers are often in great demand. This can push rebuilding costs above homeowners policy limits, leaving you without enough money to cover the bill. To protect against such a situation, you can buy a policy that pays more than the policy limits.
An extended replacement cost policy will pay an extra 20 percent or more above the limits, depending on the insurance company. A guaranteed replacement cost policy will pay whatever it costs to rebuild your home as it was before the fire or other disaster.
Building codes are updated periodically and may have changed significantly since your home was built. If your home is badly damaged, you may be required to rebuild your home to meet new building codes. Generally, homeowners insurance policies (even a guaranteed replacement cost policy) won’t pay for the extra expense of rebuilding to code. Many insurance companies offer an Ordinance or Law endorsement that pays a specified amount toward these costs. (An endorsement is a form attached to an insurance policy that changes what the policy covers.)
Consider adding an inflation guard clause to your policy. This automatically adjusts the dwelling limit when you renew your policy to reflect current construction costs in your area.
If you own an older home, you may not be able to buy a replacement cost policy. Instead, you may have to buy a modified replacement cost policy. This means that instead of repairing or replacing features typical of older homes, like plaster walls and wooden floors, with similar materials, the policy will pay for repairs using the standard building materials and construction techniques in use today.
Insurance companies differ greatly in how they insure older homes. Some won’t insure older homes for the replacement cost because of the expense of re-creating special features like wall and ceiling moldings and carvings. Other companies will insure older homes for the replacement cost as long as the dwelling is in good condition.
If you can’t insure your home for the replacement cost or choose not to do so–in some cases, the cost of replacing a large old home is so high that you might not want to replace it with a house of the same size–make sure the limits of the policy are high enough to provide you with a house of acceptable size and quality.
Your personal possessions
Most homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for your personal possessions for approximately 50 percent to 70 percent of the amount of insurance you have on the structure or “dwelling” of your home. The limits of the policy typically appear on the Declarations Page under Section I, Coverages, A. Dwelling.
To determine if this is enough coverage, you need to conduct a home inventory. This is a detailed list of everything you own and information related to the cost to replace these items if they were stolen or destroyed by a disaster such as a fire (for more information see How do I take a home inventory and why. If you think you need more coverage, contact your agent or insurance company representative and ask for higher limits for your personal possessions.
Replacement Cost or Actual Cash Value
You can either insure your belongings for their actual cash value, which pays to replace your home or possessions minus a deduction for depreciation up to the limit of your policy. Or you can opt for replacement cost, which pays the actual cost of replacing your home or possessions (no deduction for depreciation) up to the limit of your policy.
Suppose, for example, a fire destroys a 10-year-old TV set in your living room. If you have a replacement cost policy for the contents of your home, the insurance company will pay to replace the TV set with a new one. If you have an actual cash value policy, it will pay only a percentage of the cost of a new TV set because the TV has been used for 10 years and is worth a lot less than its original cost. Some replacement cost policies also replace the item and deliver it to you.
Generally, the price of replacement cost coverage is about 10 percent more than that of actual cash value. If you need a flood insurance policy for your belongings, it is only available on an actual cash value basis.
Insuring expensive items with floaters/endorsements
There may be limits on how much coverage you get for expensive items such as jewelry, silverware and furs. Generally, there is a limit on jewelry for $1,000 to $2,000. You should ask your agent or look it up in your policy. This information is in Section I, Personal Property, Special Limits of Liability. Insurance companies may also place a limit on what they will pay for computers.
If the limits are too low, consider buying a special personal property floater or an endorsement. These allow you to insure these items individually or as a collection. With floaters and endorsements, there is no deductible. You are charged a premium based on what the item (or collection) is, its dollar value and where you live.
You can determine the value by providing your agent with a recent receipt or getting the item or collection appraised.
Additional living expenses after a disaster
This is a very important feature of a standard homeowners insurance policy. This pays the additional costs of temporarily living away from your home if you can’t live in it due to a fire, severe storm or other insured disaster. It covers hotel bills, restaurant meals and other living expenses incurred while your home is being rebuilt.
Coverage for additional living expenses differs from company to company. Many policies provide coverage for about 20% of the insurance on your house. Some companies will even sell you a policy that provides you with an unlimited amount of loss of use coverage, for a limited amount of time.
You should talk to your agent or company to make sure you know exactly how much coverage you have and how long the coverage will be in effect. In most cases, you can increase this coverage for an additional premium.
Liability to others
This part of your policy covers you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that you or family members cause to other people. It also pays for bodily injury and property damage to others caused by pets. It pays for both the cost of defending you in court and for any damages a court rules you must pay.
