Every responsible homeowner knows that choosing a homeowner’s insurance policy to cover your home and its contents is a necessary step. But what isn’t always clear is what questions you as the homeowner need to ask before signing off on a policy. If you’re in the market for homeowner’s insurance, keep these questions in mind and make sure you know the answers before you get locked into a policy.
Getting a specific example of the types of damages that will be covered is one of the best ways to ensure there are no loopholes that will end up costing you more in the case of a loss. For example, if your roof is damaged in a severe thunderstorm and water gets into your home, will the insurer cover all of the damage? In many cases, the answer will be no, as many insurers will not cover secondary damage, such as the flooding that can occur when your roof collapses. Find out exactly what the company will expect you to prevent in the case of damages will give you a clearer picture of how they will handle things if the worst happens.
This is a question you may want to spend some time researching yourself rather than posting directly to the company. A quick Google search can help you get an idea of the overall reputation of the company and any complaints that multiple customers have reported. The Better Business Bureau website can also be a valuable resource if you’re looking to find out more about how the company treats its policyholders. Social media channels, like Facebook and Google Plus, will also give you some insight into the way the company handles issues or complaints with current policyholders.
If there are issues or special features that already exist on your property, you may want to find out how the insurer will handle claims related to those problems. For example, if your property is located on a waterfront, the insurer may deem it an increased risk that requires extended coverage. In older homes, faulty piping or electrical wiring can cause damage, but insurers may not cover any losses if the systems are deemed to be outdated. Find out these items up front so you know exactly what to expect if a loss occurs.
Insurance is a competitive industry, and as a result, many insurers offer discounts and specials to try and keep policyholders loyal. Your insurer may offer reduced rates if you pay your yearly premium in full instead of monthly, a discount for setting up automatic payments, or military discounts. It never hurts to ask if there are any discounts you can look forward to getting.
Only once you’ve asked all your questions and you feel comfortable with the policy language should you sign on the dotted line. If you have any outstanding questions or concerns, take some time to think it over before you sign the policy documents.