Homeowner's Insurance protects you from financial losses caused by storms, fire, theft, and other events stated in your policy. It is important to know what is in your policy. Make sure you read all the fine details.
Texas Homeowner's Policies: You can buy a dwelling policy that covers only the structure of your house, but most homeowners buy a policy that combines five different coverage’s in a single policy.
- Dwelling - pays for damage or destruction to your house and any unattached structures and buildings such as fences, detached garages, and storage sheds.
- Personal property - pays for theft, damage, or destruction of the contents of your house, including furniture, clothing, and appliances.
- Liability - protects you against financial loss if you are sued and found legally responsible for someone else's injury or property damage. A homeowner's policy automatically provides $25,000 in coverage. You can buy up to $1 million in coverage for an extra premium.
- Medical Payments - pay medical bills for people hurt on your property. It also pays for home injuries that happen away from your home, such as your dog biting someone. A basic homeowner's policy pays $500 in medical bills. You can pay extra and get up to $5,000 in medical payments coverage.
- Loss of use - pays your additional living expenses (temporary housing, food, and other essential expenses) If your home is too damaged to live in during repairs. Most policies pay 10 to 20% of the amount of your dwelling coverage.
Types of Policies
- HO-A policies - provide extremely limited actual cash value coverage of your home and its contents. Only the types of damage specifically listed in the policy are covered.
- HO-A amended policies - provide more extensive coverage than the base HO-A amended policies may include replacement cost coverage and coverage of damage from sudden and accidental water discharges. Neither of these coverage is included in the base HO-A policy, Coverage provided by HO-A amended policies varies by company.
- HO-B policies - provide replacement cost coverage for most types of damage, except those specifically excluded in the policy. Generally HO-B policies provide the most coverage for the price, but some companies do not offer the HO-B policy.
- HO-C policies - provide the most extensive coverage, but they are more expensive than other types of policies.
What Homeowner's Policies Do and Do Not Cover
- Most policies cover losses caused by the following - fire and lightening, aircraft and vehicles, vandalism and malicious mischief, theft, explosion, riot and civil commotion, smoke, windstorm, hurricane, and hail (unless you live on the Gulf), sudden and accidental water damage.
- Most Policies Do Not Cover losses caused by the following - flooding, earthquakes, termites, insects, rats or mice, freezing pipes while your house is unoccupied (unless you turned off the water or heated the building, wind or hail damages to trees and shrubs, losses if your house is vacant for 60 days or more, wear and tear or maintenance, water damage resulting from continuous and repeated seepage, mold remediation. ?
Coverage for your Personal Property
- HO-B policies automatically cover household contents such as - furniture, clothes, appliances, etc. and up to 40% of the amount of your dwelling coverage. This means if your house is insured for $100,000 its contents are insured up to $40,000. You can get more coverage by paying a higher premium.
Other types of Insurance you Might need in Texas
- Flood Insurance - Homeowners policies do not cover flood damage. Flood policies can be purchased as a separate policy from the National Flood Insurance Program. Local Insurance agents sell NFIP Flood Policies.
- Hurricane and Windstorm Insurance - The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) is the state's insurer of last resort for wind and hail coverage in the 14 coastal counties and parts of Harris County on Galveston Bay. TWIA provides wind and hail coverage when insurance companies exclude it from homeowners and other property policies sold to coastal residents. You can buy TWIA coverage through local insurance agents if you need it.
***When a hurricane enters the Gulf of Mexico, you cannot purchase new Windstorm Coverage.***
- Factors that affect your premium are as follows - age and condition of your home, your home's replacement cost, and construction materials used in your home, where you live, availability of local fire protection, your claims history, and your credit score.
- Possible Discounts are as Follows - impact-resistant roofs- noncombustible roof’s, burglar, fire and smoke alarm systems, automatic sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, home security devices, age of home, premises in good condition, house insured to full replacement cost, good claims experience for three consecutive years, marking personal property with an identifying number, other policies with same company, and senior citizen discount.
Important web sites
www.choicetrust.com review claims on a property/clue report
www.helpinsure.com a free site that compares insurance companies rates, history, complaints, financial rating from an independent rating organization.
www.floodsmart.gov acquire information about flood insurance
www.twia.org acquire information about windstorm coverage