Atlanta Home Insurance 101

Find out the basics of home insurance in Atlanta.

Find out the basics of home insurance in Atlanta.

So, you’re looking into buying a new home. You, as well as your bank, will want to protect your investment. If you’re a first-time home buyer, insurance companies can throw a lot of terms and paperwork your way that you may not understand the basics of. So, to help you make an informed choice about the home insurance you need, here’s a crash course in homeowners’ insurance 101.

What is home insurance?

When a disaster or unfortunate accident happens, home insurance is a great way to make sure you have the funds to rebuild. There are plenty of different types of home insurance, but at their core, most homeowners’ insurance policies will include ways to help you cover the costs of property damage, medical expenses if someone is hurt on your property, and legal fees if that person decides to sue. So, let’s dig a little deeper into home insurance in Atlanta:

What does home insurance cover?

There are multiple types of home insurance, but most plans will provide these basic types of coverage:

Liability

Homeowners’ liability coverage is built to help you cover the medical expenses and legal payments that might come up if someone was hurt at your home. For example, if your teenager and their friend decide to try a few backflips off the roof and your child’s friend breaks a bone, the friend’s parent could sue you for the cost of the medical bills.

If a court determines that the injury was caused by your negligence, your home insurance’s liability coverage could help you pay out the friend’s medical fees, the legal fees of defending your case and court, and any other settlement payments that may arise out of the case.

Physical Structure

What would home insurance in Atlanta be without being able to actually cover damages to your home? The property damage portion of your homeowners’ policy can help you cover damages to the actual structure of your home caused by:

  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Windstorms
  • Hail
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Falling Objects
  • Explosions
  • Damages from vehicles/aircrafts

Depending on your particular home insurance policy, you may be covered for more perils than those that are listed here. Some policies, like HO-3s, will have a strict list of named perils, which means that the plan won’t cover damages caused by anything outside of the listed situations on the policy. However, some policies – like HO-5s – can also include an open perils section, where your insurance could help you cover damages due to anything that isn’t explicitly listed on the policy as not covered.

Home insurance in Atlanta covers a variety of perils.

Personal Property

Homeowners insurance can also usually help you replace the personal belongings inside your home if they’re damaged by the above perils. There are two ways to insure your personal property – for its actual cash value (ACV) and for its replacement cost value (RCV).

If you insure your belongings for their actual cost value, your insurance can only reimburse you for the value of your belongings at the time of loss – meaning its depreciated value. However, if you insure your personal property for its replacement cost value, your insurance can help you cover the cost of replacing the item with a similar model at today’s prices.

However, there’s only so much that your insurance company can help you replace if they don’t know what they have to replace. So, make sure you make a home inventory of your personal belongings so you’re not stuck replacing everything in your home in an unfortunate situation.

Other Structures

Your home insurance can also help you cover the other structures on your property if they’re damaged. The other structures portion of your policy can help you cover damages to things like:

  • Detached garages
  • Fences
  • Poolhouses and pools
  • Sheds
  • Gazebos
  • Guesthouses
  • Barns
  • Outdoor dining huts
  • Your patio
  • And even your driveway

It’s important to know, though, that even if other structures coverage is included in your home insurance policy, the coverage limit may not reimburse you for the full amount it takes to repair the structure. Again, that’s why it’s important to review your policy to make sure your other structures are insured for their replacement cost value and not their actual cost value.

Loss of Use

Your homeowners’ policy can also help you with expenses and a place to stay when you can’t physically live in your home. Additional Living Expense (ALE) or Loss of Use coverage can help you with the additional costs of living somewhere else if your house is uninhabitable due to a covered loss. This part of your home insurance can help you cover costs such as:

  • Extended hotel, motel, or AirBnB stays
  • Eating out at restaurants
  • Doing laundry
  • Storage costs for your personal belongings
  • Moving if you’re displaced by a natural disaster
  • Boarding your pet if they can’t live with you during your temporary living situation
  • Gas costs for relocation
  • Renting furniture that you’re used to having every day

Keep in mind, though, that your insurance company will want proof of the cost of your normal standard of living. They’ll also want proof of the additional costs gathered while you’re not living in your house. This is because ALE is only built for the cost of maintaining your lifestyle outside of your home. So, if you’re used to making and eating modest meals in your home, your ALE probably isn’t going to cover ordering lobster dinners every night while you’re away. So, keep plenty of receipts, especially for things like groceries, hotels, gas, etc.

It’s also important to note that your ALE coverage can only help cover the additional amount you’re paying while you’re away. For example, if your mortgage payment is $1,200/month and you have to live in an Extended Stay hotel that charges $1,800/month, your insurance can only help you cover the additional $600 you would be paying for shelter per month, not the full $1,800.

Home insurance in Atlanta can cover other structures.

What doesn’t home insurance cover?

So, with everything that home insurance in Atlanta can help you cover, you may be wondering what home insurance policies exclude. Usually, home insurance policies won’t include coverage for:

While most homeowners’ insurance policies may not include these types of coverages normally, you can usually add on an endorsement or purchase a separate plan for perils and objects you would like to cover.

How much home insurance do I need?

When considering how much home insurance you’ll need, you’ll want to make sure that your coverage limits can help you restore your home and your belongings back to normal. So, it’s important to know the ways that carriers can choose to cover your structures and belongings.

Market Value vs. Replacement Cost Value

The first thing to know is that your home’s market value is not the same as its replacement cost.