Generally, most homeowners insurance policies provide a minimum of $100,000 worth of liability insurance, but higher amounts are available. Increasingly, it is recommended that homeowners consider purchasing at least $300,000 to $500,000 worth of coverage of liability protection.
Let FL Low Cost Insurance Group help you choose a policy that will fit your individual needs. Protecting your assets, whether personal, business, or both, is our goal. A well-chosen policy can lessen the impact of some of life’s most common, yet unforeseen perils. We’re here to help when you are considering Homeowners coverage.
Homeowner Property Protection
Protection covers four main items:
- Dwelling which includes your house and any attached structures.
- Other Structures includes unattached structures such as a storage shed.
- Personal Property includes your belongings and the contents of your house. Some policies will also cover the loss of very valuable items, like jewelry.
- Living Expenses if your house is damaged by a covered event and you cannot live there while it is repaired
Liability Protection covers you against claims made by others who are injured on your property. For example, if you are having a party and one of your guests is injured while at your home, the medical bills that the guest has will be covered by your homeowners insurance policy. However, if you neglect your property and someone is injured as a result of your negligence, you will be liable for those injuries.
Types of Damage Covered homeowners insurance will cover damage caused by storms, ice, snow, fire, theft and vandalism. Damage caused by pipes that burst or other accidental malfunctions within the home are usually covered, provided there is no sign of neglect on the part of the homeowner.
Policies have a deductible that the homeowner has to pay before coverage is available. Typical policies do not cover damage caused by floods and earthquakes. Homeowners who live in areas at risk for these types of damage can add these coverage options for an additional cost.
Mobile / Manufactured Home Insurance
Best Rates! Monthly Payments Available
Mobile home insurance policies provide two basic kinds of coverage: physical damage and personal liability coverage. Choosing the right insurance policy is much like choosing the right mobile home. You want it to fit your needs and lifestyle, but you also want the insurance coverage to fit within your budget. These coverage options are available for rental mobile homes, commercial mobile homes, mobile homes that are used seasonally, or mobile homes located in a park or on private property. If you already have auto or homeowners insurance, you can try contacting the same insurer to see if you are eligible for a discount.
Physical damage coverage pays for accidental damage to your mobile home, belongings, or other structures (such as attached patios or decks, garages or storage sheds) resulting from fire, hail, wind, theft and vandalism, or falling objects. The amount and degree of coverage varies from one policy to another, so make sure to compare policies carefully.
Some policies only cover specific causes of loss (named peril policies). This is basic coverage and while the low premiums may seem like a bargain, it could cost you hundreds of dollars in the event of a claim, if the damage is not caused by one of the named perils.
Generally, coverage under a regular policy doesn’t apply while the mobile home is in transit. Also, like regular homeowners insurance, flood is not generally covered, so be sure to find out whether you are in a flood zone and can purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.
Personal Liability Coverage
Damage to property isn’t the only hazard of modern life. Liability insurance coverage applies when there is a claim or a lawsuit against you after someone is injured or their property is damaged because of your activities. That amount may be more than what comes standard with a mobile home insurance policy, so it may be wise to consider purchasing additional liability insurance. Claims might include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and even property damage. However, liability coverage does not pay claims for injuries to you or the members of your household.
Not all insurance companies offer mobile home insurance in all states. Check with your agent or insurance company representative to determine the availability of coverage in your state or contact your state insurance department.
Let FL Low Cost Insurance Group help you choose a policy that will fit your individual needs. Protecting your assets, whether personal, business, or both, is our goal. A well-chosen policy can lessen the impact of some of life’s most common, yet unforeseen perils. We’re here to help when you are considering mobile home coverage.
Great Rates! Monthly Payments Available
When You Really Want to Protect Everything
If you are ever sued, your standard homeowners or auto policy will provide you with some liability coverage, paying for judgements against you and your attorney’s fees, up to a limit set in the policy. However, in our litigious society, you may want to have an extra layer of liability protection. That’s what a personal umbrella liability policy provides.
An umbrella policy kicks in when you reach the limit on the underlying liability coverage in a homeowners, renters, condos or auto policy. It will also cover you for things such as libel and slander.
Because the personal umbrella policy goes into effect after the underlying coverage is exhausted, there are certain limits that usually must be met in order to purchase this coverage. Most insurers will want you to have about $250,000 of liability insurance on your auto policy and $300,000 of liability insurance on your homeowners policy before selling you an umbrella liability policy for $1 million or higher of additional coverage.
Let the FL Low Cost Insurance Group, help you understand and protect all of the risks you run and all of the perils your financial life faces. We will do this with a well thought out and executed business insurance policy designed just for our Personal Umbrella Insurance policy holders.