Homeowners Insurance Information
Home Insurance - including Poughquag, Lagrangeville, Hopewell Junction and Dutchess County NY
Your home is probably the biggest investment you will make in your entire life. They cost a lot of money to buy and to just maintain properly. Your home is your most valuable asset and the center of your daily life. There really is "no place like home". Whether you are buying your first home or your 10th home, let us help you make the process easier and less stressful for you.
For first time home buyers, we will educate you about the entire insurance process. We explain the basics of home insurance, how we come up with the information to complete the quote, what the quote means to you, recommend additional coverage based on your house and situation, the inspection process, working with the realtor and mortgage, and the closing process. We hit it all, so you know what to expect. Buying a home really is a big deal - let us make it easier for you!
For veteran homeowners, our review process is also thorough. We analyze your current policy, including calculating that the amount of coverage on your house is up-to-date, make recommendations based on your situation and review everything with you.
How Does Homeowners Insurance Work?
Homeowners insurance provides coverage for two major items: property and liability. Property includes your house and any attached structures, detached outbuildings, and contents. Liability provides coverage for bodily injury and/or property damage for people visiting your property.
Homeowners insurance is sold as a package policy, combining property, liability and theft coverage. 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 also 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. A homeowners insurance policy is NOT designed to cover problems that result from poor maintenance or general wear and tear. The key words here are sudden and accidental.
What Does a New York Homeowners Policy Include?
There are many different parts to a homeowners policy. It includes Definitions, Property Coverages, Liability Coverages, Perils Insured Against, Exclusions, Conditions, Endorsements, etc. Here we just briefly discuss property and liability coverage.
Coverage A: Dwelling - The dwelling must be used principally for dwelling or residential purposes. Property covered includes:
- Dwelling, or the house
- All attached structures to the house
- Any materials or supplies located on or next to the premises used to construct, alter, or repair the dwelling or other structures on the premise
- Building or outdoor equipment located on the premise and used to service the location (unless insured elsewhere).
Note that Coverage A does NOT cover the land where the dwelling is located.
Coverage B: Detached Structures - This part covers detached structures, such as detached garages and other outbuildings (sheds or fences). The basic amount of insurance for Coverage B is equal to 10% of Coverage A.
Coverage C: Personal Property - Covers your personal property usual to a residence. Think furniture, television, clothing, and appliances. There are special limits for items such as firearms, money, securities, theft of jewelry, etc. The basic amount of insurance included for Coverage C is equal to 50% of Coverage A.
Coverage D: Loss of Use - Payable when a loss covered by a homeowners insurance policy prevents the residence from being used. It also pays additional expenses for the increase in normal living expenses the insured incurs while the premises are unfit for normal use. These additional expenses include rent and alternative housing. The intent it to allow the family to maintain their normal standard of living.
Additional Coverages - there are many additional coverages included in your homeowners policy including: debris removal; reasonable repairs; trees, shrubs, and other plants; fire department service charges, and others. Please read over your policy or ask us about these additional coverages.
Coverage E: Personal Liability - Pays if you are legally liable for causing bodily injury or property damage to someone else. A $100,00 basic limit of liability is included in your policy. You may purchase higher limits for an additional premium.
Coverage F: Medical Payments to Others - Pays for necessary medical expenses (medical, surgical, x-ray, dental, ambulance, and funeral services) sustained by a visitor to your residence. Coverage also applies if someone else is injured by you away from your residence.
Homeowners Insurance Coverage Types
There are many different types of home policies that exist. The most common type you will find is the HO-3 policy. It provides the property and liability coverages as described above and offers the broadest coverage. It is an open-perils policy, which means it covers against loss from any peril except those perils that are specifically excluded. If you rent, then an HO-4 would be appropriate, which only covers your personal property. The building is insured by a policy owned by the landlord. If you bought a condo, then an HO-6 form is appropriate. Older historical homes would be best covered with an HO-8.
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.
When Do You Need Homeowners Insurance?
If you are a new home buyer and have a mortgage on your house, you will need to purchase homeowners insurance BEFORE you close on the house. Contact us as soon as your offer has been accepted as the closing typically happens 30-60 days later. We need time to calculate the amount of coverage necessary, make recommendations and review it with you.
If you are an existing homeowner with your mortgage in escrow, then 45-60 days before your renewal is the best time to make a switch. This gives enough time for the old policy to be cancelled and a bill from the new insurer to be sent to the mortgage company.
If you are an existing homeowner with no escrow or no mortgage, the choice is really up to you if you want to have homeowners insurance. Homeowners insurance is only required in New York if you have a mortgage on the home.
Helpful tip: Package your homeowners insurance with your auto insurance and umbrella insurance for the best coverage and discounts!
Bottom Line: Pepe Insurance Agency is here to help you understand your homeowners insurance policy, help you choose the best coverages that fit your needs and work within your budget. Give us a call or request a homeowners quote today!
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