Understanding your home insurance coverage

Homeowner’s insurance provides financial protection in the event that your home or its contents are damaged. It also provides protection if you or a family member are held legally responsible (liable) for the injuries to others or damage to their property.

There are different levels of insurance policies that cover your home. They range from a basic policy to those that will provide a much broader range of protection.
What’s covered, what’s not?

Most homeowner’s insurance policies will cover damage caused by such perils as fire, windstorms, hail, lightning, theft or vandalism. The criteria for coverage under these perils are typically a sudden and accidental loss. Examples include a storm that damages your roof, resulting in not only roof damage, but say, water damage to the interior of your home because of that storm damage. Another example is a pipe that breaks under the kitchen sink that causes water damage to the home.

Flood and earthquakes are excluded, but separate policies are available for these coverages. Wear and tear on the home is also excluded, so keeping your home in good physical condition with regular upkeep is a must.

What most standard homeowner’s policies provide:

• Dwelling coverage. Pays to repair or rebuild your home – including electrical wiring, plumbing, and heating and air conditioning – if damaged by a covered cause of loss. It’s important to buy enough dwelling coverage to cover the cost to rebuild.

• Other structures coverage. Pays for damages to detached structures like sheds, fences and guest houses on your property.

• Personal property coverage. Reimburses you for the personal items in your home that may be damaged or destroyed by a covered cause of loss, which could include your furniture, clothes, sporting goods and electronics.

• Loss of use coverage. Pays your additional housing and living expenses if you must move out of your home temporarily while it’s being restored.

• Liability insurance. Helps protect your assets and cover your defense costs in the event of a lawsuit because you or your family members are responsible for causing injuries or damage to other people or their property.

Be confident in your insurance choices. Contact and ask your agent to shop the policy with numerous carriers to ensure you are getting the best value in the marketplace today, as carriers tend to tailor rates to increase or decrease their exposure in the state. This creates a buying opportunity for you, as you can capitalize on the insurance companies’ desire to write more business (with lower rates), especially in Arizona, where insurers contend with few natural disasters.

Steven Bernstein is the owner/agency principal at Summit Insurance Advisors in Scottsdale. Contact Steven at 480-214-3544 or visit sia23.com.

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