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A Beginner's Guide to Homeowners Insurance

Homeowner's insurance falls into two categories: buildings insurance and contents insurance. Usually you can't buy or mortgage a home without first buying buildings insurance as lenders see this as being the only way that you will be able to protect the assets that the bank shares with you.

Buildings insurance is considered to be mandatory homeowner's insurance.

Contents insurance is more of an elective choice that protects you in case of fire or burglary and allows you to replace personal items that may have been lost.

Buildings insurance protects your home from every kind of disaster imaginable and as the name suggests insures such things as fixtures, fittings, baths, toilets, kitchen cupboards and interior decorations. This type of homeowner's insurance will cover you for damages caused by explosions, earthquakes, fire, riots, vandalism, storms, flood damage, objects (such as airplane parts) falling from heaven, landslides, animal attack, collision with a vehicle and leakage from pipes, water tanks, septic tanks and heating installations.

Most buildings insurance policies usually cover other erections on your property such as garages, greenhouses and garden sheds. However, you will have to check with the insurer to find out if such things as boundary walls, fences, gates, paths, drives and swimming pools are covered in your policy.

Most buildings policies also offer cover for a range of other issues that concern the homeowner such as paying the cost for a hotel if your home becomes uninhabitable, damage to underground pipes and cables supplying gas, electricity, oil, water, or sewage, and damage to n glass in doors, windows and skylights.

There are limits (called excesses) and exclusions to every homeowners insurance policy. The excess is the amount of money that you have to pay towards the cost of a claim and exclusions are potential situations that are NOT covered by the policy. When it comes to building insurance, homeowners can expect to pay higher excesses if they live in areas that are at high risk of fire or flood damage. Exclusions from homeowner's insurance can include such things as a house that is damaged from war, houses that have been exposed to radioactivity or houses whose value has been affected by a violent crime.

The intention of homeowner's building insurance is to pay for the cost of rebuilding your house. The insurance company may not consider this to be the same thing as the market value of your house. Many insurance companies give rough guides to the level of insurance needed for modern homes and quite a few offer unlimited coverage. This means your home is automatically covered for the full cost of rebuilding.

The costs of rebuilding may also be a factor when it comes to deciding what your cost for homeowner's insurance might be. Costs of rebuilding vary according to local construction costs, and the expense and availability of labor and materials in your area. Costs for homeowner's insurance are also affected by regional crime rates and geological factors. For instance, if you built your house right on the edge of the edge of the River Nile and it floods every year, your homeowners insurance will go way up.

Whether you are buying building or contents insurance, it really does pay to shop around and look for the homeowner's insurance that is best for you. Just by making a few phone calls, savvy shoppers have been known to cut the cost of their homeowner's insurance premiums by as much as $400 a year.



 

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