General Home Insurance Info For The New Buyer

General home insurance is the most basic home insurance one can get. It covers the costs of the damage to the policyholder's house and any personal property contained within the walls of the house. Most policies also provide legal coverage, taking covering the costs of injuries and related lawsuits sustained at the policyholder's home. Home insurance policies can seem complicated, but so long as they know what they are doing, even the new home insurance buyers should be able to find an insurance policy that fits their needs.

What home insurance covers

Home insurance policies offer several different types of coverage. While the specifics differ depending on the company, they generally fall into two categories.

Property insurance - covers physical damage. This includes the following types of coverage:                                         

Dwelling Coverage – Covers the house itself and the attached structures, as well as plumbing, heating, built-in air conditioning systems and electrical wiring.

Other Structures Coverage – Covers detached structures such as garages and storage sheds, as well as fences, driveways and sidewalks.

Personal Property Coverage – Covers personal belongings of all of the home’s permanent residents. Certain types of property, such as firearms, artwork and jewelry, may be covered under certain limits that are based on their value. 

Loss of Use Coverage – Covers living expenses for policyholders who can’t live in their homes while they are being repaired. This only applies if their living expenses exceed their normal home-related expenses.

Liability protection - covers the cost personal injuries and property damaged that happened in the policyholder's house to someone who wasn't the homeowner or a member of his or her immediate family. This includes legal costs and medical expenses for any guest who was injured on the buyer's property, regardless of who is at fault.

Shopping Around

New buyers can choose a variety of home insurance policies from a wide variety of insurance companies. They should look at both the types of coverage offered and the rates at which they are offered. Ideally, they would be able to find a cheap coverage that fits all their needs, but usually, they have to compromise. Buyers should carefully consider their options and see if there is any type of coverage they can do without. For example, if their property doesn't have any detached structures, there is no reason why they should buy other structures coverage. 

In many cases, insurance providers give discounts on their policies. They can be divided into two categories:

Home security discounts – discounts for  taking steps to make the home more safe and secure. Depending on the policy, this can include anything from installing deadbolt locks and burglary-resistant windows to installing smoke alarms and a security system.  More recently, some insurance companies have been offering discounts for making the house more energy-efficient.

Good behavior discounts – discounts for buyers who take steps to take care of your health. This can include abstaining from smoking and/or maintaining a clean driving record.

Avoiding Scams

Unfortunately, not all insurance providers are exactly what they appear to be. New buyers are particularly vulnerable to this, since they don't have much experience shopping for home insurance. They should always be careful and skeptical. If something is too good to be true, it probably is. The best way to weed out fraud is to check the provider's license. The state attorney general's offices maintain lists of licensed insurance providers in their respective regions. Depending on the state, buyers can either call the insurance hotline or look it up at the attorney general's website.

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