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Home Insurance FAQs

Doesn't my mortgage company insure my house? The insurance premium shows up as part of my monthly mortgage payment.
No. Many mortgage companies require homeowner insurance to protect their investment, and sometimes offer the convenience of sending the premium to the insurer for you. They will figure the cost into your monthly payment and hold it in escrow until it is due. But the policy is YOUR responsibility - from the company you choose to the types of coverage you select. If your mortgage holder chose for you, you should find out the details immediately, then shop around to see if you can find a better rate.

My house is worth $150,000 according to my tax bill, but my policy is for only $100,000. Am I underinsured?
Insurance covers you for the cost to rebuild/replace your home from the foundation up. Market value and insured value are different. The market value includes the land and may be influenced by intangibles, such as the school system or character of the neighborhood. Your insured value is based only on the cost of rebuilding your home from the foundation up. These costs can increase, so you should check every few years or add a guaranteed replacement cost provision to your policy to account for this.

If a tree falls in my yard, will my insurance pay for its removal?
Most policies will pay for debris removal, if there is damage to your house. You may want to check your policy limits for specifics or contact a professional insurance agent from your area.

I don't own a home, so why do I need homeowner insurance?
The term "homeowner" is slightly misleading, because it actually offers three kinds of protection that everyone should have, whether they own or rent.

  1. Personal Property coverage insures the things you own, such as furniture, electronics, jewelry, clothing or sports equipment.
  2. Liability Coverage insures you if you're ever sued for causing injury or loss to someone else. It covers legal expenses regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit, and medical payments and damages awarded if you are found legally at fault, up to the dollar amount specified in your policy.
  3. Loss of Use pays for temporary housing if your home is made uninhabitable by damage covered in your policy.

A homeowner policy for a renter is inexpensive. Ask a professional insurance agent from your area about renter insurance.

So, personal property coverage is for the things in my home?
Yes, but even if your things are NOT in your home they are covered. When you travel, everything you take with you is insured, as is everything you buy. There can be limits to this protection, however, so please check with a professional insurance agent from your area.

What isn't considered personal property under homeowner insurance?
Certain things must be covered by another type of policy. These include:

  • Pets and livestock
  • Radios, CD players, tape decks or CBs that are in a vehicle
  • Outdoor trees and shrubs
  • Aircraft
  • Vehicles
  • Anything you own that is rented to someone else

Are there any other exclusions I should know about?
Yes. Besides floods and earthquakes, there are some things that regular homeowner policies won't cover, including:

  • A power failure that originates off your property
  • Your failure to protect already damaged property from further damage after a loss.
  • Enforcement of local ordinances, such as one that forces you to tear down an addition or to repair the decay of a porch.
  • Water damage from a sewage overflow. (This is considered flood damage.)
  • War or nuclear peril.
  • Intentional damage, or damage from lack of maintenance or ordinary wear and tear.

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