If you purchase a residence and secure a mortgage, you will be required to purchase a homeowners insurance policy. This requirement is more than an obligation imposed by your lender. Homeowners insurance protects your property, which includes both the physical structure of your home and the personal property inside the home from damage. This type of policy will also provide liability protection if someone is injured while on your property. Many homeowners do not pay much attention to what their policy covers until they experience a significant property loss or face a lawsuit for a dog attack or other accident that occurs on their property. However, it is important to understand your policy coverage before disaster strikes because there may be exclusions, limits, and conditions that can necessitate additional coverage or actions by the insured.
Below is an overview of the coverage your homeowners policy provides in broad strokes, but you should carefully read your entire policy and seek professional advice if you have additional questions about the terms, exclusions, and policy provisions.
Generally, your homeowners insurance policy provides two forms of coverage: (1) first party coverage and (2) third party coverage.
- First Party Coverage: This refers to property loss that is caused by a covered peril. The specific perils covered will depend on the policy and riders purchased for otherwise excluded perils. Some examples of the basis for claims include hurricane, vandalism, theft, water damage and other perils.
- Third Party Coverage: This coverage provides financial protection based on civil actions seeking damages for injury or harm suffered by others while, usually, on your property. These types of claims include liability for animal bite injuries (if not excluded) caused by the family dog or falls caused by a broken step in your home.
It is important to understand the types of coverage that a policy provides in order to know how much insurance you should purchase above the minimum required under the terms of a mortgage or other obligation. There may also be perils that are not covered that merit purchasing additional coverage, such as flood insurance. The types of coverage will typically include:
- Damage to the Structure (First Party): If your home is damaged by a covered peril, your insurance will typically pay the cost of repair or replacement.
- Loss of Personal Property (First Party): If your home is damaged in a hurricane, the loss will typically extend beyond the physical structure of your home to the personal property contained inside the home. While your homeowners policy will cover items within the home, there may be specific items that are only covered up to a certain amount, like jewelry.
- Personal Liability Coverage (Third Party): This form of financial protection extends to the homeowners and family members residing in the home. This form of coverage will compensate a visitor on the property who pursues a liability claim against the homeowner such as when a visitor is injured on your property as a result of a slip and fall.
- Medical Care or MedPay(Third Party): If a person is injured while visiting your home, a homeowners policy will pay the medical costs of the injury victim regardless of fault, up to the limit of coverage.
- Umbrella Coverage: Many homeowners should purchase umbrella coverage that will provide financial security for liability claims that exceed policy limits or claims that lie beyond the scope of the primary policy. If you are facing a claim above policy limits, your umbrella coverage may provide additional protection from liability claims.
You can reach Miami Insurance Claims Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email Attorney Gonzalez-Sirgo directly at [email protected].