Your home’s market value is the amount that your home would sell for. Your home’s replacement cost is the amount it would take to rebuild your house from the ground up – including the building materials, contractors, plumbers, electricians, permits, and more. That’s why you might end up getting home insurance for an amount that’s different than what you bought your house for.

Generally, you’ll want to insure your house for its replacement cost value to make sure that you have the right amount of home insurance. You’ll also want to talk to your agent if you’re considering an addition to your house, a structural addition to your property, or if you’re thinking about upgrading your pipes or your electrical system (which may even qualify you for a discount).

How much does home insurance cost?

So, here’s the big question – how much does home insurance in Atlanta actually cost? The true answer is that there are tons of factors about your individual house and situation that will determine your home insurance rate. So, your individual rate depends on:

So, it’s important to shop around for your insurance. Different carriers assess risk differently, so one carrier may price you differently from others.

So, these are the basic facts you’ll need to know about home insurance! Hopefully, you feel armed with knowledge when you’re shopping around for coverage. However, there’s a lot more that goes into getting your perfect home insurance for a great rate. That’s where our insurance experts can help!

We have tons of experience with home insurance in Atlanta. So, we can take the hassle out of finding customized home insurance quotes. We’ll help you get the exact types of affordable coverage and limits you need. All you have to do to get started is call us today or fill out our easy online form.

Deductible, premium, and limit: 3 Atlanta home insurance words to know

It's important to know about your premium, deductible, and home insurance limit.

It's important to know about your premium, deductible, and home insurance limit.When you’re dealing with your Atlanta home insurance, there are a lot of vocab words – and numbers – that are important for you to know. You know that you need to get home insurance, but what do all those numbers and words mean? What are some of the things that you need to pay attention to? We’re going to explain three home insurance terms you should know: premium, limit, and deductible.

What is a home insurance premium?

Okay, let’s be real – this is probably the number you’re most concerned about.

And for good reason:

To put it simply, your home insurance premium is basically your home insurance rate. It’s what you pay for home insurance. So, yes, it makes perfect sense that this would be a number you’d want to pay attention to.

Now, you might be wondering how the insurance company decides how much your bill is going to be. Believe it or not, it’s not some sort of trick or mumbo jumbo like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. It’s not a random number that comes from midair.

The truth is home insurance companies look at a lot of different factors about you and your house when they’re setting your premium. They don’t exactly do “random” or “detail-free” when it comes to insurance rates. For example, they may look at the following factors when setting your home insurance rates:

  • Your location
  • The crime rate where you live
  • The building material your home is made of
  • Your credit score
  • How close you are to a fire station
  • Your roof
  • Whether or not you’ve bundled
  • How much it would cost to rebuild
  • How old your house is
  • Any discounts you qualify for

So, that’s home insurance premium in a nutshell. The best way to find out how much your home insurance will cost is to get insurance quotes – and you can do that by filling out our online form or giving us a call today.

What is a home insurance deductible?

Another word to know (and number to be aware of) is deductible.

Your home insurance deductible is the amount you agree to pay towards a claim if you have a loss to your home. You have your portion of the “bill” per se and your home insurance will help you cover the rest of your claim. (You might feel better about the whole thing if you consider that they’ll probably be paying a lot more than you will!)

It’s easiest to explain the concept of how a deductible works by giving an example.

Let’s say you have a $1,000 deductible on your home. A tree very rudely decides to fall and hits your roof. Thankfully no one is hurt, but the tree did cause $5,500 worth of damage. You would pay your $1,000 and your insurance company would pay the remaining $4,500.

Your deductible can also play a part in your Atlanta home insurance rates. It can affect your premium (see, using those vocabulary words already!) because if you choose a higher deductible, you’re less likely to file a claim. And that means you could see lower premiums. However, you don’t want to set your deductible so high that it would be a huge financial burden to pay if you had a claim. You need to consider how much you could comfortably afford to pay if you had a loss.

What is a home insurance limit?

Your home insurance limit is simply how much your insurance would pay out for a claim. (It’s essentially how much home insurance you’ve purchased.) Your home insurance would tap out if your claim hit that amount.

When you’re setting your home insurance limit, it’s important to make sure you have enough home insurance to:

  • Completely rebuild your home from the ground up (meaning you should insure your home for its replacement cost)
  • Cover your liability
  • Replace your personal belongings

Again, it’s important that you have enough insurance. Protecting yourself financially means making sure you have a safety net that will actually catch you – not let you crash to the ground. So, make sure that your limits of Atlanta home insurance are high enough.

Protecting your home with the right Atlanta home insurance is easy when you work with our team. Get started with quotes by filling out our form or giving us a call today.

7 Atlanta home insurance questions: Am I covered?

You may have some home insurance questions.

You may have some home insurance questions.

When you’re getting Atlanta home insurance, you might have a lot of questions about what’s covered and what’s not covered. Home insurance doesn’t cover everything. (Which is why it’s important to read your home insurance policy carefully and comb through it with a fine-toothed comb.) Anyways, we’ve compiled a list of seven home insurance FAQs to give bite-sized answers to some common home insurance questions.

Atlanta home insurance questions

1. Am I covered if there is heavy rain and water seeps into my basement?

Flooding is not covered by home insurance. (And by flooding we mean a rapid and unusual accumulation of water on the ground where there is usually not water.) So, if your area is hit with some heavy rain and some water infiltrates your basement, creating a big soggy mess…unfortunately, it’s not covered.

