From D.O.K. Insurance Agency
About Homeowner’s Insurance
The best time to make sure that you protect your home with the right coverages through a dependable company is before something happens. When your home is damaged or destroyed, you should never have to worried what will be covered. Unfortunately, we have learned throughout the years that most homeowners have little to no understanding about their coverages.
The D.O.K. Insurance Agency will spend the necessary time to help you find the home insurance policy that will best meet your needs so you will have the peace of mind knowing that you are getting a great value.
While all standard home insurance policies will have to cover certain losses, there can be subtle differences that will make the difference between being made whole or being left with no coverage after a loss. Since no two policies are the same, it takes an experienced agent to make sure you can find the best options.
Whether you’re a homeowner, a condo owner, own a mobile home or are a renter, we will make sure we find a policy that fits your needs. Your home insurance policy is primarily determined by the specific options you choose.
If you rent, live in a condo, or live in a manufactured (or mobile) home that isn’t on a permanent foundation, your insurance choices may be different than those described here.
What the policy covers:
A basic coverage policy will protect a homeowner from loss caused by fire, lightning, windstorm (including tornadoes), hail, aircraft, riot or civil commotion, vehicles, smoke, explosion, theft, volcanic eruption, and vandalism. These types of policies are very rare nowadays due to their limitations.
Broad coverage adds six more perils, including damage from falling objects; weight of ice, snow, or sleet; and accidental damage caused by water, steam, household appliances, electrical currents, sprinkler systems, heating or air conditioning, and plumbing. These types of policies are also fairly rare nowadays due to their limitations.
Most standard homeowners policies do not protect against floods, earthquakes, power failure, war, neglect, or intentional loss.
The most broad form of coverage, commonly referred to as open perils, will cover all forms of loss, except the specific exclusions listed above. This is also the most common type of policy homeowners are covered with.
A homeowners policy usually covers the following areas:
- Your house and other buildings on your property
- Your personal property in your home or on your property
- Your personal liability
- Medical payments for others accidentally hurt on your property
- Additional living expenses if you must rent a place to live while your home is being repaired
What the policy doesn’t cover:
A homeowners policy usually doesn’t cover:
- Flood. If you need a flood insurance policy or are wondering about your options, please give us a call at 425-242-5252 today or start a chat with us.
- Earthquake, landslide, or mudslide. We work with a variety of companies that can offer protection so contact us for more information!
- Sewer backup. For more information, please read this article.
- Medical payments for others accidentally hurt on your property
- In the most general sense, anything that is related to wear and tear or other maintenance related damages. There are options to insure your appliances for breakdown. Please CLICK HERE to find out more.
Your homeowner’s policy may not cover claims related to:
A homeowners policy usually doesn’t cover:
- Dog bites
- Swimming pools or trampolines
- Operating a business from your home
A homeowner’s policy usually limits coverage for these items:
- Jewelry, guns, electronics, collectibles, and antiques.
- Ordinance and Law: The costs of meeting updated electrical, fire, plumbing, and building codes.
- You may be able to pay extra to add coverage to your policy.
When looking for a new home insurance policy, you may want to ask yourself (and your trusted agent) the following questions:
- If you are in the process of buying a house, ask your agent to find out if the previous homeowner(s) have filed a claim in the last 5 years. For example, you might want to know if there was a major water loss or a break-in at the house you are moving your family to.
- How much experience does my agent have with insuring homes?
- Does my agent represent one insurance company exclusively or, like the D.O.K. Insurance Agency, represent multiple companies to offer more options?
- Do I have any jewelry, collectibles or other high-value or rare items that I should schedule on my policy?
- How much do I save by combining my home and auto insurance policies? The savings are usually between 10-25%.
- What does the policy cover? What doesn’t it cover? What are the limits to the coverages?
- How do I know if my policy satisfies the requirements given by the mortgage lender?
- If there is an earthquake, do I want to be covered? CLICK HERE to find out more about earthquake insurance.
- Is my home in a flood zone? Please contact us so we can help you find out.
How the premium is determined:
Many factors determine the premium you will pay. All insurance companies charge different premiums for similar coverage. Let the D.O.K Insurance Agency shop around for you; getting three or more comparison quotes is worthwhile.
- The cost to rebuild your home. This is not the same as the purchase price (which includes the cost of the land). We will help you estimate the replacement cost using information about your home and its contents.
