7 questions to ask your agent about homeowner insurance

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It pays to ask questions about your insurance.

When you’re shopping for homeowner insurance, remember that policies can vary widely. Some coverages may be included, and others may be available for additional premium.

Here are some questions you might want to ask your independent insurance agent:

    1. Is my home covered for full replacement cost? This is one of the key distinctions between homeowner policies, and you’ll want to know the answer. If your home is covered only for its current market value – or worse, your loan amount – you are likely underinsured and would not be able to rebuild the home to its current state in the event of a loss. Make sure the insured value takes into consideration all of your home’s features. The cost to rebuild is likely to be significantly more than the current market value or your loan amount. See our prior blogs: Don’t be surprised by the cost to rebuild your home; 7 factors to help nail down your home’s reconstruction cost; and Insurance TLC for your historic home
    2. How much is the deductible on my policy? The deductible is the amount of a loss that you pay. If you can afford a high deductible with savings or other resources, you can usually reduce your premiums. Your agent can help you find the right balance.
    3. Does my policy include earthquake coverage? Not all policies do. If yours doesn’t, you may be able to obtain earthquake coverage for additional premium. Your agent can advise you on the need for earthquake coverage in your area. Don’t assume that you don’t need it.
    4. How much coverage do I have on the contents of my home? Contents coverage is usually a percentage of the insured value of the home. Some policies automatically provide contents coverage of 50 percent of the value of the structure, others provide 70 or 75 percent. And, you may be able to increase the amount of coverage for additional premium.
    5. Does my policy insure against water damage from sewer backups, sump overflows or water pressure from below the ground surface? Most standard policies do not provide coverage for these losses, but you may be able to obtain coverage for additional premium.
    6. Does my policy provide any coverage for disappearance of jewelry or silverware? While a policy may provide a specified limit of coverage for theft of these items, “mysterious disappearance” of these items may not be covered. Ask your agent to clarify this, and inquire if coverage is available at additional premium.
    7. Does my policy provide any liability coverage for slander, libel, defamation of character, invasion of privacy or identity theft? Some homeowner policies automatically cover these items while others require an extra premium. Know before you buy.

 Ask your agent to help you evaluate your needs and your situation so that you have no surprises should you have a claim.


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16 Responses to “7 questions to ask your agent about homeowner insurance”

  1. Jonathan G

    I’ve been using a HomeOwner management software (startup) called ZeneHome.com which really handles a lot of the annoying parts of being a homeowner. They assign you a Representative and digitize your insurance, mortgage, property tax info, eligible energy rebates and Bills & Services. What they do is optimize your vendors/policies, similar to CreditKarma, and give you peer grades, and look for ways to save money. If they identify things you are overpaying for, THEY handle the processing whether its a better insurance policy or a refi or qualifying for an energy rebate, all for free. Definitely the future and free is never a bad thing…

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  2. Laurie

    When I was just getting started out, I moved to another state. The insurance agent I went to said something about needing earthquake coverage – I had no clue there was a possibility of earthquakes in that area. Insurance agents are full of knowledge and there to help you get the coverage that you need. This is a great list of questions to get started, thanks!

  3. Nash Rich

    The first thing I would probably ask is about earthquake coverage, because where I live, there could be a big earthquake any day. I’m paranoid about things like that. I think checking out all the things your insurance covers is really important because different companies offer different things sometimes. At least that I know of.

  4. Zequek Estrada

    These seven questions cover items that I hadn’t thought to ask about home insurance. I wasn’t aware that you could find coverage for the disappearance of jewelry or silverware. These are some things I need to make sure to remember when I buy my first home.

  5. Olivia Nelson

    I like your tip on asking how much the deductible on your insurance policy is. I would imagine that knowing things like your deductible and premiums would be a good way to ensure you get a good insurance policy. My husband and I are looking for a new insurance policy so we should probably find out as much about our deductible as possible.

  6. Burt Silver

    My wife and I are in the process of closing on a new home. I am a little worried about finding the right homeowner insurance. This article is very helpful to anybody seeking to understand more about homeowner insurance. I like that you talked about contents coverage, and finding out how much of the stuff inside your home is covered.

  7. Jay Jorgenson

    A couple of years ago my sister went to an insurance agency to discuss her homeowner insurance. Since insurance is a very wide, complicated topic, I can see how this was a good idea for her. I think it’s always a great idea to collaborate with your insurance agent to make sure you have all the information you need.

  8. Jenna Hunter

    I had no idea home insurance could cover the “mysterious disappearance” of jewelry of silverware! I have a lot of jewelry that I want to keep safe! Looks like this question will be on top my list for my agent!

  9. Jade Brunet

    I appreciate this information about the questions to ask your agent about homeowner insurance. I did not realize that it was beneficial to ask if your policy included earthquake coverage. This would be particularly helpful if you live in an earthquake prone area. Something to consider would be to find a plan that represents you well for a price within your budget.

  10. Scott

    I had no idea that some insurance policies don’t include earthquake coverage. I can see why this would be important to ask about if you live in an area with a lot of earthquake threats. I am thinking about buying a house next summer. I’ll have to keep this in mind when I hire an insurance agent.

  11. Burt Silver

    I never would have thought to ask whether or not my home has coverage for earthquakes. I have never experienced an earthquake in our area before, but it can never hurt to be too safe. I will have to look into my policy to see if I am covered in that regard.

  12. Bernard Clyde

    These are useful questions to have in mind as I work with my insurance company. It’s good to think about the smaller things – like jewelry and silverware coverage. Those expense can add up even though they are little things.

  13. Luke Smith

    I didn’t know that some homeowner insurance policies would only cover a home for it’s current market value and not for full replacement costs! I would imagine that being surprised by this in the event that you needed to use your insurance could be quite upsetting. Talking with your insurance provider to be sure you know exactly what sort of coverage you have sounds like a very good way to make sure you can plan for the future.

  14. John

    I like how this article goes over questions to ask about your homeowner’s insurance. I really like how the article recommends making sure you are informed as to what exactly your policy covers. I would want to be prepared and informed about what I’m covered by so i’m not hit with any surprises when I go to submit a claim.

  15. Jason Blackhull

    Thank you for sharing. Great content.

  16. Alice Jones

    Thank you for listing these questions to consider asking insurance companies. My mom is looking for a new insurance company for us. I think I’ll show this article with my mother so that she ask these questions with potential insurance agencies.

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