|Homeowner's Insurance: How to Be Insurance Smart
Source: Arlene H. Hull for LIFELines
If it starts to rain for 40 days and 40 nights next week, and your home floods, will your insurance company cover the damages? If lightening strikes your home, are you covered for those damages? If you back your car out of the garage before opening the garage door, who covers that?
And now for the big IF: If you live in government quarters, is the government responsible for these potential losses?
If you suffer losses or damage to your personal property as a result of damage to the structure (your quarters) while you are living in military housing, you can file a claim against the government (or the independent housing contractor, as a result of privatization of housing on bases) for those losses, as long as you are not at fault for the damages.
Rose Raber, housing manager for Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot, S.C., advises that all military service members should carry their own insurance coverage for their personal property, whether they live on base or in town. Having your own insurance coverage provides you with continuity of coverage as you move in and out of military housing and civilian housing over the years.
Learn the Lingo
Be familiar with insurance terms and the different coverages provided by the different types of insurance. This will help you make an informed decision when choosing your insurance coverage. Having all of your insurance policies written by one company helps you to avoid double coverage.
- Homeowner's insurance: covers the structure as well as the contents of your home if you own it and reside in it. Coverage for flood, earthquake, or other perils may require additional policy endorsements.
- Renter's insurance: covers your personal property (clothes, furniture, dishes, etc.) when you live in a home that you rent from someone else.
- Dwelling insurance: covers damage to the actual structure of a home that you own but rent out to another party (sometimes referred to as a fire policy).
- Flood insurance: covers your loss as a result of water, such as rising tides, river flooding, or even mud slides.
- Earthquake insurance: covers your loss as a result of an earthquake.
- Personal liability: covers what you would be responsible for if another party suffered a loss as a result of an accident on your property. This policy would also cover your liability if a tenant in your property suffered losses for which they did not have insurance and held you, as the property owner, responsible.
- Deductible: that part of the loss that you agree to be responsible for. If you carry a $500 deductible and you have a $2,000 claim, you are responsible for the first $500, and the insurance company will pay the remaining $1,500.
Exactly what your insurance policy covers, what coverage you should have, how much deductible you can afford, and when enough is enough and too much is too much are all important questions to ask when making insurance coverage decisions.