I am like most people when they buy their house. Owning a home forced me to think about homeowners’ insurance. I had plenty of questions about this insurance coverage. Getting satisfactory answers was important to me. I may have even more questions when I renew an existing homeowner’s insurance policy. An experienced agent has always been able to handle my questions. I’ve determined there are at least five questions you need to ask before purchasing a homeowners insurance policy.

1. What Is Liability Protection?
I’ve learned that to have the correct amount of liability protection for your home, you will need to know how much protection is necessary. Keep in mind that liability coverage is designed to protect you against lawsuits involving property damage as well as bodily injury if you or a family member are determined to have caused it. Your policy will cover the costs associated with defending you in court as well as paying any awards a court may issue against you. The amount is determined by the limits of your policy. This coverage is not just during the time you are in your home, but anywhere you are in the world. You may need to have an even higher liability limit if you have significant assets. This coverage will also pay for any damage caused by your pets. It may also be a good idea to ask an insurance representative about an umbrella liability policy.

2. How Much Is Provided for Home Rebuilding?
You should also want to know how much it would cost to rebuild your home at its current location. Ask for a price that would cover a total loss. The homeowner’s insurance policy you purchase should be able to cover all the costs associated with building you a new house from scratch. An insurance company representative will know about the neighborhood where you live. They will be familiar with the construction materials necessary to build your house back to its original form. This knowledge makes it possible for them to accurately calculate the cost. A homeowners insurance policy should cover the partial or the total loss of your house if it results from lightning, fire, hail, hurricane, or other types of disasters mentioned in your homeowner’s insurance policy. Losses associated with earthquakes and flooding must be separately insured. Both of these are excluded from a standard homeowners insurance policy.

3. Do I Need Flood or Earthquake Coverage?
You need to know if you should buy a separate policy for earthquake and flood coverage. Some homeowners need to purchase both. It is too common for this to be overlooked by homeowners. There have been years when significant flooding and earthquake events took place. Many homeowners were put in a bad situation because they mistakenly believed it would be covered by their standard homeowner’s insurance policy. You should speak with an insurance company representative to learn if you require either of these types of insurance policies. This is specialized insurance coverage. It is purchased in addition to your standard homeowner’s policy. Flood insurance coverage is available from the federal government. This is provided by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Earthquake coverage is often provided as a supplemental policy. In California, this coverage is provided by the California Earthquake Authority.

4. What About My Personal Property?
When determining the proper coverage, you will need to know the value of the personal property in your home that may need to be replaced. The homeowner’s insurance policy you purchase should cover the cost of replacing your personal property. This includes clothing, furniture, appliances, and more. It should cover your property destroyed by fire, a hurricane, or other disaster. It is common for an insurance representative to recommend a homeowner get up to $70,000 worth of coverage for their personal property. It could equal up to 70 percent of the amount of coverage you have on your house. One of the best ways you can determine if you have the correct recommended amount is to do a home inventory. There are free inventory websites available on the internet. There are also apps you can download to your phone to help you conduct a home inventory.

5. Do I Qualify for Any Discounts?
You need to find out if you will qualify for any discounts with your homeowner’s insurance. You can get discounts for many things such as having a deadbolt lock, smoke detectors, burglar alarms, and more. A new sprinkler system or an alarm that sounds at a monitoring station may decrease your homeowner’s insurance premiums. Ask if the insurance company provides discounts for older people or individuals who are retired. Other discounts may be provided for modernizing your home’s electrical system, plumbing, and more.

When choosing a homeowners insurance policy, it is important to be informed. It is good to know what the right type of coverage for your house is. You will also need to determine the correct amount of coverage. With this in mind, it is also important to know how much you can afford to pay in homeowners’ insurance. Some homeowners want riders attached to their policy for various items in their house. Others want only the bare minimum coverage. It is a personal choice and one that needs to be discussed with a qualified homeowners insurance representative.