Homeowners Insurance 101

Dated: 12/24/2017

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WHAT IS HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE

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The type of home insurance coverage you will need to buy will depend on whether you rent or own your home in Baton Rouge. Homeowners and landlords usually need complete home insurance. 

Those who rent typically only need rental coverage but your coverage depends on your circumstances.

There are 3 main Home Insurance (or Flat Insurance) policies: Buildings Insurance, Contents Insurance, and Combined Building & Contents Cover. Buildings insurance cover protects the structure, the fixtures, and fittings in your home in Baton Rouge; while contents insurance covers your belongings.

Combined buildings & contents cover is only suitable for people who own their homes in Baton Rouge. If you rent, buildings cover should be handled by your landlord. Contents insurance, however, is your responsibility and should be considered by everyone.

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Included: What does home and contents insurance cover?

The contents part of your insurance protects you from damage and theft to possessions in your home, garage and shed. The buildings part protects the structure of your home and permanent fixtures and fittings, such as doors and sanitary equipment (baths, basins, toilets, and showers).

It can differ from policy to policy, but home insurance will usually cover damage from storms, flooding, earthquakes, fire, lightning, explosions, theft, riots, and vandalism.

It also covers damage from falling trees, motor vehicles and escaping water (such as a burst pipe). Your cover should also protect you against subsidence (a shifting of the ground, which can cause your house in Baton Rouge to sink).

Image titleMost policies will also cover the cost of a hotel or B&B if you can't stay in your home following a fire or a flood like the great flood of 2016, replacement keys and locks if they are damaged or your keys go missing, spoiled food if your freezer breaks down and the replacement of cash stolen from your home. There are limits on how much you can claim for, so if you're concerned about fancy frozen goods or you have cash hidden in your mattress, check your policy carefully.

Both contents and buildings policies give you legal liability protection as the occupier and owner, of the home in Baton Rouge. This means that as part of the contents policy, the insurer will cover you and your legal costs if a visitor to your home is seriously injured and it's deemed to be your fault. 
Excluded: What's often left out of cover?
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It also doesn't cover damage due to normal wear and tear. Your policy may also be invalid if your house is unoccupied for more than 30 consecutive days during the year.

There's also usually only limited cover for accidental damage. Check the small print carefully before you buy.

Not being in your home can have consequences for your cover. If you sub-let your home in Baton Rouge, you won't be able to claim if you are burgled and there's no sign of forced entry. Or if you're away for a long time and a pipe burst, your insurer may not pay out.

Insurers won't protect everything in your home just because you've bought coverage – lookout for situations where you'll need to make special arrangements. If you have a stash of high-value items, there may be a limit on the insurance.


Accidents: What happens if I damage my home or its contents unintentionally?

Most people have probably accidentally smashed a window, or broken a sink or other fixtures or fittings. Most standard policies usually cover you for limited accidental damage, such as a broken window.

Some contents will also be covered for accidental damage. Electrical goods may be insured for instance, but if you spill paint on your carpet, it's unlikely to be covered.

Many insurers offer extra cover for an additional cost. If you're particularly clumsy, you should give it some thought. Read your terms and conditions carefully to see what you are and aren't covered for as standard. 


Homeworkers: I'm working from home. Is my business equipment covered?

More and more people run businesses from their homes. Whether your working equipment will be covered varies from policy to policy. Some insurers will cover your computer or work phone automatically, others may not. It's important to check with your insurer and notify it if you work from home – it can drastically affect your policy. 


And remember...If you want or need help in any or all of your Orlando real estate needs, don't hesitate to contact a local Orlando Realtor.  We also help those looking to buy Florida New Construction by giving a New Construction Rebate which helps buyers with closing costs or maybe furnishing that new home!

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Jesse Smith

A lifelong native of the Central Florida area, Jesse Smith is knowledgeable about the many facets of Central Florida real estate, and can help you navigate your way through the buying/selling process ....

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