What is homeowners insurance?
Homeowners insurance compensates you for losses to your home and your possessions inside it, so purchasing a homeowners insurance policy provides added security for your investment. Homeowners insurance also protects you if you're legally liable for someone's injuries on your property, as well as from financial losses caused by storms, fire, theft and other events outlined in your policy.
Different companies offer different homeowners insurance coverage, so choosing the right policy means finding the right mix of coverage to meet your needs.
Generally, a standard homeowners insurance policy protects the following:
• The physical structure of your home
• Structures on your property (storage sheds, pools, boathouses, etc.)
• Your personal property and belongings inside your home, up to specified limits
• Your liability or legal responsibility for any injuries and property damage you or your family members cause to other people
• Injuries to your household pets while inside your home
• Additional living expenses if a fire or other insured disaster leaves you temporarily unable to live in your home.
Often, for an additional fee, you can select optional homeowners insurance coverages, including:
• Higher limits of liability for property damage or bodily injury
• Replacement cost for personal property
• Protection for valuables (jewelry, watches, fur, etc.)
• Additional coverage for electronics or computer equipment.
To make shopping for the right homeowners insurance policy easier, take an inventory of what you own to decide what level of coverage makes you comfortable. Once you know your coverage level, get a homeowners insurance quote and choose the policy that's right for you.
What about townhouses?
If you own a townhouse, you can insure it with a homeowners insurance policy or an association master policy, depending on your situation. Some townhouse associations have master policies, in which case you should purchase a tenant homeowners insurance policy to insure your personal property. Other townhouse associations do not have master policies, which is when you should purchase a homeowners insurance policy for your unit. Check with your association to determine which type of policy you should purchase for your townhouse.
What is Renters Insurance?
If you rent your home, having insurance protection for yourself and your possessions is still important. Similar to home insurance, renters insurance protects you in situations that everyone can face: fire, theft, water damage and other unforeseen circumstances your landlord's policy doesn't cover.
Renters insurance typically provides coverage, up to the limits you select, for specified items and situations, including:
• Personal property (furniture, electronics, computer equipment, clothing, etc.)
• Personal liability if someone is hurt, whether in your home or away from it
• Damage to your apartment or home caused by a covered loss
Imagine going to dinner or a special family get-together, and when you return home, you're greeted by the flashing lights of police cars and fire trucks. Building fires and damage can happen anytime, anywhere, but with proper renters insurance, your personal property inside your apartment will generally be covered if it's affected by any of the following:
• Smoke damage
• Collapse of the building due to weather
• Water leakage or overflow
• Freezing of plumbing, air conditioning and more
Renters insurance will protect you from incidents that occur while you're at home, too, such as a toaster catching on fire or a friend slipping and falling while visiting you. Renters insurance provides coverage for your own items, and it provides coverage for other people's injuries or damages in situations for which you're liable, as well.
You can't rely on your landlord's insurance to cover your valuables - landlord insurance only covers the building structure and not your personal property.
Renters insurance, sometimes referred to as an HO4 policy, can provide the financial protection you need in case your possessions are destroyed or stolen, as well as liability protection if someone is hurt in your dwelling.
Before you shop for renters insurance, take an inventory of what you own to decide what level of coverage makes you comfortable. Then, get a renters insurance quote and choose the policy that's right for you.