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Do you REALLY have the homeowners' insurance that fit your needs?


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TRUSTDale Tip of the Day: *The Beginner's Guide To Homeowners' Insurance

Insurance. Do your eyes glaze over just reading the word? It may not be the most thrilling subject, but it's essential for new homebuyers to understand the nuts and bolts of their homeowners insurance. Virtually all mortgage lenders require insurance coverage to protect their investment. If the house you live in is destroyed, the real owners - and in most cases, that's the bank - would suffer a huge monetary loss.

What a Homeowners' Policy Provides

The elements of a standard homeowners' insurance policy provide that the insurer will cover costs related to:

  • Damage to the interior or exterior of your house - In the event of damage due to fire, hurricanes, lightning, vandalism or other covered disasters, your insurer will compensate you so that your house can be repaired or even completely rebuilt. Damage that is the result of floods, earthquakes and poor home maintenance is generally not covered and you may require separate riders if want that type of protection. (To learn how to protect yourself and what financial documents you need in your emergency kit, see Preparing For Nature's Worst.)
  • Loss or damage to your personal belongings - Clothing, furniture, appliances and most of the other contents of your home are covered if they're destroyed in an insured disaster. You can even get "off-premises" coverage, so you could file a claim for lost jewelry, for example - no matter where in the world you lost it. There may be a limit on the amount your insurer will reimburse you. Even if your Rolex or mink coat is damaged at home, there will be a limit on the coverage for that, too - unless you purchase a separate "floater" policy that insures the item for its full appraised value.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, most insurance companies will provide coverage for 50-70% of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of your home.

If your house is insured for $200,000, there would be up to about $140,000 worth of coverage for your possessions - would this be enough for you?

In order to answer this question, you would need to have a list of all your possessions and their value, also called a "home inventory".