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For most of us, our largest investment is the purchase of our home, which makes the protection of our investment vital...the very reason we purchase homeowners insurance.  It is important to have the proper coverage provided by a reputuable insurance company and agent.

At The Bramlett Agency, your agent will work with you to help you understand your coverage, help make sure you have the right amount of coverage, and to take care of the service of your homeowners insurance program.

Basic Homeowners Insurance Explained

There are many parts to a homeowners insurance policy, but the four main coverage components are:

Building:  coverage usually includes unattached structures such as garages, sheds, retaining walls, fences and more.  It insures against most perils that could cause damage to your home, including fire, lightning, theft, vandalism, smoke, ice, water overflow, falling objects, and others.  Common exclusions are flood and earthquake, which may mean you need to add coverage, depending on your location.

Contents:  your personal property and contents of the home are protected from the same perils as the building.  The total value of your belongings is determined as a percentage of the home's structure coverage, which means if you own many valuables, you will likely need additional coverage for the contents of your home.

Liability:  coverage will compensate for medical costs and legal expenses associated with damages or injuries to others caused by you or family members on your property or away from home, up to a certain limit.  Liability coverage is what protects you when your dog bites a neighbor.

Temporary Living Expenses:  if your home is damaged, this will cover your housing, meals, and other expenses while your home is repaired or rebuilt.  It usually pays up to a certain percentage of the total amount for which your home is insured.

Types of Home Insurance Coverage

When you purchase insurance to protect your home and contents, you can choose from three types of coverage:

Actual Cash Value:  covers the value of your home plus your personal property after depreciation.  You won't be reimbursed for what you spent on your possessions, in other words, but rather for what they are worth before you need to file a claim.

Replacement Cost:  covers actual cash value of your home and contents without factoring in depreciation.  It may be more expensive that Actual Cash Value, but it guarantees you can repair or rebuild your home and replace everything you lost, no matter the age or condition.

Extended Replacement:  coverage provides protection against inflation by insuring the home will be rebuilt or repaired, no matter what the cost.

How Much Does Homeowners Insurance Cost?

As with all types of insurance, there is not a standard price for homeowners insurance since no two homeowners have exactly the same needs.  There are many factors that influence the cost.

It starts with how much your house is worth and where it is located.  Is the neighborhood subject to much crime, is there a fire hydrant nearby, how far is your house from a firestation?  The age of the home speaks to condition of plumbing, heating and electrical systems.  A home's claim history will also be considered.  Your credit history will be a factor as well.  Insurance industry studies show that people with better credit tend to be more responsible homeowners who file fewer claims.

Ways to Lower Homeowners Insurance Premiums:

Homeowners insurance may be required, but paying more than you need to is not.  Here are some things you can do to save money on your premiums:
• Raise your deductible.
• Multi-policy (bundling) discounts if you use one company for both home and auto insurance
• Age discounts, based either on your age or the home's
• Home security discount (home alarms, smoke detectors, deadbolt lockts, etc.)
• Claims-free discounts if you don't file a claim for a certain number of years (varies by insurance company)

What is an Endorsement?  The term 'endorsement' is another name for an admendment to the homeowners insurance policy.  An amendment adds coverage for something that would otherwise not be protected under the original policy.  You can add an endorsement for possessions, such as jewerly, antiques, computers, musical instruments, collectibles and more.

Review Your Policy Annually

Once you have purchased homeowners insurance, it is smart to review your policy every year since changes do occur, and you always want to be sure you are properly protected.  For example, have you made changes to the property or added an expensive antique that needs a policy amendment?  Did your credit rating improve, or have you experienced other life events that could mean you qualify for additional discounts?  

Document Your Belongings

You've worked hard for your home and possessions, so take an extra step and create a home inventory.  Photograph, videotape or otherwise document the entire contents of your home.  Store the photos, data file or videotape in a fireproof box.  Then, should a disaster strike, you will be prepared for a the claims process.

Be it your home, car, or business, The Bramlett Agency will be there every step of the way for you.  On your behalf, we will work with several insurance companies so you know you are getting the best possible coverage for the best possible price.  If you have any questions about your homeowners insurance, or any other coverage, call us today at (800) 797-3371.

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