From Tornado Alley to poisonous snakes close to home, Texans from the Gulf Coast to the Great Plains know that homeowners insurance is a must in the Lone Star State. If you are a new homeowner, you may be afraid to ask the question, “What does homeowners insurance entail?” because you think you are already expected to know the ins and outs of owning a home. However, knowing exactly what having homeowners insurance means will help you know what questions to ask when you meet with an insurance agent. Insurance for homeowners is a package policy that helps ensure your home, and the valuables inside your home, are financially protected in case of an unexpected disaster. In addition, a standard homeowners insurance policy should also cover any personal liability for injuries or property damage that occur to another person while in your home or on your land. It is important to note that when you talk to an agent about a homeowners insurance policy, flood and earthquake coverage are separate from a standard policy, so you need to consider if you wish to add those to your package. Also, as a standard rule for insurance for homeowners, damage to a home due to poor maintenance is not covered by any policy. Unfortunately, disaster doesn’t strike when convenient, so the sooner you get homeowners insurance the better you can protect your finances and property.
One of the most common disasters in Texas are tornadoes. The Texas Almanac points out that Texas experiences, on average, 132 tornadoes a year, especially in North Texas and the panhandle. 76% of tornadoes are classified as what is known as “EF0” or “EF1” with winds ranging from 65 mph to 110 mph, according to the Tornado Project. At these wind speeds the dangers lie in downed trees striking homes and minor structural damage. Being prepared with homeowners insurance can alleviate any worry about how you will pay for the total cost of a new garage or a portion of your roof. Furthermore, if on the off chance an “EF4” or “EF5” should come through your area with winds anywhere from 166 mph to above 322 mph and your home is severely damaged, you can have peace of mind knowing that purchasing homeowners insurance will help cover a good portion of the costs associated with re-homing your family.
It’s vital that you understand what you want to ask for concerning natural disaster coverage when you meet with your insurance adviser. Homeowners insurance varies from state to state and company to company, so find out what is considered “covered property” when discussing a plan. The Homeowners Insurance Guide maps out four different kinds of covered property. These include dwellings, other structures, personal property, and loss of use. The dwelling is the actual structure you live in with other structures being those which are not directly attached to the house, such as a shed or barn. The Texas Department of Agriculture states that Texas leads the nation in cattle, sheep, and goat production, so finding out the terms of insuring your barn in relationship to your homeowners insurance policy would be prudent. Personal property are those items within your own, such as electronics and furniture. Remember that, often times, guns and jewelry will need their own separate policies. Finally, loss of use refers to living costs associated with being unable to reside in your own home due to a tornado, severe storm, or other unexpected disaster. Knowing exactly what your homeowners insurance policy covers and what you wish to add will save you from any surprises during moments of crisis.
Another great feature of homeowners insurance is that most policies will cover personal injuries related to animals you own. “Personal” meaning damage done to you or your family. This is especially important in Texas, where owning horses is extremely common. According to the American Horse Council, 2 million people in the United States own horses with 979,000 of these being in Texas. Dangers such as being thrown off the horse or stepped on by your animal are quite common. Owning a homeowners insurance policy is a solid way to help reduce any costs associated with injuries. A homeowners insurance policy will often cover 2-4 animals, so choosing the animals you spend the most time with or looking into expanding your coverage may be the best route to go.
One of the final aspects of homeowners insurance that you will want to know about is theft coverage. Unfortunately, random break-ins are sometimes a reality of living in modern day America, and homeowners insurance can help cover the cost of items stolen from within your home. Again, with guns and jewelry aside, it is a good idea to have larger ticket items in your home appraised from time to time to get an exact amount of what they are worth. Knowing what your rare coin collection or antiques are worth can save you time and confusion when filing a claim after a break-in.
We often don’t want to think about worst case scenarios when buying a new home. Nobody wants to imagine losing a home to a tornado, being injured by their pet, or suffering a robbery. However, if you are able to consider these possibilities long enough to set up a quality homeowners insurance policy you can leave these fears behind for good, knowing that if they do come to pass you will have a great deal of help rebuilding or recovering. Often times, financial support provided by homeowners insurance policies makes the difference between surviving after a disaster and thriving after a disaster, so don’t get caught without proper homeowners insurance coverage- make an appointment with an agent today and buy peace of mind in the Lone Star State.
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