Homeowner Insurance

Your home is a huge investment, protect it. With home insurance you can protect your home and your possessions. You’ve worked hard for what you have, it’s important to have the right protection.

When shopping for home insurance, remember this: Insure your house for the cost to replace it (meaning reconstruction costs), not its real estate "market value, and don't factor in the value of your land.

Also know that a home insurance policy covers much more than damage to your house. There are additional coverages within a home insurance policy, with limits often set as a percentage of the dwelling’s coverage amount. (Check your own policy for limits.)
  • Your belongings. (Often 50 percent of the dwelling amount.)
  • Certain structures outside your house, such as your garage or fence. (Often 10 percent of the dwelling amount.)
  • Loss of use, meaning additional living expenses you incur if you can’t live at home due to damage. This could include hotel bills, restaurant meals and laundry costs. (Often 20 percent of the dwelling amount.)
  • Liability, for cases where you are sued for damages or injuries to someone else.
  • Medical bills for people injured on your property or by your pet.
Other items may be covered under your home insurance, with specific limits for each, so check your policy or ask your agent:
  • Downed trees.
  • Replacement of lawn, trees and shrubs.
  • Debris removal.
  • Power outages, including food spoilage.
  • Grave markers.
  • Unauthorized charges to your credit cards.
You may also need special add-ons for valuables such as jewelry, your computer equipment, antiques and other pricey possessions, where their value exceeds the coverage limit of your policy.

Home insurance does not cover earthquakes or floods – you’ll need to buy separate policies for those if you want coverage for those disasters. And in some areas of the country you need to buy windstorm coverage separately.

Lending institutions usually require mortgage customers to purchase home insurance.  Don’t rely on the coverage levels mandated by your bank or mortgage company.  Those levels are designed to protect the house itself, but not necessarily your possessions.  That’s why it’s important to check with your agent or insurance company to make sure you have adequate coverage.

Home insurance rates
Many factors go into determining the premiums for a homeowners policy.  The age of your home, the materials used to build it, where it’s located, the square footage and its distance from a fire hydrant all generally play a role in rates.

The insurer should be able to give you an estimate for rebuilding your house in the event of a total loss. That estimate should be your dwelling coverage amount.

Replacing personal property
The extent of coverage for your belongings depends on the loss settlement clause. This clause identifies property that will be valued at actual cash value, and property that will be valued at replacement cost.

Before buying home insurance, understand the differences among "actual cash value,” "replacement cost."

A cash value policy pays for an item´s replacement cost, minus depreciation.
Replacement cost policies give you more protection than actual cash value coverage. For example, what happens if a burglar steals your six-year-old television set? With actual cash value coverage, you get only what you would expect to pay for a six-year-old television set. With replacement cost coverage, the insurance company pays to replace your TV with a new set similar to the stolen one.

Extended replacement cost for your house
In another twist to your policy choices, some companies offer coverage for your dwelling that goes beyond its insured value. In other words, your premium might be determined based on dwelling coverage for $200,000, but if your home is destroyed and it costs $215,000 to rebuild, you’re covered.

Guaranteed replacement cost coverage pays for the full cost of replacing or repairing a damaged or destroyed home, even if it is above the policy limit. You may have a tough time finding a policy with guaranteed replacement cost.

Extended replacement cost coverage pays a certain amount above the policy limit to replace a damaged home, generally 120 or 125 percent.
Guaranteed and extended replacement cost policies are designed to protect the policyholder after a major disaster when the high demand for building contractors and materials can push up the normal cost of reconstruction.

Home inventories
Many people learn only after a fire or storm they didn´t have enough personal property coverage. Taking inventory will help you decide how much contents coverage you need. It also will simplify the claims process if you have a large loss; no one wants to reconstruct everything they owned from memory.

Your inventory should list each item, its value and serial number, where applicable. Photograph or videotape each room, including closets, open drawers, storage buildings and your garage. Keep receipts for major items in a fireproof place.
The Insurance Information Institute has helpful free software that will help you make a home inventory at KnowYourStuff.org.

Available Home Insurance Discounts:
  • Multiple policies (home, car or other policies with the same company)
  • Smoke detectors
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Sprinkler systems
  • Burglar and fire alarms that alert an outside service
  • Deadbolt locks and fire-safe window grates
  • 55 years old and retired
  • Long-time policyholder
  • Upgrades to plumbing, heating and electrical systems
  • Earthquake retrofitting to make the home safer
  • Wind-resistant shutters

At Boitano Insurance our goal is to always find the right coverage at the right price.  We represent a number of carriers including Mercury, Travelers, Safeco, Chubb ACE and CSE, among others.  It is our practice to market your policy and counsel you on the best available option.

Boitano Insurance has helped hundreds of homeowners throughout Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Newbury Park and the rest of the Conejo Valley. 

Learn more about our types Home Insurance:

Homeowners Insurance

Condo Insurance

Renters Insurance

Flood Insurance

Earthquake Insurance

 

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