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How to Compare Homeowner's Insurance Policies

C omparing insurance polices to make sure you select the best one for you requires more than simply comparing the cost. At Simeone & Miller, LLP, LLP, we would be happy to help you review your policy to see if it economically meets your needs. Here are five tips that you can use yourself:

1. Some insurance companies allow you to select the amount of casualty insurance you purchase. That coverage pays you if your property is damaged by fire or some other disaster. However, others require you to purchase the amount of coverage that they calculate as necessary. For companies that do the computation themselves, they can often come up with a value higher than the amount for which you want or need. If so, you will be paying for too much insurance. So, be sure to review that amount and ask if you can pick the proper amount of casualty insurance based on what you believe to be the cost to rebuild your home if destroyed. If the insurance company requires you to buy insurance for more than that amount, you may want to shop around.

2. Also, you should consider an umbrella policy, if you have significant assets. That policy provides extra liability coverage for both your homeowners and auto policy. Liability coverage protects you by paying for injuries and damages you cause other people, including, for example, when someone slips and injures themselves on your property and suffers personal injuries. You want to make sure you obtain homeowner’s insurance through a company that offers both homeowner’s insurance and auto insurance or that works in tandem with a company that provides the additional coverage.

For example, Allstate and Nationwide offer both home and auto coverage, so you can get an umbrella policy through them. GEICO does not offer homeowners insurance, but has an agreement with Liberty Mutual whereby you can buy homeowners coverage through Liberty Mutual, automobile insurance through GEICO and an umbrella policy through Geico. If you obtain auto insurance from a company that does not offer homeowner’s coverage and does not have an arrangement with another insurance company, like GEICO does, then you may have difficulty getting an umbrella policy and should shop around.

3. Insurance companies often try to win business by providing the lowest quote. Unfortunately, they sometimes accomplish this by reducing the coverage you are receiving. So, it is important to compare two quotes to make sure they provide the same coverage (and that you need the coverage). Remember that there is always a reason why one company is charging less than another - sometimes it is because they are actually providing you less insurance. So, compare the coverage amounts as well as the prices.

4. Landlords and tenants should each be careful to purchase only the insurance they need. For instance, owners of rental properties should insure the property, but do not need to insure the tenant's personal belongings. Similarly, renters need to insure their belongings, but t not the property. Therefore, be sure to explain to the insurance agent your situation and then ensure that the policy offered meets your specific needs and you are not buying unnecessary insurance.

5. Homeowner's insurance can include Medical Expense coverage. That pays for medical expenses (not for pain and suffering) in the event any person (other than a trespasser) is injured on the premises. It is a form of no-fault insurance, so there is no need for the injured person to prove that the owner was at fault, or that he was not at fault. Instead, he merely needs to prove that he was injured while on the property. If you have health insurance, you can safely waive or reduce it to the minimum amount required. If you do not have health insurance, this may be more valuable and worth purchasing more than the minimum.

Again, if you have questions and would like a free consultation to discuss whether you have the right insurance, contact Simeone & Miller, LLP and ask for a free insurance review.