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House with Double GarageWhether you are about to buy your first home or move to a new home, researching homeowners insurance is probably on your to-do list. Buying homeowners insurance isn't something to take lightly. When the time comes to make a claim on your policy, you will be glad that you took the time to learn the following six important questions — which should be asked during the shopping process. According to the Insurance Information Institute, you shouldn't buy or renew a policy until you've gotten satisfactory answers to these crucial questions.
  • "If my home is destroyed, how much will it cost to rebuild in its current location?"Homeowners insurance protects you should disaster strike. Make sure your policy will enable you to rebuild your home, in its location, should it be destroyed in a fire, hurricane, or other disaster. Your agent should be able to calculate how much it will cost to rebuild your home.
  • "If my home is destroyed, how much are the contents of my home worth?" Similarly, if your home is destroyed, your belongings will be too. Take inventory of your possessions and their values (furniture, appliances, clothes, electronics, artwork, etc.) A good rule of thumb is to cover your personal property in an amount ranging from 50%-70% of what your structure is covered for.
  • "How much liability coverage should I buy?" Liability insurance protects you should you, your family members, or your pets be sued for causing injury or property damage. Typically, liability coverage of $300,000 is a good rule of thumb, unless you have significant assets. In that case, consider an umbrella policy for more protection.
  • "How much additional living expense coverage should I buy?" If you aren't able to live in your home due to a disaster covered by your insurance policy, your Additional Living Expense (ALE) coverage kicks in and pays for hotel, meals, and additional expenses. It's wise to have ALE coverage valuing at least 20% of the amount your home is insured for. If your homes is covered for $200,000, purchase ALE coverage of at least $40,000.
  • "Do I need to buy stand-alone flood and/or earthquake insurance policies?" Most homeowners policies do not include coverage for damage resulting from floods or earthquakes. If you live in an area prone to flooding and/or earthquakes, you should very seriously consider buying standalone policies.
  • "Am I eligible for any discounts?" Many insurers offer discounts on premiums for customers who have security systems, smoke detectors, and other safety equipment. They also may offer senior-citizen or military discounts. It never hurts to ask!
If buying a home is your biggest investment, buying homeowners insurance is, arguably, the single most important thing you can do to protect your investment. For expert advice and the best Georgia home insurance coverage, call Fleming & Riles Insurance at (800) 833-4379.
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