09 May How Much Homeowners Insurance Do I Need
It is a wonder how much homeowners insurance you need if you own a house. After all, the more coverage you get, the higher your premiums will be, and you rarely want to overpay. But what would happen if you had insufficient coverage? Would you be able to repair your home and replace your valuables?
Luckily, you can tailor your homeowner’s insurance policy to ensure that you have the desired level and type of coverage.
Why You Need Homeowners Insurance
The house you live in is so much more than just a place to sleep. It could be your most valuable possession — and one that you won’t be able to replace on your own if disaster strikes. That’s why having the correct homeowners insurance coverage is so crucial to safeguard your investment.
- Homeowner insurance provides financial compensation if a covered event destroys your house, property, or personal possessions.
- It may also pay up if you’re found to be at fault for an injury or accident.
- Most mortgage lenders want homeowner’s insurance.
Home insurance is almost always a sensible buy, even if you don’t have a mortgage, because it provides property and liability coverage.
How Much Homeowners Insurance Do I Need
Every homeowner requires different amounts of coverage based on their unique circumstances. Your agent can recommend a dwelling coverage amount based on the value of your home. For most homeowners’ insurance policies, the secondary coverage is calculated as a percentage of the policy’s dwelling coverage. For example, coverage for other structures is set at 10% to 20% of the dwelling coverage value. Thus, a home worth $250,000 would typically have other structures coverage ranging from $25,000 to $50,000.
Here are some tips to determine how much insurance you need for your house:
Determine How Much It Costs to Rebuild
One of the significant reasons you would purchase homes insurance is to cover the costs of rebuilding in a disaster. That’s because, after a total covered loss, restoring your home can be one of your most significant expenses and top priorities. That’s why while deciding on your home’s coverage limitations, predicting rebuilding costs is so important.
Market values fluctuate, and material and labor costs differ from one region to another. Furthermore, the purchase of your home most likely includes the land it sits on, whereas the cost of rebuilding it does not. As a consequence, you might have to pay significantly more for the cost of rebuilding your home.
Other Factors to Consider
Is Your Home up to Code?
Building code insurance often applies only if you’re forced to bring your home up to code as part of the repairs needed to repair damage caused by a covered risk. Costs of code upgrades incurred because of the renovation, remodel, or routine maintenance are unlikely to be reimbursed.
Let’s say you’re rebuilding your roof and discover that structural improvements are required to bring it up to code. In this situation, you will be responsible for the costs of bringing the home up to code.
Are You in a Flood Plain?
As a homeowner, your home insurance premium largely depends on your likelihood of being robbed or damaged by natural disasters like a hurricane or floods.
How does this affect you? Homes in inner cities, near the coast, or in areas prone to wildfires will see higher rates than those located in areas less vulnerable to natural disasters. Flood insurance is mainly sold through FEMA, as many insurance companies don’t want to insure homeowners who live in flood zones.
Other Things Homeowners Insurance Should Cover
Most homeowner’s insurance policies cover your valuables for 50 to 70% of the cost of your home’s insurance. That standard amount, however, may or may not be sufficient. To see if you have enough coverage, do the following:
Possessions and Value
The personal property coverage in your home covers all your possessions. Therefore, your insurance should cover enough to replace all your belongings if damaged, stolen, or vandalized. An inventory of your belongings can provide you with an estimate of their value, which will enable you to determine the amount of insurance you need to replace everything.
Remember that most home insurance policies automatically include coverage for your personal property at its actual cash value, which takes into account depreciation when the loss occurs.
Homeowners rarely have enough market value coverage to replace their belongings with new ones. For example, your TV needs to be replaced, and it cost $1,000 when you bought it five years ago. Because of depreciation, the TV is now worth $500. If your insurance policy only covers the actual cash value, you would receive a $500 check. However, you may opt for an endorsement that will protect your specified personal property loss without taking depreciation into account for a small fee.
Home insurance providers limit how much they will compensate you for high-value items like jewelry or computers. That implies you will only be reimbursed a set amount if your engagement ring is stolen. If you own valuable items, ask if your insurance carrier has a scheduled personal property endorsement, which increases your coverage limits for specified items.
Additional Living Expenses
An additional living expense plan (ALE), also known as loss of use coverage, allows you to live somewhere else when your current home is damaged. Meanwhile, your home is being repaired or rebuilt following an insured disaster. It can be used to cover additional living expenses such as:
- Meals at restaurants
- Services for doing laundry
ALE coverage is typically set at 20% of your dwelling coverage in a conventional home insurance policy. However, some insurers will allow you to choose higher coverage levels for a fee. It can be worth it if you live in an area prone to natural disasters.
You can determine how much ALE coverage you’ll need by totaling your monthly living expenditures, including food, rent, and petrol.
Liability Homeowners Insurance
A homeowner’s policy includes liability coverage, which kicks in if someone is injured on the property. The following are the five most common liability claims:
- Dog Bites– Some dog breeds are considered high risk and may not be covered under standard insurance policies.
- Getting injured at home- The law holds you liable if someone is injured on your property, even if they weren’t invited.
- Fallen trees- An accident involving a tree on your property that hurts someone or damages someone else’s car or home may render you responsible.
- Workers injured while doing domestic work- If you hire someone to clean your house or mow your lawn, you may face liability if they are injured on the job.
How much liability insurance should you have? At least $100,000 of liability coverage is standard in most homeowners insurance policies. However, it’s a good idea to increase that to at least $300,000 if you can afford it.
You can get an umbrella policy if you require liability coverage that extends beyond your home insurance policy. You should consider this, especially if you have a high net worth or a greater-than-average risk of getting sued.
Consider Any Additional Coverage
To ensure you’re adequately protected, you may need to add additional coverages to your policy or purchase other standalone policies. These could include the following:
While some types of water damage, such as a burst pipe, are covered by homeowners insurance, flood damage is not. Therefore, it is best to get flood insurance separately if you live in an area prone to flooding. In addition to their standard home insurance, homeowners in flood zones may be required by their mortgage lender to get flood insurance.
A regular homeowner’s policy will also not cover earthquake damage. However, your current homeowners insurance coverage may be eligible to be supplemented with an earthquake endorsement. A solo earthquake insurance policy might be worth considering if you live in an earthquake-prone area.
To obtain the most outstanding value on homeowners insurance, you should shop around and compare rates from several different companies. Not only can you compare pricing amongst businesses, but you can also look at different coverage levels and programs. Additional adequate insurance coverage, such as hazard, flood, and earthquake insurance, should be considered in addition to homeowners insurance.
Make sure you have adequate homeowners insurance by consulting your insurance agent. It’s not always as expensive as you would think to upgrade from a mediocre policy to one that will keep you well-protected.