You can, however, purchase a separate flood insurance policy, which can cover flooding and surface water from heavy rain. You can get flood insurance through an agent from the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) so that your house can be protected from flood-related losses.

2. If my sump pump fails, am I covered?

Home insurance policies usually exclude sewer backup and sump pump failure. However, you can add a sewer backup endorsement to your home insurance policy so that this kind of loss can be covered. (Sewer backup is not something that is very pleasant, so you may want to think about adding this coverage to your home insurance.)

3. Is my boat covered?

If boat theft occurs away from your residential property, no, the loss would not be covered by home insurance. You would need a boat insurance policy to cover the watercraft and any accessories you have for it.

4. If my neighbor’s tree falls through my fence and ruins it, does their insurance pay for it?

No. Your Atlanta home insurance, though, should cover the claim. If it’s your fence or your home that gets damaged by your neighbor’s tree, your home insurance would be the one paying the claim, not theirs. Now, if your tree fell through your neighbor’s fence, the neighbor’s home insurance would cover it.

(However, if your neighbor’s tree falls as a result of their negligence, it’s possible that your insurance company could subrogate against the neighbor’s home insurance company to get your deductible back.)

5. Do I really need to take a home inventory?

It’s definitely a good idea to take a home inventory (which is basically a list of all your belongings, room by room.) First of all, it’ll help you know that you have enough home insurance to cover all of your belongings. Your inventory will also help if you have to file a home insurance claim because you’ll know exactly what needs to be replaced. And you’ll also have a bit more proof for your insurance company that you’ve lost what you’ve said you’ve lost. (Insurance fraud is a big deal.)

6. If my iPod is stolen from my car, is it covered by home insurance or car insurance?

Well … neither.

Most home insurance and auto insurance policies specifically exclude sound transmitting equipment (yes, including iPods) that are used in cars. So, if your iPod or sound equipment gets swiped from your car…unfortunately you might be out of luck. (You may, however, be able to add extra coverage to cover this sort of loss, but you’d have to talk to your agent to find a solution.)

7. How much home insurance do I need?

Ideally, you should have enough Atlanta home insurance to completely rebuild your home from the ground up, cover all of your personal belongings, and cover your liability. When you’re getting home insurance, it’s important to make sure that your limits of coverage are high enough to fully protect you from a loss.

These are some common questions about home insurance with convenient answers in bite-sized form. As always, it’s important to read your home insurance policy carefully to find out what it will cover and how it will protect you. And ask questions if you need to – questions are great!

If you need Atlanta home insurance quotes, we can help. Our agents can get you multiple home insurance quotes all while making insurance as easy as possible. To get started with your quotes, fill out our online form or give us a call.

Does Atlanta home insurance cover sewer backup?

You can add sewer backup coverage to your home insurance policy.
You can add sewer backup coverage to your home insurance policy.

Ugh. Something does not smell good. What could that be? As your nose informs your brain that something is definitely not right at your place, you start to fear the worse – that your sewer has backed up or your sump pump has failed. And now you have a big mess on your hands – a big, expensive mess. It’s going to take a lot of work to get everything cleaned up and back to the way it’s supposed to be. Now your question is this – does Atlanta home insurance cover sewer backup? We’ll explain. And we’ll also give you some tips for preventing this smelly problem in the first place.

Does home insurance cover water that’s backed up through the sewer?

Typically no. Atlanta home insurance won’t cover damages from water that’s backed up from a sewer or drain. It’s one of those things that’s usually excluded from most home insurance policies.

However, you can add an endorsement to your home insurance policy so that this sort of unfortunate occurrence can be covered. (An endorsement being an addition or alteration to your home insurance coverage.) For an additional premium, you can get an endorsement that will cover water backup from the sewer and sump pump discharge.

The endorsement can cover:

1. Water or waterborne materials that backs up through a sewer or through a drain.

2. Water or waterborne materials that overflows from a sump even if the overflow or backup is from a mechanical failure of the sump pump. (The coverage will typically include damage to covered property, but it may exclude the sump pump itself and related equipment that has broken down.)

So, that’s an easy way to get coverage for sewer backup so that if you’re every faced with a smelly, icky sewer-related situation you could be covered. This kind of claim can be very expensive to clean up, after all.

What is not covered by the sewer backup coverage endorsement?

There is an important caveat to this coverage. It will usually not cover losses that result from owner negligence, like forgetting to turn on the sump pump. It will also typically not cover damages covered by a flood. So, keep that in mind when you’re getting sewer backup coverage.

Tips to prevent sewer backup coverage.

So, while you can get coverage for sewer backup, you can also take steps to prevent this from happening in the first place. Plumbing is one of those things that we take for granted until something goes wrong. Check out the following tips that can help you prevent a sewer backup.

1. Don’t flush anything other than toilet paper down the toilet.

2. Don’t wash grease down the drain. Wait for the grease to cool and then throw it away with your regular garbage. (Grease can solidify as it cools, which can clog up pipes.)

3. Don’t wash oils down the drain – these can cause buildup in your pipes.

4. Remember that shrubs and trees can make their way into cracks in the sewer line. These cracks can allow debris to build up. If you keep having problems with tree roots, you might want to think about replacing your line with a plastic pipe.

