Real Estate Explained | Home Owners Insurance 3

Once you sign the sales contract there are many details that have to happen.   One such detail on your closing checklist is obtain Home Owner’s Insurance.

What good is a sizable nest egg if it’s left unprotected? To make sure your assets are properly covered, you need to consult someone who’s knowledgeable about the ever-changing world of insurance, and who’ll sell you coverage that’s appropriate but not excessive. With a little due diligence it’s possible to find an insurance agent or broker who understands your situation and will sell you the coverage you need at a fair price.

We recommend that you stick with independent agents and brokers—use more than one, if necessary, to meet all of your insurance needs.  In addition, because they don’t earn their living from a single company, independent agents say they’re more likely than exclusive agents to be advocates for their clients.

What is Home Owner’s Insurance?

Liability coverage for property owners covering both loss/damage to property or dwelling and personal liability.   If you have a mortgage it is required that you have Home Owner’s Insurance.

Not all policies are created equal in home owner’s insurance.   There are ways to save money, but they may not be in your best interest.   The policy quote you get should be in writing and you should be able to compare apples to apples.  You will have to discuss your insurance needs with a qualified Insurance Agent, but you may be a little more than confused as to finding the right agent for you.

Finding the right Agent

The best way to find a great Insurance Agent is to ask your friends and family for recommendations.   Once you have a few to select from you will want to interview them and interview them to see if they are the right agent for you.

Some Questions to Ask an Insurance Agent

  • How long have you been in business?  The agent should tell you how long it’s been in business and why its product is the most appropriate for you. They should also give you a copy of the insurer’s current rating from an independent agency, such as Weiss Ratings, A.M. Best, or Moody’s. The stronger the rating, the more likely the company is to make good on its current and future obligations.
  • Ask for references and call them to see if they are satisfied with the service they receive
  • What kind of home owners insurance policy do I have (HO-1 to HO-8) and what and who is covered under my insurance?
  • Is the policy you are recommending enough?   Do I need additional coverage?
  • What is the difference between replacement cost and guaranteed replacement cost?
  • Are there any limits on items?   Computers?  Artwork?  Jewelry?  Do we need additional riders?
  • Does my policy cover water damage?  Flooding?
  • Does my policy cover natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes and mudslides?
  • What is not covered by the policy that you recommend?
  • Does the insurance company have a 24 hours claims service?
  • Are there things I should do to my home to make it more secure and safe?
  • If you are planning on renting the property out — What types of insurance should I have?
  • Does the policy cover contractors working on your home?
  • If you are a snow bird and leave your home vacant for long period of times – what do I need to do to ensure that I will be covered.

Things to consider when shopping for a policy

  • Did you know that when you are considering a property that you can find out from your agent if there have been any claims on the home?  Some agents will run it for free for you others may charge you a small fee to get this report.   Read Also: Past Claims can affect your ability to get insurance on your new home purchase
  • While you may not have a clue about a home’s past insurance claims, your insurer certainly does. Roughly 95 percent of home insurers subscribe to C.L.U.E., which stands for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange. The database, owned by LexisNexis, enables insurance companies to access information on claims have been filed within the last seven years.
  • Plan on the worst case situation – If the worst to happen, how much could you afford to pay out of pocket.
  • Some times it is better to pay a higher deductible to save money over time on the policy.  You may find that the savings you receive will allow you to save the difference and cover the higher deductible.
  • Inventory your household items to make sure that you have enough insurance to cover replacing your possessions. Keep this list in a safety deposit box or another place besides your home. This will help with finding a policy.
  • Many people don’t realize that most states operate an insurance website that contains valuable information for residents. These websites are maintained as a service to state residents and contain helpful information such as complaints and fraud reports.

Remember that you will want to get everything in writing.  If you do not understand what the policy covers, ask questions until you are satisfied that you understand the policy.  Due to the costly nature of claims, it’s always best to find out exactly what your policy covers before you need the coverage.

Thinking of selling your Erie County home? Interested in finding out the current market value of your single family home, condo or investment property? Then call at (716) 650-0051 to discuss what is happening in today’s Western New York Real Estate Market. We would be happy to give you a personalized Comparative Market Analysis for your home or assist you to purchase a home. View additional WNY Market Area Statistics here.

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All Statistics are gathered from the Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS®.
Properties found on this Web site may be listed with a brokerage other than the owner of this site and are displayed here via the Internet Data Exchange (IDX) system of this broker’s MLS. All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing nor displaying broker shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints, and shall be held totally harmless. © 2014 Western New York Real Estate Information Services (WNYREIS), LLC. All rights reserved.
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About Colleen Kulikowski, Associate Real Estate Broker (716) 650-0051

Colleen Kulikowski is an Associate Real Estate Broker with J. Philip Real Estate specializing in Western New York residential homes who doesn’t follow trends; she blazes new trails and is able to recognize industry trends and implement them to her client’s best interest. Colleen has created a unique following with one of the top local internet positions in the country generating thousands of leads for her team. Real Estate is a second career for Kulikowski who’s first career was in Information Technology and Data Warehousing working for such companies as Radio City Music Hall, Nabisco Foods and as a consultant in the Financial and Insurance industries. A strong background in technology and management provides her with keen analytical and sharp negotiating skills.

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