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Do I have to have home insurance?
Do I need homeowners insurance if I'm a renter?

Home Insurance Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to have home insurance?
Do I need homeowners insurance if I'm a renter?
How do I get the homeowners policy that gives me the best value for my money?
What does a homeowners insurance policy cover?
What happens if a tree falls on your home or car?
What value should I put on my home for insurance purposes?
What happens while your home is being repaired?
What should I do if I run a small business from my home?
What is the value of my personal belongings?
What do I do if I have jewelry or a valuable collection?
Is my personal property covered when you take it outside?
What if someone is injured on my land?

Answers

Do I have to have home insurance?

If you have a mortgage or any large loan secured on your property, the lender will usually require you hold a homeowners insurance policy during the duration of the loan. Check the terms of your mortgage or loan to see what is required. If you own your home without a mortgage, then you are not required to have homeowners insurance, although it is suggested that you do because it protects you against loss should your property be damaged or destroyed. It also offers protection against liability should anyone be injured on your land.

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Do I need homeowners insurance if I'm a renter?

Your landlord is responsible for insuring the place in which you live but not the contents. If you have anything of value, you should always insure your belongings against the usual perils with the purchase of renter's insurance.

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How do I get the homeowners policy that gives me the best value for my money?

By comparing online quotes on this site, you'll get a wide variety of choices between different insurance companies, rates and benefits. To ensure you get the best value for your money, make sure you evaluate the benefits of each policy against its rates-don't just choose the cheapest option.

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What does a homeowners insurance policy cover?

Each policy is different so you need to read the terms and exclusions of your policy carefully. You should be covered against the standard perils of fire, wind damage, lightning strikes, rain, hail, etc. Check whether you are covered for water damage should your plumbing system or appliances leak or should the weight of snow and ice cause your roof to collapse. Most companies require you to buy earthquake and flooding insurance separately.

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What happens if a tree falls on your home or car?

If it's your tree and it falls on your home, the damage will be covered by your homeowners policy. If the tree belongs to a neighbor, your insurance company will pay for the repairs and recover the loss from your neighbor or your neighbor's insurance company. Policies vary on whether they cover the cost of removing the fallen tree from your land. As to your vehicle, this will be covered under a comprehensive auto policy not your homeowners policy - even if the vehicle was in your garage when the tree fell.

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What value should I put on my home for insurance purposes?

Since you will not need to rebuild the actual property your home was built on, you need only consider the cost of repairing or rebuilding your dwelling and other structures (such as a fence or shed) should they be damaged or destroyed. So the maximum insurance value is the cost of demolishing and clearing the site, and then rebuilding from the ground up.

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What happens while your home is being repaired?

You need to check the wording of your policy to make sure you have the right to claim your out-of-pocket expenses if you are forced out of your home while repairs are carried out. Your policy may cover the reasonable costs associated with a hotel stay. Or it may not. Learn more...

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What should I do if I run a small business from my home?

If you work from home you have two options. You can have a separate endorsement added to your homeowner's insurance policy or you can take out small business insurance. Most homeowners policies limit or exclude liability for property owned by a business.

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What is the value of my personal belongings?

Homeowners insurance companies often work with a formula to give you blanket coverage. This is usually a percentage of the value of the structure that they estimate your personal property will be worth. If the number they develop is not enough or if you're a renter (in which case the value of your dwelling would have no bearing on the value of your property), ask for a quote based on your estimated figure. Keep in mind that a standard policy covers the fair market value of your belongings, i.e. the price you paid for each item less depreciation for wear and tear. You can insure for the replacement value but this is more expensive, particularly if the agreed sum is linked to inflation.

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What do I do if I have jewelry or a valuable collection?

If you have items whose value exceeds the general value of your other possessions, they should be separately endorsed on the policy or you should take out a separate policy. In both cases, that means you agree on a value with the company. Most companies will insist on additional security measures to protect the insured items such as deadbolts on doors, an alarm system, and so on. It may also be necessary to photograph and inventory all these items with full descriptions so the police can take more effective action to recover these items should there be a burglary.

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Is my personal property covered when you take it outside?

It depends on the wording of your policy. Most will cover you against theft from your car or while you're at work. Similarly, family members will usually be covered if property normally kept at home is temporarily housed at school or college.

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What if someone is injured on my land?

Your policy has a liability section that will defend you against claims for personal injuries and consequential loss should anyone be injured.

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