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Homeowners Insurance Information
Homeowners Insurance in Birmingham, Hoover, Vestavia Hills, Mountain Brook, Pelham and across Alabama
Also serving Georgia and Tennessee
Because everyone's needs are not the same, it is best to consult your agent to help assess your needs and find the insurance policy that is right for you.
What is Homeowners insurance?
Homeowners insurance provides financial protection against disasters. A standard policy insures the home itself and the things you keep in it.
Homeowners insurance is a package policy. This means that it covers both damage to your property and your liability or legal responsibility for any injuries and property damage you or members of your family cause to other people. This includes damage caused by household pets.
Most standard Homeowners insurance policies cover the cost to replace your home as well as your personal property in the event of a covered loss such as fire, smoke, ligtening, hail, wind, theft or vandalism, etc. A comprehensive Homeowners policy will also offer coverage for living expenses if you are not able to live in your home while it is being repaired. Medical Expense coverage is an option on most Homeowners policies that can cover medical expenses and legal fees if someone other than you, and your family, that is not living in the home is injured on the property. Other Stuctures such as a detatched garage, storage buildings, fencing, etc that are not attached to your home can also be covered on a Homeowner's policy.
Damage caused by most disasters are covered but there are exceptions. The most significant are damage caused by floods, earthquakes, sink hole and poor maintenance. You must buy separate policies for flood and sometimes for earthquake or sink hole coverage as well (some carriers can add sink hole or earthquake coverage as an endorsement). Maintenance-related problems are the homeowners' responsibility.
Most Homeowners policies cover your personal property at a rate of 50% - 70% of the dwelling amount. We recommend that you keep a good inventory of your personal property including videos, photographs, and keep a list of the purchase price and where big ticket items were purchased. In some cases it is a good idea to add an Inland Marine rider or policy to give you more comprehensive coverage for things like jewelry, guns, furs, silver, cameras, etc. After your personal property inventory is complete if you think you need more than the coverage automatically included on the policy let your agent know you may need additional coverage.
Why do you need homeowners insurance?
It is really all about protecting yourself financially if something unexpected happens to your home or possessions. That's important because chances are your home is likely one of your largest investments.
- If your home was destroyed by fire or damaged by a natural disaster, you'd need money to repair or replace it. Alabama and surrounding states like Georgia, Tennessee, and Missippi are states that can be affected by tornadoes, severe thunderstorms producing high winds and hail, and even tropical storms or hurricanes. It is very important in these southern states to make sure you are insured to the full replacement cost of your home and that you have enough coverage to also replace your belongings and pay for another place to live while your home is being repaired or rebuilt.
- If a guest in your home is injured, liability protection and medical coverage help pay expenses.
- If you are a victim of theft and vandalism, it can reimburse you for your loss or pay for repairs.
- If you are still paying for your home, your lender will require insurance. It is important to understand that most lenders only require you to insure the home to an amount that will pay off the mortgage, but in many cases that will not be suffient to rebuild your home or replace your belongings.
It is important to know that homeowners insurance is meant to cover unexpected damage, not routine maintenance. Ask your agent to talk about what is covered and be sure to read your policy so you know exactly what's included and what is not.
Things to consider and questions to ask your agent
Here are few things to discuss with your agent that will influence your decisions.
- How much will it cost to rebuild my house and replace my belongings if they are damaged or destroyed? (Ask your agent to talk you through your home's features and the things you own so you can make an informed decision about coverage.)
- Do you have full Replacement Cost or an Actual Cash Value policy? (Replacement Cost will pay for full repair or replacement cost in the case of a covered claim, but an Actual Cash Value policy will pay a depreciated amount on full and partial losses which may not be enough to rebuild or repair your home)
- Does the insurance company have a good reputation for customer service? Is it known for paying claims fairly and promptly?
- What discounts are available? (Ask about multiple policy, security system and fire resistance discounts.)
- What's the process for filing and settling a claim? (Ask who to call and what happens after you file a claim.)
Our office is in Alabama, but we happily serve customers in Tennessee and Georgia as well. We proud to serve the people of Birmingham, Hoover, Vestavia Hills, Mountain Brook, Pelham and the surrounding areas.
Call us today at 205-291-4100 or fill out an online quote now.