Expert Advice

Questions Your Agent Will Ask:

    1. What is the square footage of your home?
    2. What year was your home built?
    3. Date your home was purchased?
    4. If your home is over 25 years old they will want to know information about your plumbing, heating, electrical and roof. The older your home is the more detail they will want. The type of claim we see most frequently is water damage caused by a broken pipe. (Companies want to know that you have maintained your home.)
    5. Previous Claims? If you have had a claim covered by your homeowners policy in the past 3 years, you will want to be able to provide the agent with the following details: date it happened, exactly what happened and how much the company paid out. (This would apply also to a previous home you owned. Some claims stay with you even if you are not living in the same house.)
    6. Burglar and/or Fire Alarm–There are additional discounts if you have a central station alarm system. You should tell the agent if it is just burglar or a burglar and fire alarm.
    7. Fire Extinguisher–If you have a fire extinguisher, a small discount applies with some companies.
    8. Dead Bolts–Do all of your exterior doors have dead bolts in addition to the standard door knob type of lock?

Questions Your Agent Should Ask But Probably Won’t

    1. Personal Property Coverage Limitations–One coverage under your homeowners insurance policy is personal property. If your TV is stolen or a fire damages your couch, your policy would provide coverage. But some of your personal property has special limits –or a maximum limit the company will pay in the event of a loss. The limit varies by company ($200-$5000) as well as the types of personal property subject to this limit.

The following are types of personal property that often have limits:

  1. Jewelry, watches, furs.
  2. Silverware, goldware, pewterware
  3. Computers
  4. Money, prepaid cards, securities, debit cards, checks, including cashier checks and money orders
  5. Bicycles
  6. Personal Property used for business
  7. Area rugs or tapestry such as Oriental, Indian etc.
  8. Coin collections, sports cards, stamp collections, comic books
  9. Fine Arts
  10. Antiques

If you own any of these items listed above be sure to tell the insurance agent quoting your homeowners insurance, and be prepared to tell him how much it would cost to replace it. Also, ask him to tell you what the personal property special limits of liability are in the policy he is quoting.

  1. Details about your home construction–Your agent should ask you a lot of questions about your home. The will be similar to the following:
    1. How many bedrooms and bathrooms?
    2. Do you have marble, granite countertops or custom cabinets?
    3. How many fireplaces do you have?

Note that all agents recommend a limit for you to insure your home. Although no agent should be considered a residential property appraiser, they do have tools to help them recommend a limit if they have the details about your home.

* When choosing a homeowners policy you should look beyond the price. Be sure it is not the lowest premium because that means there is less coverage.