Statistically speaking, your home is the largest investment you’ll make in your life time. Making sure you have the correct homeowners insurance coverage is key to protecting that investment when the unthinkable occurs. Here in Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Naples we tend to look at wind storms as the main reason to purchase home owners insurance – and while we certainly have our share of wind related losses, let’s take a look at some of the other more common homeowners insurance claims:
1. Water Damage – From leaky roofs, cracked pipes and broken washing machine hoses, water damage occurs with surprising frequency. Older homes are considerably more susceptible to water damage losses if plumbing and drain systems are not cared for properly. You may be surprised to find that insurance company’s will not cover all water damage claims; talk to your agent and research the insurance carriers to find coverage that will provide adequate coverage in all it’s forms. Also remember that home owners insurance never covers flood damage – A separate policy for flood must be purchased for that specific cause of loss.
2. Wind and Hail – In many states and especially here in Southwest Florida, wind and hail home insurance claims are among the most common causes for making the dreaded phone call to your agent. While most wind and hail losses are not total losses, the consequential damage from having a portion of your roof damaged or blown off can be quite expensive. Additionally, falling trees and yard debris can cause severe damage your siding, doors and windows. While there is nothing you can do to avoid a windstorm, you can mitigate the likelihood of damage by installing storm shutters and updating your roof. For more information on wind mitigation ideas and insurance premium credits that may be available, click here.
3. Fire – House fires occur suddenly and without warning and can take a devastating toll on you and your family. Fortunately, almost all home insurance policies will cover for this type of loss and most carriers offer quick painless relief to help you start the rebuilding process. Often times however, problems can arise if the insurance company feels like the damages sought are unrealistic or unreasonable. It is extremely important that every home owner not only document the value of their personal property (i.e. keeping receipts, taking pictures or video) but also regularly communicate changes in the value to their agent and to discuss additional coverage options such as temporary housing and the additional cost of living expenses.
4. Accidents to Visitors – As a homeowner you are charged with the safety of the visitors at your premises. Whether it is a guest, contractor or non-resident family member you could be held liable in court for injury’s that may occur while they are at your home. In many homeowners insurance policy’s there are built in coverages to protect you from claims arising from things like slip and falls. It’s important to talk to your agent about additional options like umbrellas or excess liability policy’s that will protect you for losses that may exceed the limit included in your home owners policy.
5. Dog Bites – Just as you are responsible for the safety of your premises, you are also responsible for the actions of your pets. Animal attacks to guests or neighbors can carry substantial court and medical costs regardless of the circumstance or who was at really at fault. These types of claims can often be covered under a pet liability endorsement available through your home owners insurance policy. However, some breeds of dogs like Chows, Rottweilers and Pit Bulls may not be eligible for coverage. Typically, this endorsement is inexpensive and can be added to your policy for as little as $25 a year.