5. Maintain your sewer system by having a trained, trustworthy professional give it a routine inspection.

What if I have water in my basement?

If you have water seeping into your basement, your problem might not be a sewer backup problem. It could be from poor soil grading around the exterior of your house. It’s really important to make sure that water drains away from the foundation of your house so that it doesn’t run straight into your basement, infiltrating your home and causing water damage.

So, that’s what you need to know about sewer backups and your home insurance. Sewer backup or sump pump failure is typically not covered by Atlanta home insurance, but you can add an endorsement for sewer backup coverage so that you can be protected against this type of loss. But it’s also important to take steps to prevent sewer backup in the first place. We often take our plumbing for granted, but sometimes things go wrong. And that’s where sewer backup coverage can save the day.

If you want to get quotes for your home insurance, we would be happy to help. Our team of insurance agents can help you get multiple quotes, and we’d be happy to talk about your coverage needs and answer your insurance questions. To get started with your quotes, fill out our online quote form or give us a call today.

Atlanta home insurance: What is an HO-3 Insurance policy?

The HO-3 policy is one of the most common home insurance policies in the US.

When you’re shopping for home insurance policies, a lot of people don’t know that there are actually different types of policies available to them. Each type of homeowners’ policy has its pros and cons. The home insurance policy that your neighbor has may not be the best one for you. Here, we’ll go over the most common homeowner’s insurance policy in the U.S. – the HO-3 insurance policy. Find out what it covers and if going this route is best for your Atlanta home.

What is an HO-3 homeowners insurance policy?

An HO-3 insurance policy is a type of homeowners insurance that will cover your home and belongings within certain named perils and open perils restrictions. This may seem confusing if you have no idea of what named perils or open perils are. So, here’s a quick rundown:

What is a named perils policy?

Most insurance policies, regardless of the type of property it is, will have a list of certain disasters and events that your home can be damaged by. If your home or something in your home is damaged by something on that list, it is covered, and your insurance company can help you with the costs that it will take to repair or replace that item. If something is damaged by an event that is not listed, then you’re left covering the cost of the repairs yourself.

There are 15 named perils that are usually found on most home insurance policies:

  • Fire & lightning damage
  • Wind & hail damage
  • Damage due to the weight of snow or sleet
  • Accidental discharge from plumbing or air conditioning (which does not include flood damage)
  • Smoke damage
  • Explosions
  • Freezing
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Riots
  • Vehicle damage (i.e. if someone hits your house with their car)
  • Falling objects
  • Sudden & accidental tearing, burning, or bulging
  • Sudden and accidental damage from electrical currents

What is an open perils policy?

On the other hand, an open perils policy can cover any disaster you can imagine except specific exclusions. So, anything that is listed on an open perils policy is not covered by your insurance, and you would have to pay for the damages in that instance.

So, what’s covered under my HO-3 policy?

The certain items and structures covered under your HO-3 policy will depend on your specific policy and what your carrier usually covers in their particular plans. Still, these are the general types of things that an HO-3 insurance policy will cover.

Your actual house

You have a homeowner’s policy for a reason – to protect your house! So, any type of home insurance is going to cover the actual structure of your home if it’s damaged by a covered peril. Most HO-3 policies will cover the replacement cost of your home instead of the market value, which is great. The replacement cost is how much it would cost to rebuild your home from the ground up if it were destroyed by something like a fire.

The replacement cost of your home might be about the same or more than the market value of your home, especially if you’ve done some renovations since you’ve bought your house. However, it’s important to look over your policy so you know which one you’re insured for.

Your belongings

An HO-3 will also usually come with personal property coverage to help with the cost of replacing your stuff. However, it’s important to make sure you have the type of coverage that fits your needs. You’ll also want to make sure that you take a home inventory of all your belongings to make the claims process and recovery of your items as easy as possible.

Most policies will insure your things for their actual cash value (ACV) instead of the replacement cost value (RCV). Actual cost value accounts for depreciation of your items over time. So, if you have an oven that you paid $900 for 5 years ago, ACV coverage may only reimburse you for a depreciated value of $600. If you want to make sure that your insurance can help reimburse you for the RCV of an item, make sure you talk to your agent about the type of personal property coverage that comes with your HO-3.

If you have a lot of expensive jewelry, artwork, or special collections, you may also want to purchase a rider to your policy that will specifically cover these items.

Liability

An HO-3 insurance policy will also cover a certain amount ofliability that you have as a homeowner if someone is injured on your property. The liability portion of your home insurance can help you cover the cost of the injured person’s medical bills and the cost of any legal fees should that person decide to sue you.

It’s important to note, though, that the incident that resulted in injury or property damage has to be your fault due to negligence or your actions. If someone was just a little careless or clumsy, that’s a job for their medical insurance.

Other Structures

The other structures to your home are also normally covered by an HO-3 insurance policy. Depending on your carrier and specific plan, this can mean that spaces such as pools, guest houses, sheds, detached garages, fences, and more are covered under your home insurance.

Expenses if you can’t live in your home while it’s being repaired

HO-3 policies can have clauses for loss of use expenses, or additional living expenses, if you’re not able to live in your house due to a covered loss. If you have to stay in another house, an AirBnb, or an extended stay hotel while your home is being repaired, housing and food bills can start to pile up. So, with the right home insurance policy, your carrier can help reimburse you for the additional costs you’ve gathered by not being able to use your home.

