Homeowner’s Insurance Basics

Homeowners insurance exists because a home is a huge investment, often one of the largest purchases many people make in their lifetimes. Naturally, people want to protect the value of their precious property. Homeowners insurance is a contract between a homeowner and an insurance company. As long as the owner pays the required premiums and meets the other policy requirements, the insurance company guarantees to reimburse the owner for any losses incurred due to natural disasters or human-caused damage.

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What Does It Cover?

A basic homeowner’s insurance policy protects the owner against any property damage that results from things like fire, lightning, wind or hail storms. It will also provide for motel and food costs if you are forced to leave your home while such damages are repaired.

A typical policy, however, does not cover flood or earthquake damage. Because these issues are usually specific to certain regions of the country and can cause extreme damage, these can be purchased as separate policies. If you live in a flood zone or near an earthquake fault line you may be required by your mortgage company to carry these protections.

A basic policy will also cover homeowners against loss from theft or vandalism as well as reimbursement for personal property destroyed in natural disasters. It will also provide for something that many people may not normally associate with home protection – liability coverage for lawsuits brought against the owner by people who were injured on the property. This includes the cost of legal defense up to the allowed policy limit. Additionally, most policies will have a provision that will cover the basic medical expenses for the parties.

Is It Required?

Homeowners insurance is almost universally required by mortgage companies with the purchase of a home. This is because the investment is almost as big for them as it is for you. They want to make sure the property is protected from major damages so that if you are ever unable to keep up with your payments, the lender can then reclaim ownership and be able to sell it fairly easily. And even if you own your home outright, a good insurance policy is still the best way to protect the value of your home in the face of the unexpected.

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