After you purchase a home, it’s vital to protect your investment.
Homeowners insurance gives you peace of mind and protects your investment by covering damage to the property and liability risks and can protect you against legal claims. While there are different types of policies available, not all policies are created equal.
Local real estate experts have advice on what you need and what to look for in a policy and why homeowners insurance is so important.
“Not only does homeowners insurance cover the home, it provides coverage for other structures on your property, such as fences, decks and sheds,” said Emily Slatten, owner of East County Insurance Company. “It also covers your contents and your personal property. If you or a family member are found legally responsible for accidentally damaging someone else’s property or injuring someone, the liability coverage may pay for related repairs, legal fees or medical bills.”
According to Slatten, homeowners insurance can also help pay for medical bills if someone is injured at your home.
When choosing an insurance policy, it’s important to know what’s covered in a basic policy and what options you should consider adding in.
“The basic coverage policy is still very comprehensive, providing coverage for many types of perils,” said Jerry Stone, co-owner of Jack Stone Insurance Agency.
A basic policy provides special limits of personal property, so someone who owns items that exceed the limit specified can buy back increased limits at a small additional cost.
Slatten recommends flood and earthquake coverage for East County homeowners.
“Floods can come not just from a rising river but any water coming into your home,” said Slatten. “An example may be if the fire hydrant out front is hit by a car and broken off, causing it to send water gushing into your home.”
Earthquake coverage is also important.
“We’re in earthquake country, and basic homeowners insurance does not cover damage from an earthquake,” said Slatten.
Besides choosing a policy that fits your unique needs, homeowners must choose a deductible, which can impact the cost of their overall policy.
“The higher the deductible the lower the premium,” said Sherry Stone-Johnson, co-owner of Jack Stone Insurance Agency. “Select a deductible that is financially comfortable to you, and do not select a deductible that is too much for you to afford as an out-of-pocket expense.”
After choosing a policy and options, one of the most important things a homeowner can do is read their policy.
“I don’t think many people read their policy,” said Slatten. “It’s best to know what you have coverage for before you suffer a loss.”
Every few years, homeowners should review their policy and complete a home inventory, so they can identify what is missing in the event they have to file a claim.
East County Insurance Agency Inc. is located at 4550 Balfour Road, Suite G, in Brentwood, and at 2738B W. Tregallas Road, in Antioch. For more information, visit www.eastcountyins.com or call 925-240-1330 or 925-203-0849.
Jack Stone Insurance Agency is located at 144 Continente Ave., Suite 210, in Brentwood. For more information, visit www.jackstoneinsurance.com or call 925-516-7934.