It’s vital to understand, though, that your insurance will only help you pay for additional costs of living while you’re away. For example, if you spend $250 in groceries for a typical week, and you have to spend $300 per week on fast food or restaurants while your house is uninhabitable. Your insurance can only reimburse you for the additional $50, not the full $300. This is why it’s also important to keep track of any receipts or bills you have while you’re away. Then, you can show your insurance company exactly how living away from your home has affected your everyday costs and get reimbursed for the proper amounts.

So, this is the general rundown of how an HO-3 policy works. Keep in mind that the HO-3 policy is just the most common home insurance policy in the U.S. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best plan for you. There are also HO-5, HO-6, and a bunch of other types of homeowners policies that offer more or less coverage than an HO-3. That’s why it’s important to shop around for coverage and ask your agent what type of insurance will be best for you.

Our insurance agents are experts at identifying your specific risks to find the home insurance coverage you need at the lowest prices. Call us today or fill out our online form to start getting multiple, free quotes on the proper insurance for your home.

What’s the difference between market value and replacement cost?

Your home's market value is different than its replacement cost.

Your home's market value is different than its replacement cost.

When you’re shopping for Atlanta home insurance, you may be tempted to go for the cheapest option. After all, you’re spending tons of money on your mortgage already. So, you may want to go for a home insurance option that might cost less and include market value reimbursement instead of replacement cost. However, when it comes time to file a claim, you could end up regretting your decision. We’ll tell you why.

What is market value reimbursement for home insurance?

Insuring your home for its market value means insuring your house for the amount that someone would pay for it in the current real estate market. This includes the land that your property sits on and only the finished product of the house itself. We’ll tell you more about why that’s important in a moment.

What is replacement cost for home insurance?

Your home’s replacement cost is different than its market value. If your insurance policy covers the replacement cost of your home, it’s saying that your insurance can help you cover the costs of actually rebuilding your home from scratch.

So, what’s the actual difference?

Insuring your house for its market value means that your insurance may reimburse you for the amount that someone would pay for your house if they were buying it from say, a real estate agency. Insuring your house for its replacement cost means that your insurance can help you with the cost of everything that it takes to rebuild your house – demolition, materials, inspections, certificates, construction labor, landscaping, other structures, etc.

Keep in mind that the market value and replacement cost for your home are different than the Actual Cost Value (ACV) or Replacement Cost Value (RCV) on your home insurance policy. These terms refer more so to the personal belongings inside of your home rather than the house’s structure. So, it’s important to have the right amount of coverage for your belongings in your home insurance policy as well.

Why should I insure my house for its replacement cost value?

Here’s the deal – on average, the cost of a modest house in Atlanta proper (not in an Atlanta suburb like Roswell, Stone Mountain, or Douglasville) is about $250,000 to $300,000. The cost to construct or reconstruct a house of a similar size is about $500,000 – and that’s not including the cost of labor for your construction team, your electricians, your plumbers, or other workers that have to make sure the house can actually stand and function for you.

Plus, depending on the company, the average time to rebuild a house is about 7 months, and the company could charge by the hour or by the job. That’s also not to mention the fact that you’ll have some additional living expenses to handle while you’re unable to use your home (i.e.: restaurant bills, lodging, travel costs, etc.)

That means that if you’re only insuring your house for its market value, you could end up spending over $250,000 extra dollars on rebuilding a home that cost you or is only worth about $250,000. (Almost double the worth of your house.) So, only insuring your house for its market value may not be the best strategy, unless you have that kind of money lying around.

Also, make sure your agent is up to date about the changes you make to your house.

Any improvements to your home, including additions, pools, finished basements, and more, could add both market and replacement value costs to your house. That’s why it’s vital to let your insurance agent know about any life events. It ensures that you have not only enough coverage for everyday life, but also for a rainy day.

It may be intimidating to insure your home for its replacement cost value, but keep in mind that your home is an investment. And if disaster strikes, you want to make sure your home is protected properly. Plus, our insurance experts can help you find the best deals on the home insurance you need. We’ll work with you to make sure you have the right coverage limits for the prices that fit your budget. To start comparing quotes on the perfect Atlanta home insurance for you, just give us a call or fill out our easy online form today.

Source:

https://www.zillow.com

What is additional living expense coverage in Atlanta home insurance?

Your home insurance likely includes additional living expense coverage.

Your home insurance likely includes additional living expense coverage.

Have you thought about what would happen if you had a massive fire? Of course, your homeowners insurance would cover the damages to your house, but what about you? Where will you live while repairs are going on? How will you eat if a disaster wipes out your access to food? How do you afford to live when your living space isn’t available?

Here’s where additional living expense insurance comes in.

What is Additional Living Expense Insurance?

Additional living expense (ALE) coverage is a part of most homeowners insurance, condo insurance, and renters’ insurance policies. It is the portion of your policy that will help you cover living expenses if you can’t live in your dwelling after a covered loss or dwelling damage – most likely a natural disaster.

ALE coverage will also actually cover a little more than your typical living expenses if you’re kicked out of your home for repairs. For example, an extended stay in a motel, hotel, or AirBnb is going to cost way more than what you spend normally. If you don’t have a way to store food at your temporary location, ALE insurance can also help you cover the cost of eating at restaurants while everything is being fixed.

