While home purchasers who secure financing from a lender generally will be required to obtain homeowners insurance, property owners who do not take this step because it is not required often seriously regret their decision. Homeowners insurance policies can protect families from the loss of their home as a result of injuries that occur on the property, such as injuries experienced in a dog bite or slip and fall incident. Homeowners insurance also protects owners of real estate from physical damage to their home or its contents caused by hurricanes, fire and other perils.
Some people that pass on homeowners insurance are not fully aware of the benefits associated with coverage. As a Miami homeowners insurance coverage law firm, we routinely represent aggrieved homeowners who are struggling to get their insurance company to fulfill their obligations under a homeowners policy. This blog post discusses the basic coverage provided by a standard homeowners insurance policy. The standard homeowners insurance policy includes four types of coverage:
Physical Structure of a Residence
This type of coverage is one of the most important forms of protection provided by homeowners insurance. This form of coverage provides the funds to rebuild or repair your residence when it is destroyed or damaged by hail, fire, lightning, hail or other types of natural disaster indicated in your policy. This form of coverage will also provide compensation when your home must be repaired because of vandalism. However, there are some perils that are not covered by a standard homeowners policy like damage from floods, earthquakes or ordinary wear and tear. Because of the vital role played by this type of coverage, policyholders should purchase enough coverage to completely rebuild their home.
The vast majority of policies also provide coverage for structures that are detached from the residence, such as equipment sheds, gazebos and garages. Generally, these types of structures are covered for up to ten percent of the policy limits for damage to the structure. If the nature of your detached structure makes this amount of coverage insufficient, you might want to talk to your insurer about purchasing additional coverage.
Liability Coverage for Personal Injury and Property Damage Claims
When you are facing liability for this type of loss, the policy will cover the cost of defense and the amount recovered by the plaintiff up to the policy limit. While policy limits generally start at $100,000, most industry experts recommend obtaining at least $300,000 in coverage. Many homeowners desire even higher policy limits because of the nature of the types of liability risks that are part of their circumstances. Another option is to purchase excess or umbrella coverage which includes claims based on slander and libel and higher policy limits.
Liability coverage provides protection from legal claims arising from property damage or personal injury caused by the insured and family members residing on the insured premises. This form of coverage may also provide coverage for liability claims made because of injuries or damage caused by the insured’s pets. In other words, this form of coverage may pay for legal fees, judgments and/or settlements arising out of a lawsuit caused by your dog attacking the neighbor or your teenager crashing through the front of your neighbor’s house.
Additional Living Expenses (ALE)
This type of compensation provides coverage for a type of expense many people do not think about until they suffer an actual loss. When your home is badly damaged or it is destroyed, this type of coverage pays for the costs that exceed your customary living expenses, such as bills for dining out, hotel expenses and similar limited expenses incurred during displacement from the family home. This type of coverage generally will have distinct limits, so policyholders should review their policy.
If personal items inside the home like furniture, clothes, and other items are destroyed or damaged by a covered peril, this form of coverage will provide the cost to replace or repair such items. Standard policies will typically cap this type of coverage at about 50-70 percent of the coverage over the physical structure of the home. Because certain expensive items will be excluded or subject to limits, such as furs or expensive jewelry, you might want to analyze the value of these items, so you can purchase more coverage if appropriate.
If your home has been damaged and your insurance company is giving you the run around, my law firm might be able to help. An experienced Miami insurance claims lawyer can help you counter such denials. My law firm represents policyholders in claims disputes in Miami and throughout Florida. The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations. No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees. Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM.