Protecting yourself and your family
This optional coverage is available from a variety of insurance companies. The form provides coverage for the following:
For an additional premium, a new car owner may buy coverage to settle major losses based on the vehicle's replacement cost rather than its depreciated value. There are some limitations, such as:
Your first instinct may be to clean up, but it is important to have an accurate account of all damage for your insurance company when you file a claim. Before removing any debris or belongings, document all losses. Take photos or video, and make a list of the damages and lost items. If possible, save damaged items so your insurer can inspect, if necessary.
After thoroughly documenting damage, take reasonable steps to avoid further destruction to your home or belongings. Policies call this mitigation. Make temporary repairs, such as covering a hole in your roof or boarding up broken windows. Insurance will typically reimburse the cost of these repairs as part of your claim, assuming the loss was covered. Your company may also reimburse you if you need to find temporary lodging or storage for your possessions. Keep a record of all receipts.
Be cautious about signing an Assignment of Benefits
Mysterious disappearance is a term often used by insurance professionals to describe a claim for lost jewelry or a lost gem from a piece of jewelry. The disappearance of the item might not actually be a mystery – the insured person might know exactly where the item was lost – but it might be irretrievable. For example, suppose a woman might lose her wedding ring while swimming in a lake. She knows where the ring is, but to her, it is lost forever.
Most Policies Provide Limited Coverage
Homeowner's insurance policies typically provide limited coverage for jewelry. Policies generally do not cover jewelry, or gems from jewelry pieces, that are simply lost or mysteriously disappear. Read your homeowner's insurance policy carefully to determine whether your valuables, such as a diamond ring, are adequately insured.
Insurance policies differ from one company to the next, but policies typically limit coverage for jewelry and other types of items that might be very valuable. The most common types of homeowner insurance policies impose a limit of $1,500 for loss by theft of jewelry, watches, precious and semi-precious stones. This means that, regardless of how many jewelry items might be missing following a theft loss, the insurance company will not pay more than $1,500 for the loss.
There is no limitation on jewelry (up to policy limits) if the loss occurs as a result of another insured peril. So, for example, if jewelry is damaged as a result of a fire the items would be covered. There is no coverage at all for jewelry or gems that are simply lost because mysterious disappearance is not a peril covered under the policy.
When you buy an engagement ring or expensive jewelry, know what your policy says.
Most homeowners and renter's insurance include jewelry as personal property, but that coverage may not be enough to cover your purchase.
Many policies set a limit and might not protect against all losses. Given the sentimental value of some heirlooms, think about coverage for all situations.
A jewelry floater is an optional addition to a homeowner's insurance policy that protects against financial loss from the damage or theft of valuable jewelry. Though a basic homeowners policy provides some jewelry coverage, if an individual has a sizable and valuable jewelry collection they should add a jewelry floater on top of their basic policy. The jewelry floater will provide a higher dollar amount of coverage for jewelry than a basic homeowner’s insurance policy does.
Some jewelry floaters also offer coverage against more perils than homeowners insurance does. For example, they might cover accidental loss, while a basic homeowners policy would not. Since not everyone owns expensive jewelry that they want to insure, a basic homeowners policy provides limited coverage for jewelry. The minimal jewelry coverage provides homeowners with some jewelry insurance, but homeowners do not pay for unnecessary jewelry coverage. For example, a basic policy might provide $1,000 or $1,500 in jewelry coverage. So if a homeowner purchases a $5,000 engagement or wedding ring, they might contact their insurance agent about buying a jewelry floater to ensure that they have protect the ring’s full value. Depending on how much the premium for the jewelry floater is, the individual might decide to self-insure, meaning that they’ll plan to pay for a new ring out of pocket if the existing one is stolen during a burglary, falls off in the ocean during the couple’s honeymoon or is otherwise damaged.
It’s also possible to purchase floaters for other high-value possessions, such as baseball card collections, antique silverware sets, fine art paintings, computers and fur coats. Renters insurance also insures personal possessions such as jewelry; you don’t necessarily need to be a homeowner to insure these items. You can also purchase a jewelry floater for a renters insurance policy.
If you’re hiring people to work in your home, make sure you’re covered
Accidents happen—and if they happen to people you've hired to come into your home or onto your property to work, you're financially liable. It makes sense to understand how you're already covered and when to further insure household help.
If you contract a worker with an outside firm
One coverage method might be to use commercial policies to handle the business needs and personal (auto, home, recreational vehicle, etc.) policies to tackle the personal needs. However, such a combination of policies would be awkward and expensive. Further, the method would allow a large number of coverage gaps and overlaps. A much better approach would be to use a product that satisfies all potential coverage needs in a single policy.
The differences among various farm and ranch operations certainly complicate the task of finding proper coverage. Successful farmers and ranchers tend to be specialists, yet are flexible in order to run efficient operations. Fortunately, farms and ranches have a number of elements that are common to all operations, so products have been developed for this challenging market.
One standard farm program uses a cafeteria approach to offer coverage. The owner of a farm or ranch operation may choose to have only Farm Property and Farm Inland Marine Forms to address the property coverages, but use the Commercial General Liability Forms for the liability coverage exposures. They may choose to use the Farm Umbrella or a Commercial Umbrella with a Farm Endorsement. A Homeowners policy may be used on the dwelling but a Farm property coverage form on everything else.