ALE insurance may also help cover:

  • The costs of doing laundry
  • Storage costs
  • The cost of moving if you’re displaced by a natural disaster
  • A place for your pet to live if you can’t take them into your temporary living situation
  • Relocation mileage
  • The cost of renting furniture you’re used to having in your home

How Much ALE Coverage Do I Have?

Don’t go ripping off your roof just yet! ALE coverage does have a limit, and it depends on whether you have home, renters, or condo insurance.

  • Homeowners ALE will be about 10-30 percent of your dwelling coverage limit.
  • Renters ALE will cover up to about 30 percent of your personal property limit.
  • Condo ALE will cover up to 50 percent of your personal property limit.

Another caveat is that additional living expense insurance only covers the expenses needed to maintain the living conditions you have already been accustomed to in your current home. It’s also important to highlight the importance of the coverage title: Additional. This means that your insurance will only cover whatever cost is left over after you pay for what you can.

For example, let’s say you normally pay $900 for rent. All of a sudden, a fire breaks out in the building and destroys your apartment. You landlord tells you that you don’t have to worry about paying rent for a unit you can’t live in, so that’s $900 that you would be able to use to find a place to live. So let’s say you find a place to stay that looks and feels about the same as your apartment – similar square footage, included appliances, patio, etc. – but the neighborhood or complex of this dwelling charges $1,200 a month. Your insurance would pay the additional $300, not the full $1,200. So, if your temporary living plans include living in the lap of luxury in a $2,000/month dwelling, your insurance will probably determine that that’s not your usual standard of living.

Restaurant Expenses & Reimbursements

Filing a claim for your loss in food expenses can be a sticky situation. Your carrier will want to know how much you spend on a regular basis to figure out the additional money they’re willing to give you. Also, depending on your insurance carrier, they could give you a lump sum as a part of the additional living expense payout for food or you’ll end up being reimbursed for your food expenses.

In either situation, insurance companies usually have an average maximum limit that they pay out for food expenses. If your normal food expenses are above that average, then you’ll have to pay special attention to the amount you spend while you’re displaced from your home. You’ll need to consider and keep paperwork or proof for a few things:

  1. Your normal food expenses – everything from groceries to fast food to sit-down restaurants
  2. Your food expenses while your home is being repaired
  3. How the two amounts differ – because the insurance company will want to know that you’re using your normal expenses as a baseline for the extra amounts that you’re paying.
  4. Written documents from the insurance company if you have permission for expenses outside of the normal realm.

Don’t get carried away with your restaurant spending either! If you normally cook at home, even if you’re used to eating a bit lavishly, your carrier will already take that into account when they give you ALE funds. If your insurance places you in a temporary space that has the kitchen you need and are used to, they probably won’t foot the bill for the additional cost of eating restaurant lobster every night.

It is a bit tricky to know exactly what your insurance carrier will cover since hotels, motels, hostels, restaurants, and extended stay complexes can cost more than a rent payment or a mortgage. So, it’s important to talk to an insurance agent about exactly what your ALE coverage allows.

Our insurance experts are always here to walk you through what your ALE will cover if you’re displaced and present you with a network of temporary living spaces that won’t max out your ALE budget. Call 404.352.0304 or fill out our online quote form to get a quote on the type of home, renters, or condo insurance that will give you the treatment you deserve when you’re in a pinch.

Sources:

https://www.thebalance.com/claiming-additional-living-expenses-ale-coverage-4154070

https://www.irmi.com/term/insurance-definitions/additional-living-expense-coverage

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/add_living_expense_insurance.asp

What is other structures coverage in my Atlanta home insurance?

Other structures coverage can provide insurance for detached structures on your property.

Other structures coverage can provide insurance for detached structures on your property.

Other structures coverage is just like it sounds – it covers the other large structures that are on your property besides your house. Most times, other structures coverage will be included in your homeowners policy, but sometimes it needs to be purchased as an endorsement. The best way to know if you have this coverage already is to look at your insurance declarations page and see if you have something called “Coverage B,” which is another term for other structures insurance.

Other structures coverage was originally created for detached garages. However, as home prices increased and less developed land became available in the 1970s, builders began building attached garages. That still doesn’t mean that other structures coverage is completely useless.

What Does Other Structures Insurance Cover?

If you have one of the following structures, you should look out for other structures coverage in your homeowners insurance policy:

  • A detached garage
  • A pool or pool house
  • A shed
  • A gazebo
  • A guest house
  • A barn
  • An outdoor dining hut
  • A fence
  • A paved driveway
  • A patio

It’s important to note that just because you have other structures coverage, the complete cost to replace a structure may not be covered by the insurance. Other structures coverage is based on a percentage of the value of your home. So, depending on your policy and carrier, the maximum coverage limit could range anywhere from 5 percent to 20 percent of the value of your house.

Also keep in mind that just because you have other structures insurance or even a general homeowners policy, the belongings inside of your home or other structure may not be completely covered. Personal property coverage, or “Coverage C,” is also usually only a percentage of the value of that item or of your home. So, it’s important to review your homeowners declarations page and talk to your insurance agent about what you’re covered for and how much the coverage is.

Our agents are experts at not only breaking down what’s in your homeowners insurance but giving you the best coverage and pricing that’s personalized to your needs. Call us at 770.497.1200 or fill out our online quote form to get free quotes on your homeowners insurance and compare the coverage you can get on the other structures on your property.

Can I Remove Other Structures Coverage to Save Money?

