Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners Insurance

Property Insurance: Whether you own a home, condo or rent an apartment you will need coverage for your property whether it is the building, any outbuilding or the contents of either.  An Utter Morris professional can help guide you through the variety of type of personal property policies available.

Home Owners Policies are available for principle residences or secondary dwelling such as cottages.  Typically they are sold as “package” policies – the package includes the building, and additional amounts of insurance for outbuildings – such as a detached garage, shed or pool house, your contents – clothing, furnishings, appliances etc, as well as additional living expenses which pay the cost of living if you can’t occupy your house due to an insured loss.

Tenants policies are similar, however they of course do not insure the building, just contents and additional living expenses. Please see the Tenants area for more information.

Condominium policies are an entirely different proposition – in effect they are a combination of the homeowners and tenants policies with a few unique characteristics of their own.  Please see Condos area for more information.

Personal Liability: All homeowner’s packages include personal liability coverage – this covers property damage that you or family members cause to other people. It also pays for damage caused by your pets. Most people think of things such as the mailman slipping on the front step, or your dog biting someone, however the coverage is very broad, and essentially covers your personal liability for your actions.  It does not cover business activities, but can often be extended to cover you while doing volunteer work.

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 also anywhere in the world.

What else isn’t covered? It depends upon the policy, but generally no policy will cover the following:

  • Breakage of brittle articles:
  • Damage caused by wear and tear, rust, corrosion, or gradual deterioration, like a leaking roof.
  • Damage caused by vermin, rodents, and insects.
  • Damage caused by flood or earthquake (coverage may be available as an option).
  • Damage caused by water seepage, through the foundation or an open window.
  • Loss or damage to personal property on premises that have been vacant for more than 30 days (Not because you are on vacation, but because you have moved and do not intend to return).
  • Water damage caused by pipes freezing if you are away more than four consecutive days, unless you have someone checking your house on a daily basis.
  • Damage caused by earth movement, including earthquakes, landslide, and mudflow

What else should I know? Some types of property are also excluded or limited in the policy.  Generally the standard policy is intended for the average homeowner or tenant.  As result some types of property are limited – one of the most important would be jewellery which is usually limited to between 2,000 – 6,000$ in the standard policy.  Similarly coin and stamp collections, cash and securities, animals, business property, bicycles, computer software, collectibles boats, and auto parts are some examples of items which may be limited in coverage on a standard home policy.  At Utter Morris we recommend you ask if you are not sure if your needs may fall outside the standard policy.

What if I need additional coverage? A variety of additional coverage’s or “riders” are available to cover things such as Engagement rings or other valuable property.  Riders can also be added for boats.  Coverage can be broadened through the sewer back up endorsement or by adding coverage for earthquake.

What is Replacement cost? Also know as “new for old” coverage,  replacement cost on the building pays to repair or replace your home with new parts.  On contents coverage it will pay the new cost of replacing contents lost or damage in an insurance claim.

How much coverage do I need? We can help you determine the amount of coverage required on your building with our computer evaluation software.  Contents are an entirely different matter – we recommend you complete a home inventory in order to determine an appropriate limit.

HOME INVENTORY:  How do I take a home inventory and why?

Would you be able to remember all the possessions you’ve accumulated over the years if a fire destroyed them? Having an up-to-date home inventory will help you get your insurance claim settled faster, verify losses for your income tax return and help you purchase the correct amount of insurance

Start by making a list of your possessions, describing each item and noting where you bought it and its make and model. Clip to your list any sales receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals you have. For clothing, count the items you own by category — pants, coats, and shoes, for example –- making notes about those that are especially valuable. For major appliance and electronic equipment, record their serial numbers usually found on the back or bottom.

If you are just setting up a household, starting an inventory list can be relatively simple. If you’ve been living in the same house for many years, however, the task of creating a list can be daunting. Still, it’s better to have an incomplete inventory than nothing at all. Start with recent purchases and then try to remember what you can about older possessions.  Valuable items like jewellery; artwork and collectibles may have increased in value since you received them. Check with your agent to make sure that you have adequate insurance for these items. They may need to be insured separately.

Besides the list, you can take pictures of rooms and important individual items. On the back of the photos, note what is shown and where you bought it or the make. Don’t forget things that are in closets or drawers. Walk through your house or apartment videotaping and describing the contents. Or do the same thing using a tape recorder.

Use your PC to make your inventory list. Personal finance software packages often include a homeowners room-by-room inventory program.

Regardless of how you do it (written list, floppy disk, photos, videotape or audio tape), keep your inventory along with receipts in your safe deposit box or at a friend’s or relative’s home. That way you’ll be sure to have something to give your insurance representative if your home is damaged. When you make a significant purchase, add the information to your inventory while the details are fresh in your mind.

FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

What does my homeowner’s policy cover?  The typical policy sold by Utter Morris would be a comprehensive policy providing all risk coverage, subject to the exclusions of the policy (the fine print…).  Many of the common claims result from fire, lightning damage, windstorms including hurricanes or tornados, explosion, water damage or sewer back up (see notes below), falling objects, accidental breakage or loss.

What is the coverage for water damage, flood or sewer backup? Policies provide coverage for water damage due to accidental overflow from a domestic appliance, (i.e. a dishwasher), bursting of pipes, or back up of a sewer or failure of a sump pump – this sewer back up may require an additional endorsement.  Policies do not provide coverage for flood meaning surface water, nor for seepage through basement walls.  Typically your “leaky basement” will not be covered by insurance.

 Little known facts about Homeowners Insurance

There are many things about insuring a home that most consumers aren’t aware of. We are here to make sure you avoid potential problem areas, including:

  • Most policies will not cover sewer back-up unless you purchase a special endorsement—it’s not expensive, but you won’t get it if you don’t ask for it
  • Damages caused by surface water or water that flows below the surface of the ground aren’t usually covered
  • A standard Homeowners policy typically does not include Flood Insurance
  • A standard homeowner policy only covers jewelry up to set limits if the loss results from one of the perils named on the policy
  • Many policies default to actual cash value, which means if you purchased a widescreen TV and home theater system for $1,000, it may now only be worth $450, so that’s all you’ll receive on the claim. Just like the dwelling limit mentioned above, replacement cost insurance pays out the total replacement value of your possessions, not their market value, in the event of a claim.
  • IMPORTANT: You can combine your Home and Auto policies (and others) for even more savings.

Who Needs to Insure Their Homes?

  • Frame houses
  • CBS homes (Concrete Block Structure)
  • Manufactured homes
  • Mobile homes on acreage
  • Condos
  • Townhouses
  • Secondary homes
  • Homes you rent to others
  • Seasonal resident homes
  • Even residents that only rent should make sure they have the right kind of renters insurance in place.

The Utter Morris Insurance Brokers Limited Difference

You may think you want the cheapest insurance you can find, but realize you may not be getting everything you bargained for …

… While most insurance products are similar in price and function, insurance providers are very different when it comes to structuring a policy that actually covers you. So if you’re at all concerned for your financial well being, you should investigate what you are offered carefully, and consider a relationship with a reliable guide.

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all insurance policy.

We’re your neighbours. We protect people we know and care about , and that means we always look for ways to protect you better, including carefully choosing the insurance companies we represent to be both affordable and responsive.

Click on the quote request button now and let the professionals at Utter Morris Insurance Brokers Limited help you forge the strongest shield possible to help you protect the things you care about most.  Experience the Utter Morris difference.