Options are an important feature of a good farm program. The following, basic coverages are widely available:
If pipes freeze during winter, you might not notice until the temperature rises and the ice melts. Leaks can be small or they can be so extensive that you experience a pressure drop in your water supply. Ensure that pipes in your home are well insulated to minimize the risk of freezing and subsequent damage from a burst or leaking pipe.
Blocked sewer pipes
In the spring, trees start spreading their roots. These roots can grow into your pipes, blocking them. Take precautions to prevent this from happening by removing or relocating trees that can pose a problem. If this is not possible, talk to a professional about the possibility of re-routing your buried sewer pipes.
When snow melts, it carries bits of debris and the previous fall’s leaves with it. These can accumulate in storm drain systems and gutters, causing them to overflow. To minimize the possibility of this happening to you, keep your yard clean, clearing leaves before the snow falls. Gutters may also be blocked with ice that hasn’t melted. If this is the case, you may need to manually clear ice to ensure that rain water and melted snow have somewhere to go.
Spring flooding can be caused by ground that’s still frozen. Water from a heavy rainfall will have nowhere to go if there is ice in the ground, accumulating enough to cause a flood. There is nothing you can do about a frozen ground, but you can ensure that there is a path to the storm system to reduce the accumulation of water. You can also make sure your sump pump is in good working order to protect your home.
Damage to buried piping
As the temperature rises and falls, the ground expands and contracts. While pipes have some flexibility, they can still break, crack or leak as a result of this movement. You might have a sudden drop in pressure or notice that your sewage is backing up. If this is the cause, you’ll need a professional to replace the portion of damaged pipe. If this is a recurring problem, you may need to consider replacing your buried piping with another material that can withstand the shifts caused by temperature fluctuations.
Enough to cover:
Your Property and Belongings: The better your coverage, the less you will have to pay out of your own pocket if disaster strikes.
Self Protection: You need enough liability coverage to protect yourself from lawsuits resulting from your negligence or events that could occur on your property.
Lender Requirements: Your housing lender will require you to cover the house for at least the amount of the mortgage or the replacement cost of the dwelling.
Policy Requirements: Insurers may impose some coverage requirements for replacement cost protection. Preferred plans usually require policy limits at 100% of replacement cost. Standard plans usually require policy limits of at least 80% of replacement cost.
Types of Coverage in a Homeowners Insurance Policy
The following chart gives examples of the types of coverage that are usually listed in your insurance policy. These are only examples.
PLEASE READ YOUR POLICY TO KNOW YOUR COVERAGES.
Coverage A: Damage to House
Covers damage to the house. The face amount of the policy (for example $100,000) is the most you will receive if your house is totally destroyed.
Coverage B: Other Structures
Covers damage to other structures or buildings, such as a detached garage, work shed, or fencing.
Coverage C: Personal Property
Covers damage to, or loss of personal property. Personal property includes household contents and other personal belongings used, owned or worn by you and your family.
Coverage D: Additional Living Expense
Covers additional living expenses when incurred. This means that the policy covers the necessary living expenses up to the stated limit, incurred by the insured to continue, as nearly as possible, the normal standard of living when the house cannot be occupied due to a covered loss.
Coverage E: Comprehensive Personal Liability
Covers personal liability. This coverage protects you against claims arising from accidents to others on property that you own or rent. With a few exceptions, such as auto or boating accidents, it is an all purpose liability policy that follows you wherever you go.
Coverage F: Medical Expense
Covers medical expenses. Coverage is limited to an amount per person and per accident for injuries occurring on your premises to persons other than an insured, or elsewhere, if caused by you, a member of your family, or your pets. An important feature of this coverage is that payment is made regardless of legal liability.
Are There Any Additional Coverages I Should Consider?
Extra Contents Coverage
Remember that most of the coverages are a flat percentage of the amount of insurance on the home itself. For example: contents coverage is 50% of the insurance on the home itself. If you insure your home for $100,000, the contents coverage will be $50,000. For a minimal extra charge, you can increase the coverage on your contents without increasing the amount of insurance on the home itself.
Most companies offer "Guaranteed Replacement Cost Coverage" for an additional premium. Ask one of our agents if this is available and to explain the advantages of having this broader coverage. The most important coverage that is usually offered is full replacement cost coverage on your roof with no deduction for depreciation.
Personal Property Extensions of coverage
Another good example concerns special limits on certain types of personal property. For instance, most policies limit their coverage for the theft of furs or jewelry to $500.The limit for firearms or computers is probably $1000. Numerous other items are also typically limited to $500 or $1000 since the homeowners program is designed to fit the coverage needs of the average insured. It is the consumer's responsibility to review the limitations placed on certain types of property. If needed, increase the coverage of one area or another by adding a "Scheduled Personal Property Endorsement" to the basic policy.
You can also purchase additional liability coverage and medical payments coverage for a nominal premium.
The most important exclusion is flood, as many people have learned to their great misfortune. If you need flood coverage, our insurance agency can help you get it. If you live in a flood-prone community, don't risk going without flood insurance. See our agency about flood coverage.
No standard insurance policy, including the homeowners policy, covers catastrophic damage that can be caused by an earthquake. For an additional premium, companies offer an earthquake endorsement with your homeowners policy that will protect you in case your home suffers earthquake damage. In some areas, this coverage is typically inexpensive and should be considered. For instance, the New Madrid fault runs through the Midwest United States, an area not perceived as having earthquakes occurring frequently.