Understand your homeowners insurance and the factors that can affect your coverage, get information on protecting your property and cut down on insurance claims.
Answers to your questions
How are my homeowners insurance rates determined?
Insurance companies use many factors to set the price of your policy, including:
- Your home's square footage
- The condition of your plumbing, heating and electrical systems
- Building costs in your area
- The cost of your home's construction, materials and features
- The crime rate in your area
- The likelihood of a natural disaster in your area
- The distance of your home from a fire hydrant and rating of your local fire department
- Your Insurance Bureau Score
- The amount of coverage you purchase
What does homeowners insurance cover?
Homeowners insurance covers the cost to replace the structure of your home and your home's contents, your liability in case others are hurt on your property and living expenses if your home is temporarily uninhabitable.
How do I know if I have enough coverage? What if I'm underinsured?
We encourage you to talk to your insurance agent to make sure you have enough coverage to return to your current lifestyle should you experience a major loss. When you purchase your policy, work with your agent to ensure your home's value is accurate and ask about any other factors that could affect your property value. Making a home inventory and informing your agent of any large purchases or home improvements can help with this process.
Each year your policy will account for a slight increase in your home's value due to inflation. However, you may still be underinsured if you live in a neighborhood with exceptionally high inflation or you've increased the value of your home (i.e., built a deck, finished your basement).
Most policies have a set maximum of how much they'll cover. For a QBE homeowners policy with a building replacement cost endorsement, we'll cover up to 20 or 25 percent more than the value your home is insured for (this amount varies by state). For a home insured at $100,000, we would pay up to $120,000 or $125,000 to replace it. However, if the home costs more than that to rebuild, the homeowner is responsible for the extra amount. For higher-value properties, owners may want to consider a homeowners policy with guaranteed replacement coverage, which pays the entire cost to rebuild your home, with no limit.
Also note that certain high-value items, like jewelry, electronics, firearms and specialty collections, may not be covered on your policy unless you have a special "floater" or "scheduled" endorsement.
Is flooding covered?
No, flooding is not covered under a standard homeowners policy. You can purchase flood insurance through the federal flood insurance program. Contact your insurance agent for details.
Why do I need renters insurance?
Renters insurance covers your personal possessions from hazards such as fire and theft. It may also protect you if a guest is injured inside your apartment.
Why do I need condo insurance?
Even though your condo association has a group policy, you still need a personal condo insurance policy.
A personal condo policy protects you if someone gets hurt inside your unit; your association's policy will likely include liability coverage if someone is hurt in a common area.
Your personal policy covers your possessions and interior fixtures that your association policy doesn't, which could include:
- Interior walls
- Built-in bookshelves
- Water heater
What's covered under condo associations' policies varies greatly and may change from year to year, so it's best to get a copy of your association's master policy each year and go over it with your insurance agent.
Tips you can use
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