I hear some of you saying, “Wait, I don’t have anything else attached to my house or on my property,” or “I don’t really care about insuring my other structures.” So, can you take off other structures coverage to save money on your homeowners?

Homeowners insurance is usually not the piecemeal that other types of insurance can be. Whether you have an HO-3, an HO-5, or some other type of homeowners coverage, it usually comes as a bundle – a bundle that will more than likely already include other structures. This is because insurance companies want to be able to offer coverage to the vast majority of people, who will usually have at least a shed or fence.

That being said, if there’s anything on your property that falls into the “other structures” list, you should probably keep your other structures coverage anyway. Your insurance carrier may exclude some structures from the coverage if they decide that it needs too many repairs or if it’s too dangerous to use due to a lack of maintenance, but those cases are few and far between. Your carrier could also include other structures in your dwelling coverage, which will lump everything on your property together in terms of coverage anyway.

If you don’t have any other structures on your property, taking off other structures coverage could mean that you’ll have to skimp on your homeowners coverage altogether. So, you may not be paying for other structures coverage that you’ll never use, but you could also be missing out on coverage that you need for your actual home.

If you’re really worried about saving money regarding this part of your homeowners, there are a couple other options:

Actual Cash Value vs. Replacement Cost Value

You could consider insuring your “other structures” under “actual cash value (ACV)” coverage. This means that if something happens to the structure, you’ll receive the depreciated value of the structure. ACV coverage is usually less expensive than homeowners insurance with Replacement Cost Value (RCV) coverage.

The drawback is that the ACV coverage could be for just the other structure or for the entirety of the policy. So, if something happens to your house or belongings, your insurance will only cover the amount that your home and property are worth, not what you paid for them. Depending on your insurance carrier and your policy, you may be able to have RCV coverage for your home and ACV coverage for other structures, but definitely talk to your agent to make sure that one can be covered for ACV and not the other. It’s really important that you have enough coverage to completely rebuild your home from the ground up in case it’s destroyed by something like a fire.

Discounts!

Talk to your insurance agent to make sure you’re getting all of the discounts you possibly can. Ask about common discounts like loyalty and bundling. Ask about carrier specific discounts. Ask about home improvements like a security system or an impact-resistant roof that may qualify you for a discount.

You can also ask one of our insurance experts! We’ve formed relationships with multiple, trusted insurance companies so that we can get you the best rates on the specific coverage you need. We’ll help you compare quotes on policies that cover only the property you want to cover and find ways to save you money on all the rest. Call us at 770.497.120 for a free quote or get started with our online form.

Sources:

https://www.irmi.com/term/insurance-definitions/other-structures

https://www.thebalance.com/remove-other-structures-insurance-coverage-2645713

Don’t fall for these 8 Atlanta home insurance myths

We'll explain the truth and debunk eight home insurance myths.

We'll explain the truth and debunk eight home insurance myths.

When you’re dealing with something as important as Atlanta home insurance, it’s crucial to have the facts. There are many assumptions and myths out there about home insurance. We’re going to turn some of these home insurance myths upside-down and discover the truth.

1. MYTH: I should use my home’s market value when I insure it.

The truth: You need enough insurance to completely rebuild your home from the ground up.

The goal is to have enough home insurance to completely rebuild your home from the ground up if it were destroyed, including building materials and the labor of the contractors. That means insuring your home for its replacement cost. The market value of the home, or the amount that a house would reasonably sell for, may not accurately reflect the amount you would need to rebuild the home.

2. MYTH: Home insurance covers flooding.

The truth: It doesn’t. This is one of those home insurance myths that is not true.

Many homeowners only find this out after their home sustains flooding due to heavy rain. But flooding simply isn’t covered by Atlanta home insurance, even though certain types of water damage are. To protect your home against flooding you would have to have a flood insurance policy in place. You can get flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through an agent.

3. MYTH: Home insurance covers all of my personal belongings.

The truth: Kind of. This is one of those home insurance myths that you need to talk to your agent about.

Yes, a typical home insurance policy will provide coverage for your personal belongings – electronics, furniture, clothing, and so on. But there are a few things to consider. First, you need to check and see what the limit of coverage is for your personal belongings (the maximum amount of money insurance will pay out.) You also have to check to see what losses and perils are covered under your policy.

Jewelry and valuables are something else you have to think about. Your policy may only provide limited coverage for jewelry, art, and other valuables – and this coverage might not be enough to fully protect your treasures. You might have to explore options for covering your jewelry, valuables, art, and collections.

4. MYTH: Home insurance will cover termite damage.

The truth: Termites are pestilential beasts and damage by these tiny demons is not covered by home insurance.

If termites go to town and turn your home into their own personal buffet, the damage and cost of extermination would not be covered by home insurance. Termite damage is considered to be a maintenance thing, and home insurance typically doesn’t cover maintenance-related issues.

Pro-tip: Have regular pest-control and termite inspections. Squash the bugs before they cause serious damage – or emotional distress.

Be aware of the home insurance myths that are out there.

5. MYTH: Home insurance will replace my belongings like new.

The truth: Well, it depends on your policy.

You can insure your personal belongings for their replacement cost value or their Actual Cash Value.

Actual cash value coverage means that your insurance company will give you the value of the belongings at the time of the loss as reimbursement. (This is the depreciated value, and it may not be enough to replace your belongings with similar models at today’s pricing.)