- The options and deductibles you choose
- The characteristics of the house including, but not limited to, location, roof type, number of stories and bathrooms.
- If you have monitored fire and/or burglar alarm
- Whether your home is made of brick or wood
- The distance from your home to a fire hydrant or fire department
- The age of your home
- Whether you also insure your auto with the same insurance company
- Your credit and claims history
When A Loss Occurs
Aside the obvious to call 911 and your insurance company if a major fire, water loss or other damage to your home occurs, you may not always want to call your insurance company if something relatively small happens. In fact, most insurance companies will not be able to answer coverage questions without opening a claim. Once a claim is opened, it will remain on your record for up to 5 years and even if nothing was paid out, it might still have an impact on your future premiums.
In questionable cases, it is best to call us so we can help you guide you. We have direct access to all claims departments of the companies that we represent and in most cases can give you a very good idea, if filing a claim is worth it.
The best place to start saving money on your home insurance is to let us compare your current policy to other available options. There are certain things that you can do in order to save money on your home insurance on the short and long-term.
Make Sure That You Aren’t Overinsured
While we often find homes that are underinsured, we also see existing coverages that are too high. Home insurance is usually based on replacement cost of the structure which also includes the demolition of the current structure. It does NOT include the value of the land.We use different third party vendors before insuring home to make sure that you have coverage that matches the need.
Avoid Unnecessary Claims
- Before calling your insurance company to inform them that your car was broken into and some items were stolen, please call us first. Your loss may be less than your deductible but just calling your insurance company can sometimes result in a claim added to your 5-year history.
- Don’t leave any valuables in your vehicle, gym bag, or other unsupervised areas.- Is that neighbor’s tree branch hovering over your roof, fence or shed? Should that tree damage your property, it is your insurance that will have to pay for it. So make sure that no heavy tree limbs (yours or your neighbors) close to your property.
- Maintain your home to provide a safe environment, especially around the outside of your home. You might have heard about court cases where home intruders were able to sue their victims for injuries they sustained during a home invasion. In today’s heavily litigated environment, don’t give anyone a reason to blame you for their injuries.
- Make sure that your railings are secure and up to code, that you de-ice the ground that is open to the public, and don’t leave any trip hazards or dangerous items that might be interesting to children.
- Let your neighbors or friends know when you leave for vacation. It might be wise to have someone check the interior to make sure no water leak or other damages have occurred.
Combine Your Home With Your Auto Insurance
You hear commercials on TV all the time about how much money can be saved by combining auto and home insurance. This is usually true and the advantage of working with an independent agency like the DOK Insurance Agency is that we check with different companies for both auto and home to find the best package for you.
Get A Monitored Alarm And/Or Surveillance System
While the discount on your home insurance will be minimal compared to the cost of the monitoring service, the peace of mind and added safety for your family makes it well worth it. For the discount, please keep in mind that most insurance companies will require that your system is actively monitored and sometimes even with a power back-up.
Increase Your Deductible
Changing your deductible from $1,000 to $2,500 might only save you 10% on your insurance. While the savings alone may not be significant, it comes down to your attitude and mindset towards insurance as well as your financial means. If a $2,500 deductible – so money you have to pay before the insurance kicks in – is too high for you to handle, do not increase your deductible. If, however, you can both afford a higher deductible as well as try to avoid filing claims, a higher deductible might be a good option.
Choose Your Dog Breed Wisely
Most people love their pets and go through great lengths to make sure that they are well behaved and pose no threat to others. However dog bite losses exceed $1 billion per year. In 2015, 35 Americans were killed by dogs, down from 42 the prior year.Each year, more than 350,000 dog bite victims are seen in emergency rooms, and approximately 850,000 victims receive medical attention.
Data that the CDC collected in the USA between 2001 and 2003 indicated there were 4.5 million dog bite victims per year, but that figure appears to be rising.Although insurance companies only pay for a small percentage of dog bite incidents, they still pay over $350 million to victims.
The payouts have increased by 55.3 percent in the past decade. The main reason why most dog bites don’t result in a (home) liability insurance payout is that the victims are often family members.
Below you can see the main dog breeds that were responsible for deadly attacks in the last 12 years. So if you own or are planning on becoming an owner of a pit-bull, Rottweiler, Husky, Dolberman or other breeds listed below, please consider how this may affect your home insurance.