Are all homeowners insurance policies created equal?

No. If your home burns down, every insurance policy will cover that and rebuild your home.

The real difference between policies will be in the endorsements. Endorsements are extra coverages that you can choose to add on to your existing policy.

The most common endorsements that I always add on to every home policy are service line, equipment breakdown, and water back-up.

Your policy deductibles are another area that sometimes get overlooked. Some policies have separate deductibles for wind or hail damage or hurricane deductible.

Also, we include guaranteed replacement cost on all our homeowner’s policies. I’ve noticed some of the TV insurance commercials talking about it as a “perk” for their policy owners. We call it common sense and add it to them all.

To give you the cheapest quote possible, most companies will carve out the extra coverages to win your business.

Not us. We include everything a homeowner’s insurance policy should have. And we still usually come out less expensive than the competition.

Let’s review the endorsements that should be included on everyone’s homeowners insurance:

Service Line

You own the water and sewer line buried under the front lawn, connecting your home to the main out under the street. When that line breaks, the repair is your responsibility.

It’s cheaper to add this coverage to your policy than it is to buy the coverage from the utility provider.

A typical utility line repair will cost, on average, between $10K–20K. During the process, they dig up your lawn, replace or fix the pipe, and put your yard back to together. This is not covered on a standard policy.

Equipment Breakdown

In the event of a house fire, your policy will pay to rebuild your home and replace any appliances, mechanicals, computers or other electronics permanently attached to your home.

It also provides coverage in the event of a power surge or lightning strike that damages your washer/dryer, oven, dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave, HVAC system, TV’s, pool filter, computers or even phones and tablets plugged in to charge.

Basically, any of your appliances with an electrical board, which is most of them these days. Under a standard homeowner’s policy, these damages are not covered.

Water Back-up

Think of water flowing up through drains in your bathroom or kitchen, instead of flowing down.

When there’s a backup in the water main out in the street, the pressure will cause sinks, showers and toilets to back up into your home and cause massive amounts of water damage.

Water Back-up coverage will also provide protection for a sump pump failure.

To cost to repair a finished basement damaged due to a sump pump issue – whether through failure or power outage – can range from $5K–50K to start.

This coverage is not on your standard policy and most insurers that you see advertising on TV won’t even offer it within 5 miles of tidal water.

Guaranteed Replacement Cost

In the event of a total loss, this policy will ensure your house is rebuilt in like kind and quality.

Guaranteed Replacement Cost for contents/personal property will pay you full replacement value for your item instead of the depreciated value for the same item.

For example, if your couch costs $1000 to replace brand new, you will receive $1000. Without this endorsement, you will receive the depreciated value of the couch, say $250.

Deductibles

Most policies have a $500-$1000 deductible for all covered perils. Some policies have a separate deductible for wind, hail or hurricane damage. These deductibles could be a massive number.

Some hurricane deductibles are 5% of your dwelling coverage. So if you have a $500K house, your 5% hurricane deductible would be $25K.

Depending on the location of your home, a separate deductible for a covered peril is sometimes unavoidable. Other times, it’s completely unnecessary.

Either way, you should be familiar with your deductibles before it’s time to file a claim.

These issues are avoidable if you work with the right people and the right insurance agency.

It’s always a good idea to review your policies on a regular basis.

If you’d like a second set of eyes, I’d be happy to review them for you and provide a detailed breakdown. Just complete the form below or give me a call at (732) 566-0003.