Replacement cost value coverage will replace your belongings with similar models, regardless of the depreciated value of your belongings at the time of the loss.

The point is you need to read your policy to see how your personal belongings are covered and to determine if you have enough insurance.

6. MYTH: If an injury occurs in my home, it’s covered.

The truth: Liability coverage takes care of your legal responsibility to your guests if they’re injured, not your family.

If a guest trips over your garden hose and breaks an arm, your liability would be covered by home insurance. (For example, their medical bills or expenses if they sue you.) But if a member of your family trips over the same hose and breaks an arm, you would have to use your health insurance.

7. MYTH: Home insurance covers my home-based business.

The truth: You need to check your home insurance policy (as with many of these home insurance myths.)

Home insurance might provide limited coverage for any business-related equipment or inventory you have, or it may not provide any coverage at all for business-related things. And even if there’s coverage for business property, it might not be enough. And you also have to consider your liability.

Anyways, the point is that you need to make sure your home-based business is properly insured. You might need to add coverage to your home insurance policy through an endorsement, get a home-based business policy, or get a business owner’s policy.

8. MYTH: Home insurance is too expensive to be worth it.

The truth: Home insurance is a financial safety net.

The house you live in is a big investment, and insurance can help you protect that investment. Consider what would happen if your home was burgled, caught fire, or got in the way of a falling tree.

As far as home insurance being overly expensive, we’re happy to bust that myth. Our agents are pros at helping people save money on home insurance and get great coverage at a great rate. We can shop your rates and get you the insurance you need to protect your home. All you have to do to get started with Atlanta home insurance quotes is fill out our online form or give us a call today. Let’s crush these home insurance myths together.

Does Atlanta home insurance cover my personal belongings?

Your home insurance covers your personal belongings.

Your home insurance covers your personal belongings.

You purchased Atlanta home insurance to be an invisible financial safety net in case you have some sort of loss to your home. That house was a big investment, after all. But you might have this question floating in your mind: does home insurance cover personal belongings? We’re going to answer that question, but we’re also going to explain how much insurance you need for your personal belongings and how to insure your belongings.

Are personal belongings covered by Atlanta home insurance?

Yes. A typical Atlanta home insurance policy should pay to replace the contents of your home (such as your furniture, your electronics, your clothes, and so on) if they are destroyed by a covered loss. Your policy should have a certain “limit” for personal belongings coverage. Home insurance is there for you – it’s got your back. (And if you’re looking for Atlanta home insurance quotes, we can help. Just fill out our online quote form or give us a call and we can help you get the insurance you need to protect your house.)

What losses are covered?

Well, that depends on your policy, which will outline the losses that are covered. However, some examples of losses that are usually covered by home insurance are:

Like we said, you really have to go over your policy carefully to understand exactly what is covered and what is not. There’s a lot of helpful stuff in your insurance policy. Admittedly, it might not be the most riveting read, but still – you’ve got to read your policy.

Taking a home inventory can help you find out how much insurance you need for your personal belongings.

What losses aren’t covered?

Some losses are typically not covered by Atlanta home insurance. The following are excluded from most policies.

  • Flooding: To protect your home against a flooding disaster, you would need flood insurance. You have to purchase flood insurance from the NFIP through an agent, and you would have to make sure to include coverage for personal belongings in your flood insurance policy.
  • Sump pump failure/Sewer backup: To be protected against losses stemming from a sewer backup or sump pump failure incident, you would have to add coverage for sewer backup to your policy.
  • Jewelry: It’s not that home insurance excludes jewelry and other valuables, but usually policies offer a very limited amount of coverage for them. You may need to add extra coverage for your valuables.

These are just a few home insurance exclusions to be aware of. You need to spend some quality time with your policy to find out how certain losses are handled.

How much coverage do I need for personal belongings?

The next question is how much insurance you need for your personal property.

Taking a home inventory can help you find out how much coverage you would need to replace your belongings. A home inventory is basically a list of all the items in your home and their values. The easiest way to organize it is to break it down room by room.

Having a home inventory can also come in handy if you ever have to file a home insurance claim. It’ll be a lot easier to list the items that need to be replaced because you’ll have a prepared, detailed list of your belongings. Just make sure to keep your inventory somewhere safe – maybe consider a safe deposit box or Google Drive to ensure it doesn’t get destroyed if something happens to your home.

Pro tip: Pay extra attention to jewelry and other valuables. Like we said, you may need to add coverage for these things.

How should I insure my personal belongings?

You can insure your belongings for their Actual Cash Value or their Replacement Cost Value.

Actual Cash Value (ACV): If you insure your belongings for their ACV, your insurance company will reimburse you for the value of your belongings at the time of the loss (meaning the depreciated value.)

Replacement Cost Value: Replacement cost value does not take depreciation into account and will allow you to replace your belongings with similar models at today’s prices.

The bottom line is that you might want to insure your belongings for their replacement cost value to ensure that you receive enough reimbursement to replace your belongings at today’s prices.

So, that’s the scoop about home insurance and your personal belongings. While your home insurance should have coverage for your belongings, you have to read your policy to find out which losses are covered and which aren’t. Having a loss to your home could be a huge financial blow, but that’s why home insurance is there – to be your safety net.

To get started with some Atlanta home insurance quotes, you can fill out our quote form or give us a call today. Our team can help you find great coverage at a great rate. And we’ll help you make sure that your house and all of its contents are fully covered by insurance.