Houston home insurance can be a complex topic, and there’s a lot that the average homeowner doesn’t know. This is particularly true among new homeowners who tend to learn as the bad things happen. When it comes down to it, that’s what home insurance is all about: preparing for the bad things. With that in mind, let’s look at some facts you may not know that can help you save big over the long-term.
The Full Extent of Home Insurance Coverage
Many homeowners don’t know the full extent of the coverage provided by their Houston home insurance policies. The last thing you want is a bad surprise during an emergency. Look beyond basic repairs. What happens if a tree falls through your home and makes it unlivable? The policy will certainly cover tree removal and repair of the home, but does it cover a hotel, meals and other necessities?
Replacement Cost vs. Market Value
A key distinction that every homeowner should be aware of lies between replacement coverage and market value. When your Houston home insurance policy provides replacement coverage for particular damages, that means that the insurance company will cover the cost, minus the deductible, to replace it. When a policy gives market value, that means that the insurer will pay the value of your loss, which is depreciated and thus likely less than what it will cost to replace.
One of the great costs of owning your own home is maintaining it. Homes require maintenance on an annual basis, and many homeowners will put that maintenance off during times of financial challenge. What many homeowners don’t realize is that required maintenance is outlined in the fine print of their Houston home insurance policies. Failure to live up to that agreement can provide an insurance company the leverage it requires to deny a claim or limit the payout.
File a Claim Even When in Doubt
Two common mistakes that homeowners make is choosing not to make a claim because they assume something isn’t covered or worry that the claim will increase their rates. Let the insurance company tell you what is and what is not covered. There’s no penalty for being denied. Rates are affected by your claim history, and you certainly don’t want to make many frivolous claims, but the making of legitimate claims isn’t going to penalize you long-term.
When It Comes to Claims, Don’t Procrastinate
Another mistake many homeowners make is waiting to see how bad the damage actually is. Don’t do this. Insurers want to deal with a problem as soon as possible, so if you suspect damage to your home, even if it’s the middle of the night, file that claim right away. Get the ball rolling. You can always drop the claim before it finalizes. It won’t count against you. What you do want to avoid is either you or the insurer having to pay more due to your procrastination.
Home Upgrades Can Lower Your Premiums
Many people don’t realize that the characteristics of a home dictate the Houston home insurance rate. A home with smoke and carbon monoxide alarms will get a more favorable rate than a home that lacks them. These discounts are often available after the fact as well. For instance, if you install a monitored security system, many insurers will give you a discount that lowers your premiums. Each insurer is different. If you’re shopping for insurance, seek out discounts that compliment your home and lifestyle. If you’re currently under policy, ask your agent what discounts are available. In many cases, these upgrades will pay for themselves.
The Internet is an amazing resource and makes it a great time to be a homeowner. Hopefully some of the information you’ve discovered here helps you make better decisions, but be aware that there’s many more money saving tips out there for you to take advantage of. If you’d like to discover more ways to save, visit the form up top, and take a look at the valuable information that site makes available.
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