You need Homeowners Insurance in North Carolina (or anywhere!) but where to start?
If you’re like most homeowners in our backyard of Winston-Salem, NC, your home is your most valuable asset. If something happens to your home, you want to know that it is protected, no matter what happens. Getting the right coverages in your homeowners insurance policy isn’t just a luxury, it’s a necessity. But, if you’re like most people, you don’t exactly spend your free time moonlighting as an insurance agent. So what do you do?
The first step is educating yourself on the basics of what a homeowners insurance policy really does. The second step is finding an agent who can advise you further and help you get the policy you need. We help homeowners in North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, and all up and down the eastern seaboard, so no matter what you’re thinking about, we’ve probably been there, seen it, and helped someone just like you. Why don’t we help you with the first part, the education, and then see about the second part later.
At heart, homeowners insurance is about protecting your home, your possessions, the buildings on the land around your home, and protecting you from lawsuits and other forms of liability exposure. That’s a lot of coverage, so let’s explore a little more.
Note: if you are looking for homeowners insurance for a rental property, or home that is currently vacant, you cannot use traditional homeowners insurance. You need a “specialty dwelling” policy – just contact us and we’ll walk you through it. Also, if you are a renter, just go here to learn more about renters insurance.
Regardless of whether you live in North Carolina or any of the other states we cover, homeowners insurance is one of the most important insurance policies you could ever own. A house is the most valuable item most of us will ever own, so making sure it’s protected is key to protecting your financial future.
It’s important to understand that no two homeowners insurance policies are created equal though. Different insurance companies offer different levels of coverage, different endorsements and riders, and have different conditions and limitations.
The Independent Insurance Agent Difference
If you’re not using an independent agent in Winston-Salem like us, it can be hard, if not impossible, to tell the difference between two homeowners insurance policies. After all, your traditional big companies use agents that can only write their policies, what we in the business call “captive” agents. If you only see a quote from their company, how do you know what the differences are?
An independent agent, on the other hand, shops your policies between several companies at once. When an agency like Alliance gives you a quote, we can show you the difference between the companies and help explain why we chose the policy we did. This helps show how coverages can change and how different companies have different appetites – for example, some like big dogs in houses and others don’t.
Homeowners Insurance Basics
Whether you own or rent, insuring the place you call home can help protect you financially if you suffer a loss due to fire, theft, vandalism, or other covered events. It will also cover you in the event someone is injured while on your property and wins a legal judgment against you.
Homeowners insurance policies differ by which losses are covered, which coverages you choose, and what type of residence you own. You choose which policy is best for you, whether it’s a comprehensive policy that covers losses such as fire, hail, smoke, falling objects, vandalism and theft of personal property, or whether it’s a policy that covers only specified losses. At Alliance, we always recommend the broader coverages that protect against as many risks as possible, and only write more limited policies in very specific instances. And remember, we cover your home for what it would cost to rebuild, not what someone might pay for it. We explain this further on our article about Market Value vs Replacement Cost.
Common Homeowners Insurance Coverages
These are some common coverages you typically see on a policy:
Dwelling — this is the portion of your policy that covers the actual structure (main house). The cost to replace your home can fluctuate from time to time based on the cost of raw material and labor, and of course, supply and demand.
We’ll run a replacement cost analysis on your home to see how much it would actually cost if the worst happened and you had to rebuild.
Other Structures — this covers any structure on your property that is not permanently attached to your house, like fencing, driveways, sidewalks, and detached buildings like sheds and garages. Usually this coverage is 10% of whatever your Dwelling limit is, but can be increased if you need more coverage.
Personal Property — this covers all of your personal belongings like clothing, furniture, electronics, and appliances. Basically anything that would fall out of your house if you turned it upside down and shook out the contents.
Loss of Use — this covers your living expenses if you need to live somewhere else temporarily because your primary home is uninhabitable due to a loss.
Medical Expense —this covers medical expenses for guests if they are injured on your property, and in certain cases covers people who are injured off of your property. It does not cover health care costs for you or other members of your household.
Family/Personal Liability — Personal Liability Coverage applies if someone is injured or their property is damaged and you are to blame. The coverage generally applies anywhere in the world. When choosing your liability coverage limits, consider things like how much money you make and the assets you own. Your personal liability coverage should be high enough to protect your assets if you are sued. In some situations, an Umbrella policy may be necessary to provide extra coverage.
Scheduled Personal Property — there are some situations where you might want special coverage for valuables, or collectibles like jewelry, guns, collectibles, rugs, etc..
How to get started with your homeowners quote
Every home is unique, and therefore requires a carefully crafted policy.
If you’d like us to review your current policy and provide you with no obligation quotes, call our office, or click the button below to start the process online!
Hungry for more? Dive into our Homeowners Insurance 101 and getting deeper into what your policy is really all about.