Written by: William Sergio
What is one of the most important steps when purchasing a home? Purchasing homeowners insurance. Many mortgage companies require you to purchase homeowners insurance before they will even lend to you. As of 2020, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average annual homeowners insurance premium in America is about $1,200. It can be less or more depending on several factors such as the size of your house, the age of the home, the city and state, if the area is more densely populated, or if you live in a state with a higher incidence of natural disasters.
Purchasing Homeowners Insurance
As many of us know, most people do not take the time to really look over their insurance policies. They get them because they are required too and hope they never have to use them. BioResponse Restoration hopes you never have to use your homeowners insurance policy. Unfortunately, disasters do happen and they often happen when you least expect them. It is always better to be prepared and know what to do when disaster strikes. The longer you wait, the worse the problem will become.
When purchasing home insurance here are just some questions you should ask:
- What is my deductible? Hurricane Deductible?
- Does my policy cover water loss (a pipe break) for instance? What are the $ limits?
- Do I have to use a company assigned by the insurance company? We can assure you that you would want a company you choose rather than a company that works for the insurance working in your home.
- Do I have mold coverage? What are the $ Limits?
- Do I have “Loss of Use”? If damage is so bad, will they pay for you to live somewhere during repairs.
- What are the $ limits for contents (furniture, TV, etc.)?
Know your Coverage
Furthermore, it is important to know what your homeowners insurance covers and what it does not cover. For instance, many people do not realize that homeowners insurance does not cover flooding. Flooding requires an additional insurance policy, backed by the federal flooding program. This is especially concerning for people who live in areas that are prone to flooding. Imagine you buy a brand-new home and then it gets flooded? Then you call your insurance company and they tell you that IT IS NOT COVERED. After having a panic attack, you do not have a choice but to pay all the costs including remediation, furniture, contents, reconstruction, and rent if you must move out. Make sure you buy flood insurance if you live in an area that is at high risk and even consider it if you are not in a high-risk area.
HO-3 polices are the most common type of homeowners insurance. These policies have open perils coverage on the structure of your home and named perils coverage for your personal property. Common perils will be whatever is covered for all causes of damage except the listed exclusions. Some of the most common open perils are theft, fire, windstorm, falling objects, damage from electrical currents in appliances, riots and civil disturbances, vandalism, explosions, overflow or freezing of pipes, etc.
Usually water damage is included in your policy, but there are exceptions. It is only included if it is accidental and sudden. Remember it does not include flooding from natural sources, water coming from the ground up. If a pipe bursts and causes damage to a wall, you should be covered. Also, if that pipe destroys your TV or computer, your personal property coverage kicks in and may help pay to repair or replace the damaged items. In conclusion, there are coverage limits and there will be a deductible. Know them.
Filing a Claim
Have your insurance companies’ emergency phone number readily available and in multiple areas, including outside your home. Be aware of the language you use when you call your insurance company to file a claim or speak to an insurance adjuster. For example, if a pipe breaks in your home and you say that your house is flooded, they may try to deny your claim. Is it ethical? No, but some insurance companies have been known to do this. Stay away from saying your home was flooded. Tell them the source of the problem (if you know it) and avoid the word “Flood” unless you are calling to make a legitimate claim under your flood insurance.
Obviously, when dealing with insurance companies, you must be cautious. As a reminder, it is a business negotiation that starts with the policy you purchase and it potentially gets contentious once you file a claim. We realize that insurance companies have marketed themselves as your friend and savior but in the end, they will try to minimize their losses when paying for your claim. It is best to know your coverage and what you are entitled to. And if not, get help.
Florida has one of the highest average annual premiums. It is twice the cost of California or New York. Why? Hurricanes! Florida is usually hit with at least one hurricane a year. This has forced insurance companies to raise rates to maintain their profit margins. Homeowners in Florida are also savvier to the tactics utilized by insurance companies to avoid payments and often hire public adjusters and attorneys to assist them properly to get paid for their claims.
Who can you trust?
BioResponse Restoration has over 15 years of experience in the water and fire restoration business and is a State of Florida licensed Mold Remediation Company. We work for you! We can bill directly to insurance companies. Please call 855-887-4272 if you have questions concerning damage to your property or if BioResponse Restoration can help in any way.
(BioResponse Restoration is not a public adjuster or attorney. BioResponse Restoration is not giving advice on your claim or your insurance coverage.)