Am I Covered?: Home Insurance Questions
The more you know and understand about home insurance, the better you can insure yourself and your family in case of loss. The best way to prepare for meeting with your agent is to read your policy and look for the exclusions. If you don't understand or have questions about something, ask your agent.
WHN Tip: Question Everything
Ask your insurance agent the following 'starter' questions to understand the types and extent of coverage you have. Also ask about the possible rate increase or decreases implications for each scenario. You'll probably think of more questions as you go through this.
Coverage and Exclusions
What is included in my homeowner's policy (structural, contents, liability coverage, additional living expenses)? Can I raise the amount of coverage for certain areas in my policy? How often?
What is excluded from my policy? What areas have limited coverage?
For which items (structure, possessions, exterior, etc.) do I have a replacement cost policy and which items have an actual cash policy?
Do you offer a 'guaranteed' replacement cost policy (a policy that pays whatever it costs to rebuild your home as it was before the disaster)?
What would it cost to rebuild my home? What would it cost to replace the items in my home?
Do I need a separate policy to include exterior structures (garages, sheds, gazebos, pools, etc.)?
Will my policy cover repairs and/or replacement of the appliances in my home?
Am I covered for liability? Will guests' injuries and medical expenses be covered if injured on my property?
If my home is under remodeling or construction, do I need extra riders or coverage (liability, theft, damage, etc.)?
Do I need separate insurance for animals and their possessions in my home?
Do I need separate insurance for my home-based business (liability, structural, possessions)? What types are available?
Do you offer any protection against identity theft?
What disasters or 'perils' am I insured for (theft, fire, tornado, vandalism, etc.)?
Do I need flood, earthquake or an umbrella policy?
In the event of a flood, what would be covered? Do I need separate insurance for coverage of possessions? How is "flooding" defined in relation to coverage?
Am I covered in events of water damage (i.e. frozen pipes, burst pipes, leaky appliances, sewer back-up, rainwater, seepage and leaks, flash flooding)? Are there water-related damage for which I am not covered?
Do I need separate sewer back up insurance?
Does my policy include a separate deductible for risks like hurricane or hail?
What kind of riders or floaters do you offer? May I see a list of all types of riders/floaters you have available?
Do I need separate riders for valuable items or house items such as antiques, jewelry, heirlooms, computer equipment, cameras, sports equipment, other?
WHN Tip: For more information, read Insurance Riders: Do I Need One?
Could the home's previous claims history be affecting my premiums?
Are my own previous home claims affecting the premium price for my current home?
Could my credit report score be affecting my premiums? How can I raise my score?
How long can I wait before filing a claim after an event or loss?
How do I file a claim? How does the claim process work?
Will my rates climb after I file a claim? How much?
How many claims can I file before my policy is canceled?
How can I check the status of my claim?
How does the payment process work? How long after I file a claim will I expect to receive a check?
How do you determine the settlement amount?
Will I receive monies at today's rebuilding or replacement value (replacement cost policy) or at the value at the time of purchase (actual cash policy)?
After receiving a check, how soon can I begin repairs?
Do you offer home repair programs? What benefits can I receive if I choose to use your program?
If I'm unhappy with settling my claim, with whom can I talk to about the process?
What kind of discounts can I receive if I purchase a home security system or make upgrades to my heating, plumbing or electrical systems (locks, alarms, detectors, fire extinguishers, etc.)?
What kind of products and materials will count towards lowering my premiums?
What kind of discounts can I receive if I install disaster-resistant items or make home improvements (shatter-proof windows, shutters, earthquake proofing, roofing reinforcements, etc.)?
What types of materials or products can help me save on my premiums?
Do you offer premium discounts if I stay with your company for a certain number of years?
Do you offer discounts if I also have an auto or life policy with your company?
Do you offer discounts if I make my payments electronically or online?
Do you offer discounts if my home is inspected?
Do you offer discounts if I am a non-smoker?
Do you offer discounts if I am of a certain age (i.e. 50+)?
What other discounts are available?
Procedures and Payment Options
What is your cancellation policy?
What is your non-renewal policy?
What is your renewal policy?
When and how often can I raise my deductible?
How long will it take for my insurance to go into effect?
What are my payment options? Where do I send my payments? What will happen if I can't make a payment?
Has the company made any changes in coverage since I last renewed my policy?
WHN Tip: Read Top Homeowners Insurance Myths for more information.
|InsuranceAfter an Accident Insurance ClaimsMake the insurance claims process easier by following these steps.Am I Covered? Car Insurance QuestionsAsk your insurance agent these questions. It helps to understand the types and extent of coverage you have. There are a lot, but you're paying a lot.Appealing an Insurance SettlementIf you have a difference of opinion on your insurance settlement, you can begin an appeal process, starting with your agent, moving to the claims adjuster at your insurance company, or your state's watchdog agency for insurance consumers. What's Your Insurance Score?Like a credit score used by banks, insurance scores rate your risk (how financially stable you are). Research has shown that people who are in better shape credit-wise tend to file less insurance claims. Working With a Claims AdjusterOnce you have notified your insurance company of your loss, you will meet with a claims or field adjuster employed by the company. If You Have No InsuranceIf you have no insurance (or less insurance coverage than you thought), your recovery will be based on your own resources and help from friends, relatives and your community. Estimating Your Home's ValueDo you have enough insurance on your home to rebuild it if it is destroyed? Do you even know how to calculate the amount of insurance you need? Key Insurance Terms Determining ValueKnowing these terms helps to understand the process insurance agencies and relief organizations use to determine the value of your loss. Your tax accountant can also help you when claiming your losses. Top Homeowners Insurance MythsHomeowner's insurance can be a bit complicated. William S. Coffman, Jr., WHN's Guest Columnist, provides some common myths about insurance and insights into the realities of insurance and the claims process.Property Damage Questions for Your AgentThese are some questions to ask your insurance agent. These may confirm what you already know or may help you understand the extent and specifics of your coverage.Insurance Riders Do I Need One?You pay your homeowners premiums on time and feel reasonably comfortable that you are well covered should disaster ever strike, right? Wrong. Even if you think you have adequate coverage, you could be drastically underinsured.Life Insurance and Healthcare CostsIf you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with a serious illness, you may have already discovered that dealing with actual health issues is just part of the individual puzzle you must reassess and reassemble. Am I Covered? Home Insurance QuestionsThe more you know and understand about home insurance, the better you can insure yourself and your family in case of loss. Am I Covered? Life Insurance QuestionsHere is a 'starter' list of things to consider and questions to ask your agent. You'll probably come up with questions or ideas that best fit your needs. Choosing a Life Insurance BeneficiaryIf you own assets, from bank accounts to life insurance, it's important that you choose a beneficiary. Filing an Insurance ClaimA few tips on how to file a claim after a natural disaster, fire or theft. Motorcycle InsuranceThe more you know and understand about motorcycle insurance, accident coverage, and your own policy, the better off you are. Pet InsurancePet insurance is similar to health insurance: you may be reimbursed if the unexpected occurs. Property Damage What to Expect from Your AgentHere is a list of actions an insurance agent may follow after a claim. If you receive money from your agent or arrangements are being made for you, be sure to ask your agent what is covered under your policy and how much you are covered for. Reviewing and Updating Your Homeowner's InsuranceWhen was the last time you reviewed your home insurance policy? According to Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute, there are six events that should trigger a review.Flood InsuranceOne of the most important things that you can do to protect your home and family before a flood is to purchase a flood insurance policy - even if you don't live in a flood-prone area. Earthquake Insurance ResourcesUseful links to information about disaster-related insurance resources.|