Texas Home Insurance: Answering the Top Nine Homeowner and Renter FAQs
Questions 1 to 3 – Homeowners Insurance
Whether you’re a homeowner or rent your property, it’s important to have adequate insurance coverage to protect your residence and its contents. It’s equally important to protect yourself in case an accident on your property causes an injury and results in a personal liability suit.
This series of posts was created by Angela Johnson Insurance to help clarify the nine most frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding Texas homeowner and renters insurance.
The first of a series, this post explains what is and what is not covered under a basic Texas Home Insurance policy and how to determine how much coverage you need. Our next post will explain renters insurance and the third and final post will provide tips on whether you need additional coverage beyond a basic policy and how to select additional coverage that’s right for you.
1. What does a basic Texas Home Insurance policy cover?
A basic Texas Home Insurance policy covers damage caused by disasters such as fire, lightning and hurricanes. Under most basic policies your home is protected from:
- Fire and smoke damage
- Lightning damage
- Damage caused by windstorm or hail
- Damage due to vandalism, malicious mischief, or theft
- Damage from vehicles and aircraft
- Damage caused by a riot or civil commotion
- Glass breakage
- Volcanic eruption
- Personal liability (limits depend on the policy)
2. What’s not covered under a basic Texas Home Insurance policy?
While a basic policy covers the cost of repairing the damage caused by a disaster such as a fire or storm, it does not include coverage for earthquakes or flooding. Earthquake coverage is sometimes available in the form of an endorsement to a basic policy – make sure to ask your agent.
The federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provides flood protection. Always purchase enough flood insurance for both your home and its contents.
For more information on the NFIP call 888-379-9531 or click on “Homeowners and Renters” at the FEMA website. There is a 30-day waiting period for an NFIP policy to go into effect.
3. How do I determine how much coverage I need for a basic policy?
It’s important to have enough coverage to replace your home and its contents in the event of an insured loss. Since we can’t predict the future, it is difficult to know exactly what this cost will be. Correctly estimating this amount is critical.
- Calculating the cost of replacing your home:
Start your estimate by multiplying the square footage of your home by the standard construction cost of $100 – $125 per square foot. The cost of rebuilding a custom home will be higher.
- Covering the cost of replacing the contents of your home:
Taking an inventory of the contents of your home is the best way to determine its replacement cost.
- Creating a Checklist for Your Home Inventory – You never know when you’ll need to file a claim under your policy, but you’ll be prepared if you complete a home inventory checklist. Take pictures of the property inventoried to accompany your list. Cell phone pictures work fine, and it’s important to keep your checklist up-to-date. Whenever you purchase something that’s kept in your home, add it to your list.
- A home inventory is what it sounds like; a detailed list of everything in your home…from basement to attic, furniture to fixtures. If you bought it, it goes on the list.For everything in the inventory, you’ll want to include a(n):
- Description of the item
- Serial number
- Purchase date
- Estimated value
- How you make the inventory is up to you though. You can write everything down in a notebook, make a spreadsheet, get super techy with cool inventory apps, or be creative and make a home movie of all your stuff (complete with a celebrity voice over). However you get it done, just make sure you’re as thorough as you can be!
Physically walk around your house to build your list. You don’t want to do it from memory, because we’re all humans and our memory isn’t always spot on.
- Go from room to room and organize your list that way. It’s faster and easier.
- Save receipts! You’ll want to describe the cost of your inventoried items, and receipts are much more accurate than guessing.
- Take pictures! Pull out that smart phone, disposable camera, or reliable old Polaroid and visually record the things on your inventory.
Once you’ve got your inventory (whatever form it takes), make sure to protect it. Store it in a safety deposit box, in a strong safe or lockbox, on a cloud storage service, or with a friend. Just make sure it’ll survive if there’s ever major damage to your home. Remember that’s what it’s there for!
Please contact Angela Johnson Insurance today if you have any questions about home insurance. We’re here to help!
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