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Property Insurance – The Basics

One of the largest financial investments we may make in our life is buying a home. Luckily, for certain scenarios like fire or hurricane damage, property insurance was created to lessen the financial burden of when we have a loss to our home.

What policy is right for you?

Homeowners Insurance

– Primarily for:

  • Single family homes
  • Occupied by the owner of property
  • Used as a primary, secondary or seasonal residence

Dwelling Fire Insurance

– Primarily for:

  • 1-4 family dwelling
  • Occupied by the owner of the property and/or a tenant
  • Used as a primary, secondary or seasonal residence and/or investment property

Tenant Insurance

– Primarily for:

  • Coverage for personal property only
  • For a tenant of a single family home, apartment and/or condo unit.

Unit-Owner Insurance

– Primarily for:

  • Partial coverage to Condominium Units, Villas, Townhomes
  • Occupied by the owner of the property and/or a tenant
  • Used as a primary, secondary or seasonal resided and/or investment property

** There are specialty policies for unique scenarios that fit outside of the basic policy type. Some of those scenarios may include vacant properties and properties under renovation/construction.

What questions can you expect an insurance agent to ask when securing a property insurance policy?

Insurable Interest

  • Who’s name is listed on the warranty deed and/or settlement statement?
  • Is the owner of the property an individual, trust or corporation?
  • Is there a mortgage, personal loan and/or equity line on the property?

Property Specifications

  • What is the property address?
  • What are the specifications of the property? (ie: year built, square footage etc.)
  • What discounts are the property qualified for? (ie: wind mitigation features, fire alarm etc.)

Occupancy and Usage

  • Who will occupy the property within the year? (ie: owner occupied, tenant etc.)
  • How will the property be used (ie: primary, seasonal, secondary etc.)

Claim History

  • What losses has the owner had at all properties owned by the owner?
  • What is the status of all claims made by the owner? (ie: open or closed)
  • Are there any existing disrepair to the property to-be insured?
  • Has the property to-be insured sustained any sinkhole losses and/or in an area with sinkhole activity

**It is to everyone’s benefit for application questions and answers to be as thorough and accurate as possible in order to secure coverage through the right product and company.

What should YOU be asking when obtaining property insurance?

Many insureds tend to ask these questions when it’s too late, but these questions should be asked and answered when obtaining your property insurance policy. The declaration page, policy forms and endorsements of your policy will provide answers to questions such as who is covered, what is covered and what exclusions exist.

The declaration page will include information such as the named insured, effective date, insured property address, policy limits and deductibles. This is typically unique to you and your insured property address.

The policy forms and endorsement will include details of what perils your property is covered for, who else is covered, what exclusions exist, and what the settlement value will be. This is typically unique to the policy form and endorsements selected and the company you are insured through.

Ultimately, it is the insured’s responsibility to understand the declaration page and policy forms at time of obtaining a property insurance policy. It is always strongly encouraged to review it carefully.

Things to do when you experience a loss

  • Take photos of the loss
  • Immediately, protect your property and take action to prevent further damage
  • If you are a unit-owner, contact your association or property management company for their assessment of the loss and clarity on their responsibility and your responsibility as the owner of the unit.
  • Obtain estimates from licensed professionals for repairs
  • If the cause of the loss falls within a scenario that would be covered by your insurance policy and above your deductible; contact your insurance company immediately to submit a claim. Be sure to write down your claim number, the claims adjuster’s name, contact number, and email address. Be prepared to cooperate, be responsive and available through the claim process.

For More information about Property and Casualty Insurance or if you have questions about your own policy, click here and Gigi will get back to you soon.