Here are 7 of the most common components of home insurance utilized today by many Florida homeowners:
1. Main Dwelling Coverage
The most important benefit of having homeowners insurance is its most basic type of coverage – main dwelling coverage. This core component of every policy protects your main building so it can be rebuilt or replaced in the event of accidental damage or total loss.
Coverage includes damage to your home’s interior or exterior. It covers damage caused by a variety of sources such as lightning, home fires, wind, hail, vandalism, and more. There are exclusions, however, especially for flood and earthquake damage. In many parts of Florida, it is wise to buy both a flood insurance and a home insurance policy.
You can cover your main dwelling up to its full value if you wish – which is advisable. But, some also choose to insure only 70% to 90% of its total value. Keep in mind that most other coverage limits in your policy are gauged as a percentage of your main dwelling coverage, so more coverage here means more coverage across the board.
You can arrange to have your main dwelling covered based on its actual cash value or on its replacement cost. Or, you can get an “extended” cash value or replacement cost arrangement, which means it accounts for expected increases in value or replacement cost due to inflation or market movements.
2. Detached Structures Coverage
The second coverage area commonly included in homeowners insurance is called detached structure coverage. This means that your garage, for example, won’t be covered by the main dwelling component unless it is an attached garage.
Detached garages, garden sheds, poolside gazebos, fences, and other structures not part of your main building are covered here. The coverage limit is based on a percentage of the main dwelling cover – it may be set at 10%, for example. So if your home is covered for $300,000, your detached structures would be covered for up to $30,000.
Note that you can always increase coverage limits on your detached structures if you wish. Someone with a large number of them or peculiarly expensive ones might wish to do this, for example.
3. Limited Liability Cover
Almost all home insurance policies come with a liability component. This is limited to harm done to people other than those who actually live in the covered dwelling place. It is for visitors or contractors or neighbors – almost anyone else but the actual residents of the home.
Did you know that homeowners can even be held liable for injuries sustained by trespassers? And unsafe or dangerous conditions on your property that cause injury to others, even a slippery walkway, a ladder left out, or tools left out, can cause liability. Attacks by pets – especially dog bites, are another area of concern.
Liability coverage on your home policy will protect you against such situations, covering medical bills, property damage, and attorney fees associated with the accident. Most policies don’t coverage dangerous breeds of dogs unless you add that in through a rider clause.
4. Personal Property Protection
Sometimes we are in such a hurry to protect our home that we forget about protecting its contents. But virtually all homeowners insurance companies include a degree of personal property coverage in their standard policies.
This pays to repair or replace valuables you keep inside your home, such as appliances, furnishings, clothing, electronics, kitchenware, sports equipment, works of art, and more. There are some very expensive items that will be excluded or that might not be covered to the degree you would like in a standard policy. But you can add additional coverage for these for an additional premium.
Coverage is based on the main dwelling coverage. Usually, it is anywhere from 40% to 75% for the personal property kept in your home.
You may wish to add a “scheduled personal property endorsement” if you wish to cover particular items more fully. This kind of endorsement would extend the amount of coverage to the full value of the item, even if (say) it is an expensive piece of jewelry. It would also cover losses from almost any cause rather than being limited by the standard exclusions.
5. Loss of Use Coverage
Loss of use coverage is a very helpful addition to the “Big 4” parts of home insurance just mentioned above – main dwelling, detached structure, liability, and personal property. In the event that extra expenses are forced upon you because of a covered incident that causes damage to your property – it comes to the rescue.
Also called additional living expenses coverage, loss of use reimburses you for hotel rooms, meals out, transportation, lost rental insurance (if applicable), and some other expenses. In most cases, it applies when you are forced out of your home temporarily because it needs to be repaired or rebuilt.
Typically, your loss of use coverage has a limit equal to 20% to 30% of your main dwelling limit. It may or may not have a separate deductible, but the deductible on your main dwelling will still have to be paid at any rate.
6. Landscaping Coverage
Your landscaping too is included in the coverage of a standard homeowners insurance policy. There are limitations, however. Damage to trees, plants, turf, hardscapes, flowers and flower beds, and all manner of landscaping improvements is typically covered.
But it has to be damage done by a covered cause like lightning strikes, fires, theft, or vandalism. Flood damage, insect or rodent damage, and wind or hail damage normally does not get covered when it comes to landscaping.
You normally see a 5% cap on landscaping coverage – 5% of the main dwelling limit. But you can customize your policy to increase that. Removal of fallen trees is not always included in standard policies but can be added.
7. What About Property Stolen From My Car?
One final area we will mention – though there are many more, is coverage for property stolen out of one’s car. Damage to the vehicle itself would fall under auto insurance, but items stolen out of the vehicle while parked on your property may be covered.
It depends on whether or not those items were primarily used only in the car or if they were personal items you just happened to leave in the car at the time.
To learn more of the ins and outs of modern homeowners insurance, or to get a free quote, contact the experts at Flagler County Insurance Agency today!