In most cases your home is your most valued possession. At B.J. Kirby Insurance we pride ourselves on protecting your home as if it was our own.
At the B.J. Kirby Insurance Agency, we work with our insureds to build the best policy that fits their individual needs. After a major loss the last thing you want to worry about is whether you have coverage or not and we make sure we avoid this situation. We do this by performing risk analysis on the individual and the home itself. What this does is let us find out all the details about the home and what needs to be protected.
In today’s market we strongly recommend that our insureds combine their homeowners and auto insurance with the same company. The reason being that insurance companies are offering great discounts if you bundle the two together, oftentimes, saving the insured hundreds of dollars.
Types of Home Insurance Coverage
A standard homeowner’s insurance policy includes four essential types of coverage. They include:
This part of your policy pays to repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged or destroyed by fire, hurricane, hail, lightning or other disaster listed in your policy. It will not pay for damage caused by a flood, earthquake or routine wear and tear. Earthquake coverage can be added to your policy for a nominal fee while a separate policy must be purchased to cover flood.
Most policies also include coverage for other structure not attached to your home such as a shed, detached garage, or pool house. Generally, these structures are covered for 10% of the amount of insurance you have on your dwelling.
Your furniture, clothes, appliances, and other personal items are covered if they are stolen or destroyed by fire, or other insured peril. Companies provide coverage for 50% to 70% of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of your home. So, if you have $500,000 worth of insurance on the structure of your home, you would have between $250,000 to $350,000 worth of coverage for your belongings. The best way to determine if this is enough coverage is to conduct a home inventory with a video or a checklist. Remember to store this list or video off-site so it is safe.
This part of your policy also includes off-premises coverage. This means that your belongings are covered anywhere in the world. Some companies limit the amount to 10% of the amount of insurance you have for your possessions.
Expensive items like jewelry, furs and silverware are covered, but there are usually dollar limits if they are stolen. Depending on the type of policy, you are covered for between $1,000 to $2,000 for all of your jewelry and furs. To schedule these special items to their full value, you must separately schedule them by getting them appraised or giving us the purchase and sales slip. For more information regarding this coverage, please see the link on our webpage(Insuring Valuables). Once the item is scheduled it is covered against “accidental disappearance,” meaning coverage if you simply lose that item. And there is no deductible.
Trees, plants and shrubs are also covered under standard homeowners insurance. Generally, you are covered for 5% of the insurance on the house-up to about $500 per item. Perils covered are theft, fire, lightning, explosion, vandalism, riot and even falling aircraft. They are not covered for damage by wind or disease.
This coverage is used for your living over and above your normal living expenses, if your home is made uninhabitable(by a covered peril such as a fire).It covers hotel bills, restaurant meals and other living expenses incurred while your home is being rebuilt. Coverage for additional living expenses differs from company to company. Many policies provide coverage for about 20% of the insurance on your house.
Liability covers you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that you or family members cause to other people. It also pays for damage caused by your pets.
The liability portion of your policy pays for both the cost of defending you in court and any court awards-up to the limit of your policy. You are also covered not just in your home, but anywhere in the world.
Liability limits can start at about $100,000, but it is recommended to purchase much more coverage and combine this liability with a personal umbrella. The personal umbrella or excess liability policy provides broader coverage, including claims against you for libel and slander, as well as higher liability limits. Umbrellas of $1 million start at approximately $175.
Your policy also provides no-fault medical coverage. In the event a friend or neighbor is injured in your home, he or she can simply submit medical bills to your insurance company. This way, expenses are paid without a liability claim being filed against you. You can generally get $1,000 to $5,000 worth of this coverage. It does not, however, pay the medical bills for your family or your pet.
The flood insurance market is changing constantly. Congress passed and President Obama signed Grimm-Waters in 2014, delaying implementation of Biggert-Waters, signed into law in 2012. If you live on the coast or near a country stream, talk to us to stay on top of all these changes.
If you’re just researching, here are some of our recent blogs on flood insurance developments that affect us locally in Massachusetts. Call us and we can help advise you.
If your mortgage or bank requires flood insurance, don’t delay; talk to us right away. Our extensive knowledge and experience in the flood market will help you to come to the most economical solution for your needs, both for the flood insurance itself, and the home insurance that should be coordinated with your flood protection anyway.
If you are not required by the bank to get flood insurance but are nervous about that creek in the back yard or the water levels from the last big storm, you may be eligible for “preferred” Flood insurance, an inexpensive but valuable part of your home’s protection. Call us for a quick cost estimate.
Flood insurance has a 30 day waiting period, so don’t wait for storm warnings to think about this.
Here are some other off-site resources that may help you learn more about the National Flood Insurance Program:
- National Flood Insurance Overview (Make this a clickable link to :- https://www.fema.gov/media-
library-data/1396551935597-404 8b68f6d695a6eb6e6e7118d3ce464/ HFIAA_Overview_FINAL_03282014.
- National Flood Insurance Policy Coverage Summary (Make this a clickable link to:-https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1620-20490-4648/f_679_summaryofcoverage_11_2012.pdf
At our company, we understand the need for additional financial information and the importance of knowing the costs before requesting service. We are happy to offer a quote on any of our work.
Since Home Insurance is more complicated than an auto insurance quote we ask you to please fill out and submit this form to describe your project or specific needs. You will receive a confirmation after submitting the form. Once we receive your form we will provide you with a quote based on your request.
Hours of Operation: Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Contact our insurance agency at (781) 447-5511 in Whitman, Massachusetts, to receive your insurance quote today.